13 June 2008
Security Council
SC/9357

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Security Council

5911th Meeting (PM)


SECURITY COUNCIL EXTENDS MANDATE OF CYPRUS MISSION UNTIL 15 DECEMBER,


UNANIMOUSLY ADOPTING RESOLUTION 1818 (2008)

 


Extending for six months the mandate of the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus, the Security Council today welcomed recent progress in the talks between representatives of the Greek Cypriot and the Turkish Cypriot sides, and called on the parties to use that momentum to make greater strides towards “full-fledged negotiations”.


Unanimously adopting resolution 1818 (2008) to extend through 15 December the world body’s 43-year-old Mission in Cyprus (UNFICYP), the Council welcomed the opening just two months ago of the Ledra Street crossing, “which has helped foster greater trust and interaction between the two communities”.  It also reaffirmed the importance of continued crossings of the Green Line by Cypriots, and encouraged the opening of other crossing points.


The resolution also welcomed the 21 March Agreement between Greek and Turkish Cypriot leaders, and the 23 May Joint Statement, which, among other things, demonstrated a renewed political willingness to support and engage fully and in good faith with the United Nations efforts; reaffirmed the commitment of the leaders to a bicommunal, bizonal federation with political equality, as set out in the relevant Security Council resolutions; and to consider further civilian and military confidence-building measures.


Further by the text, the Council urged the parties to build on the present momentum and continue their efforts “to identify to the greatest possible extent areas of convergence and disagreement, while preparing options where feasible on the more sensitive elements, and to work to ensure that fully fledged negotiations can begin expeditiously and smoothly, in line with the agreement of 21 March and the Joint Statement of 23 May”.


The Council welcomed Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s analysis of the developments on the ground over the last six months.  In his latest report on the situation (document S/2008/353), Mr. Ban said that “a window of opportunity for Cypriots to finally resolve the Cyprus problem is clearly open”, and that it was “particularly heartening” that the leaders of the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities had taken important steps towards resuming negotiations.


Mr. Ban voiced his firm support for the talks between the two leaders later this month, and announced plans to shortly appoint a Special Adviser.  He warned, however, that the “coming period will not be easy and may require major compromises”, stressing the importance of fostering an environment favourable to pressing towards a settlement.  In the absence of a comprehensive settlement, and in spite of recent positive steps, he recommended the extension of UNFICYP’s mandate for an additional six months.


The resolution adopted by the Council today reaffirmed the importance of the Secretary-General keeping 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 the Mission’s mandate, force levels and concept of operation as soon as warranted.


The meeting began at 1:10 p.m. and ended at 1:12 p.m.


The full text of resolution 1818 (2008) reads as follows:


The Security Council,


Welcoming the report of the Secretary-General of 2 June 2008 (S/2008/353) on the United Nations operation in Cyprus,


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 June 2008,


Echoing the Secretary-General’s firm belief that the responsibility of finding a solution lies first and foremost with the Cypriots themselves, that there now exists an important window of opportunity to make decisive progress which must be fully utilized 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,


Welcoming the agreement of 21 March and the Joint Statement of 23 May 2008, which, inter alia, have demonstrated a renewed political willingness to support and engage fully and in good faith with the United Nations efforts, reaffirmed the commitment of the leaders to a bicommunal, bizonal federation with political equality, as set out in the relevant Security Council resolutions, and to consider further civilian and military confidence-building measures,


Welcoming the opening of the Ledra Street crossing which has helped foster greater trust and interaction between the two communities; reaffirming the importance of continued crossings of the Green Line by Cypriots, and encouraging the opening of other crossing points,


Welcoming the intention of the Secretary-General to appoint a Special Adviser at the appropriate time and to keep the Council informed of further developments and progress,


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, including restrictions on UNFICYP’s movements, which could lead to an increase in tension,


Welcoming the coordination arrangements agreed with the United Nations to address unauthorized construction within the buffer zone, including large-scale commercial projects, and echoing 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 agreement with the Turkish forces to proceed with demining activities, but urging that further guidelines be agreed to permit such activities to take place in all outstanding minefields; noting with concern that funding for the Mine Action Centre beyond 2008 has not yet been secured, but that this work will need to continue beyond that period,


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,


Agreeing that an active and flourishing civil society is essential to the political process and welcoming all efforts to promote bicommunal contacts and events, including, inter alia, on the part of all United Nations bodies on the island, and 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,


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 appointment of Tayé-Brook Zerihoun as the Secretary-General’s new Special Representative to Cyprus, and echoing the Secretary-General’s appreciation for the work of the previous Special Representative, Michael Moller,


Echoing also 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 of developments on the ground over the last six months in the Secretary-General’s report;


“2.   Urges the parties to build on the present momentum and continue their efforts to identify to the greatest possible extent areas of convergence and disagreement, while preparing options where feasible on the more sensitive elements, and to work to ensure that fully fledged negotiations can begin expeditiously and smoothly, in line with the agreement of 21 March and the Joint Statement of 23 May;


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


“4.   Expresses its full support for UNFICYP and decides to extend its mandate for a further period ending 15 December 2008;


“5.   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, and on the United Nations 1989 aide-memoire, with a view to reaching early agreement on outstanding issues;


“6.   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;


“7.   Requests the Secretary-General to submit a report on implementation of this resolution by 1 December 2008 and to keep the Security Council updated on events as necessary;


“8.   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 pre-deployment awareness training, and to take disciplinary action and other action to ensure full accountability in cases of such conduct involving their personnel;


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


* *** *


For information media • not an official record