12 December 2008
Security Council
SC/9532

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

Security Council

6038th Meeting (AM)


SECURITY COUNCIL EXTENDS MANDATE OF CYPRUS MISSION UNTIL 15 JUNE 2009,


UNANIMOUSLY ADOPTING RESOLUTION 1847 (2008)

 


Welcomes Prospect of Comprehensive, Durable Settlement

Created by Launch of Fully Fledged Negotiations on 3 September


Expressing its full support for the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP), the Security Council this morning decided to extend the mission’s mandate until 15 June 2009.


Unanimously adopting resolution 1847 (2008) and acting under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter, the Council welcomed the launch of fully fledged negotiations on 3 September and the prospect of a comprehensive and durable settlement it had created, and urged full exploitation of that opportunity, preserving the current atmosphere of trust and goodwill.


By the resolution’s provisions, the Council called on both sides to continue to engage, as a matter of urgency and in consultation with UNFICYP, on the demarcation of the buffer zone and called on the Turkish Cypriot side and Turkish forces to restore in Strovilia the military status quo which had existed there prior to 30 June 2000.


The meeting started at 10:13 a.m. and adjourned at 10:15 a.m.


Resolution


The full text of resolution 1847 (2008) reads as follows:


The Security Council,


Welcoming the report of the Secretary-General of 28 November 2008 (S/2008/744) 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 the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) beyond 15 December 2008,


Echoing the Secretary-General’s firm belief that the responsibility for finding a solution lies first and foremost with the Cypriots themselves, stressing that there now exists an unprecedented opportunity to make decisive progress, and reaffirming 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 launch of fully fledged negotiations on 3 September 2008, the progress made so far, and the leaders’ joint statements,


Emphasizing the importance of all parties engaging fully, flexibly and constructively in those negotiations, in order to make decisive progress towards a comprehensive settlement based on a bicommunal, bizonal federation with political equality, as set out in the relevant Security Council resolutions,


Encouraging continued momentum in negotiations and the maintenance of goodwill and trust, looking forward to substantive progress and the full exploitation of the current opportunity, commending the Greek and Turkish Cypriot leaders for the political leadership they have shown so far, and welcoming the intention of the Secretary-General to keep the Council informed of further development and progress,


Welcoming the announcement of confidence-building measures and the cancellation of military exercises, and looking forward to the implementation of these measures and agreement on and implementation of further steps to build trust between the communities,


Reaffirming the importance of continued crossings of the Green Line by Cypriots, reiterating its welcome for the opening of the Ledra Street crossing, encouraging the opening by mutual agreement of other crossing points, and noting in this context the commitment in the leaders’ joint statements to pursue the opening of the Limnitis/Yesilirmak crossing point,


Convinced of the many important benefits for all Cypriots that would flow from a comprehensive and durable Cyprus settlement, and encouraging both sides clearly to explain these benefits, as well as the need for flexibility in order to secure them, to both communities well in advance of any eventual referenda,


Highlighting the supportive role the international community will continue to play in helping the Greek and Turkish Cypriot leaders to exploit fully the current opportunity,


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, undermine the good progress achieved so far, or damage the goodwill on the island,


Recalling 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 progress made in proceeding with demining activities, echoing the Secretary’s General’s call for the remaining minefields to be cleared, and noting with concern that funding is urgently required by the Mine Action Centre beyond 2008 to allow this work to continue beyond that period,


Welcoming the progress and continuation of the important activities of the Committee on Missing Persons, and trusting that this process will promote reconciliation between the communities,


Agreeing that an active and flourishing civil society is essential to the political process, 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 Alexander Downer as the Secretary-General’s Special Adviser with a mandate to assist the parties in the conduct of fully fledged negotiations aimed at reaching a comprehensive settlement,


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, in accordance with his mandate;


“2.   Welcomes also the launch of fully fledged negotiations on 3 September 2008, and the prospect of a comprehensive and durable settlement that this has created;


“3.   Urges full exploitation of this opportunity, including by intensifying the momentum of negotiations, preserving the current atmosphere of trust and goodwill, and engaging in the process in a constructive and open manner;


“4.   Welcomes the announcement on confidence-building measures and the cancellation of military exercises, and looks forward to these measures being fully implemented as well as to agreement on further such steps, including the possible opening of other crossing points, as mentioned in the leaders’ joint statements;


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


“6.   Expresses its full support for UNFICYP and decides to extend its mandate for a further period ending 15 June 2009;


“7.   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;


“8.   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;


“9.   Requests the Secretary-General to submit a report on implementation of this resolution by 1 June 2009 and to keep the Security Council updated on events as necessary;


“10.  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;


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


Background


When the Council met, it had before it the report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations operation in Cyprus (document S/2008/744), covering developments from 24 May to 23 November and in which he recommends that the Council extend the operation’s mandate by a further period of six months, until 15 June 2009.


The report describes the new process embarked upon by Greek Cypriot leader Demetris Christofias, and Turkish Cypriot leader, Mehmet Ali Talat, aimed at a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem.  The agreement of 21 March, which initiated the new process, envisaged a preparatory phase during which six working groups would consider the core issues pertaining to an eventual settlement plan, and seven technical committees would seek immediate solutions to everyday problems.  On 13 June, the Council extended the mandate of the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP), and in mid-June the Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, B. Lynn Pascoe, was dispatched to Cyprus for the second time to reaffirm the Secretary-General’s commitment to the renewed negotiation process.


The report says that on 1 July, the leaders issued a joint statement stating they had discussed the issue of single sovereignty and citizenship, and they had agreed to discuss the details of their implementation during fully fledged negotiations, which would be formally launched on 3 September under the Secretary-General’s auspices.  On 25 July, the leaders asked their representatives to consider opening cross points and also announced several confidence-building measures in the areas of cultural heritage, crisis management, crime prevention and the environment.


On 10 July, the report says the Secretary-General announced his intention to appoint Alexander Downer as his Special Adviser on Cyprus, which was taken note of by the Council and publicly welcomed by the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot leaders.  Mr. Downer visited the island four times, attending the 3 September launch of fully fledged negotiations and the first substantive meeting between leaders on 11 September.  Since that date, the leaders have met on nine occasions, focusing on governance and power-sharing.  In turn, Mr. Downer met the Prime Minister of Greece and the Greek Minister for Foreign Affairs, and the President of Turkey, and Turkish Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs.  He also met officials from the United States, United Kingdom and France, and the European Commissioner for Enlargement and other European Union officials.  He plans to visit Beijing and Moscow.  The Secretary-General met with the President of Turkey and the Foreign Minister of Greece on the sidelines of the General Assembly debate in September.


During the reporting period, the situation in the buffer zone remained stable, says the report.  Both opposing forces demonstrated good cooperation with UNFICYP and the number of military violations and other incidents during the reporting period was marginally less than in the previous reporting period.  The National Guard cancelled its “Exercise Nikiforos” and the Turkish Forces responded by cancelling “Exercise Toros”, and when Turkish Force/Turkish Cypriot Security Forces accidentally fired a non-explosive, training mortar bomb across the buffer zone into a residential area of Nicosia, Mr. Talat apologized to Mr. Christofias and the matter was satisfactorily resolved.  At the same time, steady progress had been achieved in clearing minefields located in the buffer zone.


On restoration of normal conditions and humanitarian functions, the report says members of both communities continue to rely on UNFICYP facilitation to carry out activities across the divide, including activities relating to educational matters, medical evacuations and the transfer of deceased individuals, as well as commemorative, religious and sociocultural gatherings.  Goods worth €570,000 crossed from south to north and €5.3 million crossed in the opposite direction.  The two Nicosia municipalities prepared a joint project for the restoration of buildings at Ledra Street.  Regular monthly meetings between Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot political party leaders continued at the Ledra Palace Hotel under the auspices of the Embassy of Slovakia.  UNFICYP continued to deliver humanitarian assistance to Greek Cypriots and Maronites living in the northern part of the island, as well as to assist Turkish Cypriots living in the south.  The establishment of a Turkish-language primary school in Limassol is pending.  The work of the Committee on Missing Persons continues unhindered, and a bicommunal team of Cypriot scientists has taken over full operational responsibility for the Committee’s anthropological laboratory.


The report says that, over the last six months, efforts to solve the Cyprus problem had entered a new phase.  The Secretary-General believes that Mr. Talat and Mr. Christofias enjoy “excellent personal chemistry”, and thinks that it remains for them to actively explain to their respective communities that compromise is indispensable to a solution.  Meanwhile, the establishment of economic, social, cultural, sporting or similar ties and contacts is thought to nurture a sentiment of trust between the communities, and greater economic and social parity between the sides will make eventual reunification easier.  Regarding the negotiations, the approach to date has been to put aside issues that were difficult to overcome at this stage.  As negotiations intensify, there will be an increased need to rationalize the process to deliver results through a dedicated structure in support of the leaders.  For the time being, and in the absence of a comprehensive settlement, UNFICYP continues to play a vital role on the island, both as a stabilizing factor and as a source of support for the Secretary-General’s good offices mission, which is why an extension of the mandate is recommended.


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For information media • not an official record