24/11/2003
Press Release
SC/7934



Security Council

4870th Meeting (AM)


SECURITY COUNCIL FURTHER EXTENDS MANDATE OF UN FORCE IN CYPRUS


Resolution 1517 (2003) Also Urges Turkish Cypriot Side,

Turkish Forces to Lift Remaining Restrictions on Peacekeepers


The Security Council this morning extended the mandate of the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP), which was to expire on 15 December at midnight, until 15 June 2004.


Unanimously adopting resolution 1517 (2003), the Council also urged the Turkish Cypriot side and the Turkish forces to rescind all remaining restrictions on UNFICYP.


Expressing concern at the further continuing violations by the Turkish Cypriot side and Turkish forces at Strovilia, the Council urged them to restore the military status quo which existed there prior to 30 June 2000.


The meeting, which began at 10:15 a.m., was adjourned at 10:19 a.m.


The full text of resolution 1517 (2003) reads as follows:


The Security Council,


Welcoming the report of the Secretary-General of 12 November 2003 (S/2003/1078) on the United Nations operation in Cyprus, and in particular the call to the parties to assess and address the humanitarian issue of missing persons with due urgency and seriousness,


Noting that the Government of Cyprus had agreed that in view of the prevailing conditions in the island it is necessary to keep the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) beyond 15 December 2003,


Welcoming and encouraging efforts by the United Nations to sensitize peacekeeping personnel in the prevention and control of HIV/AIDS and other communicable diseases in all its peacekeeping operations,


“1.  Reaffirms all its relevant resolutions on Cyprus, and in particular resolution 1251 (1999) of 29 June 1999 and subsequent resolutions;


“2.  Decides to extend the mandate of UNFICYP for further period ending 15 June 2004;


“3.  Urges the Turkish Cypriot side and the Turkish forces to rescind all remaining restrictions on UNFICYP;


“4.  Expresses concern at the further continuing violations by the Turkish Cypriot side and Turkish forces at Strovilia and urges them to restore the military status quo which existed there prior to 30 June 2000;


“5.  Requests the Secretary-General to submit a report by 1 June 2004 on the implementation of this resolution;


“6.  Decides to remain seized of the matter.”


Background


As it met this morning to consider the situation in Cyprus, the Security Council had before it the Report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations operation in that country (document S/2003/1078), which describes the activities of UNFICYP for the period from 21 May to 10 November 2003.


During the period, the report states, the Secretary-General’s Special Adviser on Cyprus was reassigned elsewhere, and Zbigniew Wlosowicz became acting Special Representative and Chief of Mission.  As of 7 November, UNFICYP strength stood at 1,230 military personnel and 42 civilian police officers.


The situation along the ceasefire lines remained generally stable, according to the report, although there was an increase in moves by Turkish forces into the buffer zone, verbal abuse and stone-throwing by both the National Guard and Turkish troops, as well as air violations by the various groups.  Crossings of the maritime security line also continued.


In addition, restrictions imposed on UNFICYP in July 2000 by Turkish forces/Turkish Cypriot security forces continued to obstruct operations, despite their easing in May 2003.  The Secretary-General urges the Turkish Cypriot Authorities to allow UNFICYP to carry out its mandate throughout its entire area of responsibility.


The Secretary-General also says that the partial lifting of restrictions on movement between the north and the south had resulted in a steady number of Cypriots regularly crossing the buffer zone with a remarkably low number of incidents.  On the other hand, he called regrettable the fact that no progress had been made in restoring the status quo ante in the village of Strovilia.


In the absence of a comprehensive settlement to the Cyprus problem, the Secretary-General concludes, the presence of UNFICYP continues to be necessary for the maintenance of the ceasefire.  He recommends that the Security Council extend the mandate of the force for a further period of six months, until 15 June 2004.


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