11/06/2004
Press Release
SC/8121



Security Council                                           

4989th Meeting (PM)                                         


Security Council extends mandate of cyprus force until 15 december,


unanimosly adopting resolution 1548 (2004)


Secretary-General to Complete Review of Mandate, Troop Levels

Within 3 Months, in Light of Rejection of Reunification Plan by Greek Cypriots


The Security Council today decided to extend the mandate of the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) for a further period ending 15 December 2004, and to consider the Secretary-General’s recommendations in his review of the Force and to act on them within one month of receiving them.


Unanimously adopting resolution 1548(2004), the Council also urged the Turkish Cypriot side and the Turkish forces to rescind without delay all remaining restrictions on UNFICYP, and called on them to restore in Strovilia the military status quo which existed there prior to 30 June 2000.


In addition, the Council requested the Secretary-General to submit a report on the implementation of this resolution concurrent with the report provided for above.


The Secretary-General intends to conduct a review, to be completed within three months, of UNFICYP’s mandate, force levels and concept of operations, in light of the referenda of 24 April, when Greek Cypriots voted against a reunification plan for the island.


The Council considered the question of Cyprus during an open meeting on 8 June (see Press Release SC/8116).


Speaking after the vote, the representative of the United States said the results of the referenda and the entry of Cyprus into the European Union had fundamentally changed the circumstances in Cyprus and necessitated a critical examination of UNFICYP.  The resolution articulated a time line to act on the Secretary-General’s recommendations in that regard.  The Council should encourage the Turkish Cypriots and Turkey to remain committed to the goal of reunification.  To that end, and not “for the purpose of affording recognition or assisting secession”, the Council should give a strong lead to all States to cooperate in order to eliminate unnecessary restriction and barriers that had the effect of isolating Turkish Cypriots and impeding their development.


Pakistan’s representative said his country had voted in favour of the resolution with “serious reservations”.  The resolution was supposed to be a technical and short -- three months -- mandate extension of UNFICYP so that the Secretary-General and the Council could review the mandate, size and concept of operations in the light of new circumstances.  The resolution should also have been more “even-handed” and should have welcomed the Secretary-General’s report on his good offices mission, which had been introduced on 8 June.  He hoped the Council would soon endorse a recommendation from that report with regard to ending the isolation of the Turkish Cypriot community.


The representatives of United Kingdom, Chile, Algeria and Romania also spoke after the vote.


The meeting began at 12:50 p.m. and was adjourned at 1:08 p.m.


Resolution


The full text of resolution 1548 (2004) reads as follows:


The Security Council,


Welcoming the report of the Secretary-General of 26 May 2004 (S/2004/427) 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 is 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 June 2004,


Welcoming the Secretary-General’s intention to conduct a review, to be completed within three months, on UNFICYP’s mandate, force levels and concept of operation, in view of the 24 April 2004 referenda and taking into account developments on the ground, and the views of the parties,


Welcoming and encouraging efforts by the United Nations to sensitise 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, in particular resolution 1251 (1999) of 29 June 1999 and subsequent resolutions;


“2.   Decides to extend the mandate of UNFICYP for a further period ending 15 December 2004 and to consider the recommendations of the Secretary-General in his review of UNFICYP and to act upon them within one month of receiving them;


“3.   Urges the Turkish Cypriot side and the Turkish forces to rescind without delay all remaining restrictions on UNFICYP, and calls on them to restore in Strovilia the military status quo which existed there prior to 30 June 2000;


“4.   Requests the Secretary-General to submit a report on the implementation of this resolution concurrent with the report provided for above;


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


Statements


EMYR JONES PARRY (United Kingdom) welcomed the adoption of the resolution.  It was undeniable that the situation in Cyprus had evolved not only since the referenda, but also over the 40 years that the operation had been on the island.  He supported the Secretary-General’s decision to conduct a comprehensive review and to make recommendations in that regard.  He looked forward to an early review of those recommendations.  The successful conclusion of the Council’s deliberation would allow it to turn its consideration to the issue of the Secretary-General’s good offices, which the United Kingdom had welcomed.


JAMES CUNNINGHAM (United States) noted that recent developments in Cyprus, including the results of the referenda and entry of Cyprus into the European Union, had fundamentally changed the circumstances in Cyprus and necessitated a critical examination of the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP).  His country had voted in favour of the resolution, he said, because it articulated a time line to act on the Secretary-General’s recommendations in that regard.  The resolution also addressed remaining restrictions on UNFICYP operations by Turkish and Turkish Cypriot forces.  He regretted that, due to the outcome of the referenda, territorial transfer as envisioned had not occurred. That would have resulted in the peaceful transfer of areas where UNFICYP had to deal with violations of the military status quo, such as Strovilia.


The way ahead to a settlement was for the Greek Cypriots to articulate with clarity and finality concerns they had indicated regarding implementation of the settlement plan and its security provisions, he said.  Only then could such concerns be addressed by the Council.


Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots had done everything possible to reach a settlement.  The Council should encourage the Turkish Cypriots and Turkey to remain committed to the goal of reunification.  To that end, and not for the purpose of affording recognition or assisting secession, the Council should give a strong lead to all States to cooperate both bilaterally and in international bodies to eliminate unnecessary restriction and barriers that had the effect of isolating Turkish Cypriots and impeding their development, he said.


CRISTIÁN MAQUIEIRA (Chile) said that in adopting the resolution the Council had voted in favour of the six-month extension of the Mission.  He hoped that the results of the evaluation of UNFICYP’s mandate would yield good results.  He called on the parties to keep their commitment to deal with the issue of reunification.  Any measure in that regard would deserve the Council’s support.  Steps should be taken to reduce areas of difference between the parties, in accordance with Security Council resolutions.


MUNIR AKRAM (Pakistan) said his country had voted in favour of the resolution, although with serious reservations.  The resolution was supposed to be proposal for a technical and short mandate extension, so that the Secretary-General and the Council could review the mandate, size and concept of operations in the light of new circumstances.  The mandate should have been extended for only three months, not six.  The inclusion of paragraph 3 [regarding restoration of the military status quo prior to 30 June 2000 in Strovilia] had changed it to a substantive proposition, and should have been more balanced.


He said the resolution should also have incorporated a reference to the report of the Secretary-General on his good offices mission as introduced by his Special Envoy, Alvaro de Soto, on 8 June.  The report stated, among other things, that the Council members could “give a strong lead to all States to cooperate both bilaterally and in international bodies to eliminate unnecessary restrictions and barriers that have the effect of isolating the Turkish Cypriots and impeding their development”.  He hoped the Council would soon endorse that recommendation and urged actions by the international community to take concrete steps to end the economic isolation of the Turkish Cypriot community, which had been penalized for so many years and was now unable to enjoy the benefits of European Union membership.


He said a provision in the resolution to welcome the Secretary-General’s report would have been one way to indicate a more even-handed approach.  He hoped the resolution that was just adopted would not prove to be counter-productive and would not generate a further sense of injustice among the Turkish Cypriot community.


ABDALLAH BAALI (Algeria) said he had voted in favour of the draft on Cyprus, as it was an answer to the request from Cyprus to maintain the Mission beyond 15 June.  However, he would have hoped that the draft would be purely a technical text.  Apparently that had not really been the case.  He hoped that the Council would consider the Secretary-General’s report on his good offices, including the recommendations contained therein.


MIHNEA IOAN MOTOC (Romania) said he had voted in favour of the draft since, in the absence of a comprehensive settlement, UNFICYP’s presence continued to be necessary.  He welcomed a review of the Mission’s mandate.  In the current condition, a comprehensive review of the Mission’s scope was required.  The review was inextricably part of the way forward for Cyprus.  In recent months there had been considerable evolution for a solution to the problem.  A new fluidity had developed in the interaction among the players.  The message by the Turkish Cypriots in favour of reunification was most important.  All elements could gradually improve conditions on the ground.


He said leadership and goodwill from all parties was needed, as was the international community’s sustained focus.  The European Union had played a major role in prompting the recent attempt to end the division.  He hoped the Union would continue to be the same driving force for reunification.  Romania would support further action to encourage a possible way forward for Cyprus, as well as any effort by the Union to promote unification and goodwill.  He cautioned against any rushed steps that would alter the delicate balance in Cyprus.


* *** *