|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
5803rd Meeting (AM)
SECURITY COUNCIL EXTENDS CYPRUS PEACEKEEPING FORCE UNTIL 15 JUNE 2008,
UNANIMOUSLY ADOPTING RESOLUTION 1789 (2007)
The Security Council this morning extended the mandate of the 43-year-old United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) through 15 June 2008.
Unanimously adopting resolution 1789 (2007), the Council also noted with concern the lack of progress on “the 8 July process” and called on all parties to immediately engage constructively with the United Nations efforts, and to cease mutual recriminations. It urged all parties to show flexibility and political will over the coming months to make measurable progress to allow fully fledged negotiations to begin.
On 8 July last year, the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot leaders signed a set of principles and decisions, recognizing that the status quo was unacceptable and that a comprehensive settlement was both desirable and possible. They agreed to begin immediately a two-track process involving discussions by technical committees of issues affecting the day-to-day life of the people, and concurrently, consideration by working groups of substantive issues, leading to a comprehensive settlement. They also committed to ending mutual recriminations.
The meeting began at 10:15 a.m. and was adjourned at 10:17 a.m.
The full text of resolution 1789 (2007) reads as follows:
“The Security Council,
“Welcoming the analysis on developments on the ground over the last six months in the report of the Secretary-General of 3 December 2007 (S/2007/699) on the United Nations operation in Cyprus, in accordance with his mandate,
“Noting that the Government of Cyprus is agreed that in view of the prevailing conditions on the island it is necessary to keep UNFICYP beyond 15 December 2007,
“Echoing the Secretary-General’s firm belief that the responsibility of finding a solution lies first and foremost with the Cypriots themselves, that the upcoming year offers an important window of opportunity to make decisive progress, which must be grasped by all parties, in the search for a comprehensive solution, and noting the primary role of the United Nations in assisting the parties to bring the Cyprus conflict and division of the island to a comprehensive and durable settlement,
“Taking note of the assessment of the Secretary-General that the security situation on the island and along the Green Line remains generally stable, welcoming the decrease in the overall number of incidents involving the two sides, and urging both sides to avoid any action which could lead to an increase in tension,
“Underlining that activity in the buffer zone, in particular proposals for large-scale commercial projects, which are not compatible with returning to normal conditions as expressed in the UNFICYP mandate, should not be at the expense of stability and security; reiterating the Secretary-General’s firm belief that the situation in the buffer zone would be improved if both sides accepted the 1989 aide‑memoire used by the United Nations,
“Welcoming the principles and decisions enshrined in the 8 July 2006 Agreement, stressing that a comprehensive settlement based on a bicommunal, bizonal federation and political equality, as set out in the relevant Security Council resolutions, is both desirable and possible and should not be further delayed,
“Deploring the continued failure to date to implement the 8 July 2006 Agreement, and urging the leaders of both communities to act to start the process without delay in order to prepare the ground for fully fledged negotiations leading to a comprehensive and durable settlement,
“Welcoming the agreement to allow European Union funds to support demining activities; urging the rapid finalization of the protocol between the relevant parties governing the remaining demining activities in order to complete demining of the buffer zone,
“Welcoming the progress and continuation of the important activities of the Committee on Missing Persons; expressing the hope that this process will promote reconciliation between the communities,
“Welcoming the proposed confidence-building measures advanced by both sides, as a means of creating greater trust between the two communities and encouraging their early implementation; encouraging also progress on measures such as the opening of additional crossing points including, but not limited to, at Ledra Street, taking into account the arrangements already in place at existing crossing points, and reaffirming the importance of continued crossing of the Green Line by Cypriots,
“Welcoming all efforts to promote bicommunal contacts and events, including, inter alia, on the part of all United Nations bodies on the island, urging the two sides to promote the active engagement of civil society and the encouragement of cooperation between economic and commercial bodies and to remove all obstacles to such contacts,
“Agreeing that an active and flourishing civil society is essential to the political process and expressing concern, in this respect, that opportunities for constructive public debate about the future of the island, within and between the communities, are becoming fewer, and that this atmosphere is hampering, in particular, efforts to foster bicommunal activities intended to benefit all Cypriots, and to promote reconciliation and build trust in order to facilitate a comprehensive settlement,
“Reaffirming the importance of the Secretary-General continuing to keep the operations of UNFICYP under close review while continuing to take into account developments on the ground and the views of the parties, and reverting to the Council with recommendations as appropriate for further adjustments to UNFICYP’s mandate, force levels and concept of operation as soon as warranted,
“Welcoming the steps taken by the Republic of Cyprus to address the living conditions of many UNFICYP troops,
“Echoing the Secretary-General’s gratitude to the Government of Cyprus and the Government of Greece for their voluntary contributions to the funding of UNFICYP, and his request for further voluntary contributions from other countries and organizations,
“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. Welcomes the analysis on developments on the ground over the last six months in the Secretary-General’s report, in accordance with his mandate;
“2. Reaffirms that the status quo is unacceptable, that time is not on the side of a settlement, and that negotiations to reunify the island have been at an impasse for too long;
“3. Expresses full support for the 8 July process, notes with deep concern the lack of any progress, and calls upon all parties immediately to engage constructively with the United Nations efforts, as described in Under-Secretary-General Gambari’s letter of 15 November 2006 and to cease mutual recriminations; urges all parties to show flexibility and political will over the coming months to make measurable progress which will allow fully fledged negotiations to begin;
“4. Reaffirms all its relevant resolutions on Cyprus, in particular resolution 1251 (1999) of 29 June 1999 and subsequent resolutions;
“5. Expresses its full support for UNFICYP and decides to extend its mandate for a further period ending 15 June 2008;
“6. Calls on both sides to continue to engage, as a matter of urgency and while respecting UNFICYP’s mandate, in consultations with UNFICYP on the demarcation of the buffer zone, in particular in relation to the Ledra Street crossing point, and on the United Nations 1989 aide-memoire, with a view to reaching early agreement on outstanding issues;
“7. Calls on the Turkish Cypriot side and Turkish forces to restore in Strovilia the military status quo which existed there prior to 30 June 2000;
“8. Requests the Secretary-General to submit a report on implementation of this resolution by 1 June 2008;
“9. Welcomes the efforts being undertaken by UNFICYP to implement the Secretary-General’s zero-tolerance policy on sexual exploitation and abuse and to ensure full compliance of its personnel with the United Nations code of conduct, requests the Secretary-General to continue to take all necessary action in this regard and to keep the Security Council informed, and urges troop-contributing countries to take appropriate preventive action including the conduct of predeployment awareness training, and to take disciplinary action and other action to ensure full accountability in cases of such conduct involving their personnel;
“10. Decides to remain seized of the matter.”
When the Security Council met today, it had before it the report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations operation in Cyprus (document S/2007/699) that covers developments in Cyprus and activities of the mission (UNFICYP) from 26 May to 15 November 2007 and contains the Secretary-General’s recommendation to extend UNFICYP’s mandate, due to expire on 15 December, until 15 June 2008.
The situation along the ceasefire lines has remained calm and stable, according to the report, even though safety and stability in the buffer zone continued to be negatively affected by civilians seeking to exercise their property rights in the buffer zone. Also, over the last six months, there has been no progress on the implementation of the 8 July 2006 Agreement, although both parties continue to publicly support the principles contained therein, namely that a comprehensive settlement will be based on a bizonal, bicommunal federation and political equality. As the 8 July Agreement was meant to facilitate direct talks, not block them, it is difficult not to conclude that an important obstacle to progress is currently a lack of political will to fully engage.
Noting that the responsibility of finding a solution lies with the Cypriots themselves, the Secretary-General states that the coming year may prove to be crucial in the search for a comprehensive settlement. Only the required political will, translated into concrete actions, will provide an opportunity for progress and possible new initiatives. An active and flourishing civil society is an important element in the process of overcoming a culture of prejudice and is essential to the political process. All Cypriots should be encouraged to become more active in that regard.
It is regrettable that the ongoing debate on the lifting of the isolation of the Turkish Cypriots has become a debate on recognition, according to the Secretary-General. The maintenance of economic, social, cultural, sporting or similar ties does not amount to recognition but will benefit all Cypriots by building rust, creating a more even playing field and contribute to the reunification of the island. The Secretary-General notes with satisfaction that the Turkish Cypriot side overcame concerns regarding European Union funding for a mine-free buffer zone and is gratified that the Committee on Missing Persons has maintained its momentum and is advancing towards the resolution of one of the most painful aspects of the Cyprus problem.
* *** *For information media • not an official record