14 December 2009
Security Council
SC/9815

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

Security Council

6239th Meeting (AM)


Security Council Extends Cyprus Peacekeeping Mission until 15 June 2010;


Adopts Resolution 1898 (2009) by Vote of 14-1 ( Turkey)

 


Urging the parties in Cyprus to build on previous progress in negotiations for the reunification of the divided island by intensifying the momentum of talks, the Security Council this morning extended the mandate of the United Nations peacekeeping force there, known as UNFICYP, until 15 June 2010.


By a vote of 14 in favour to 1 against (Turkey), the Council adopted resolution 1898 (2009), which also urged that the Greek and Turkish Cypriot sides put in place confidence-building measures, including the opening of additional crossing points.


Through the resolution, the Council called on the two sides to continue to engage as a matter of urgency, in consultation with UNFICYP, on the demarcation of the buffer zone and on the United Nations 1989 aide-memoire, with a view to reaching an early agreement on outstanding issues.


It also called on the Turkish Cypriot and Turkish forces to restore in Strovilia the military status quo which existed there prior to 30 June 2009.


Explaining his negative vote, the representative of Turkey explained that he objected to references to the “Government of Cyprus”, as there had not been a joint Government representing all the people of the island since the partnership State collapsed in 1963, when Turkish Cypriots were expelled from all State institutions.


Since then, he said, Greek and Turkish Cypriots lived under separate administrations.  He maintained that considerations of the “Government of Cyprus” had been the main obstacle to finding a just, lasting solution for 45 years.


In addition, he said that the resolution failed to seek the open consent of the two sides for the extension of the mission.  It also failed to make reference to resolution 1250 (1999), which lay at the source of the good offices mission of the Secretary-General, which Turkey fully supported.


He welcomed progress achieved so far in the negotiations that aimed at establishing a partnership State with a federal Government and two constituent States, as the two leaders have agreed, on the basis of the well established United Nations parameters, namely, bizonality, political equality and equal status of the two peoples.


In that regard, he reiterated his country’s full support to the efforts of the Special Adviser of the Secretary-General and his team.


The meeting, which began at 11:05 a.m. closed at 11:12 a.m.


Resolution


The full text of resolution 1898 (2009) reads, as follows:


The Security Council,


“Welcoming the reports of the Secretary-General of 25 November 2009 (S/2009/609) on the United Nations operation in Cyprus and of 30 November 2009 (S/2009/610) on his mission of good offices 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 2009,


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 a rare opportunity to make decisive progress in a timely fashion, 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,


Commending the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot leaders for the political leadership they have shown, and warmly welcoming the progress made so far in the fully fledged negotiations, and the leaders’ joint statements,


Strongly urging the leaders to increase the momentum in the negotiations to ensure the full exploitation of this opportunity to reach a comprehensive settlement based on a bicommunal, bizonal federation with political equality, as set out in the relevant Security Council resolutions,


Emphasizing the importance attached by the international community of all parties engaging fully, flexibly and constructively in the negotiations, and looking forward to decisive progress in those negotiations in the near future,


Welcoming the intention of the Secretary-General to keep the Council informed of further developments and progress,


Welcoming also the implementation of some of the confidence-building measures announced by the leaders, and calling for a renewed effort to implement the remaining measures and for 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, encouraging the opening by mutual agreement of other crossing points, welcoming the leaders’ agreement to open the Limnitis/Yesilirmak crossing point and the successful first trial crossing of ambulances from both sides, and urging implementation of the second phase of the restoration of the Ledra Street crossing,


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 increased flexibility and compromise 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 Cypriot 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 stable, and urging all sides to avoid any action 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, looking forward to the clearance of the remaining minefields, and regretting the tragic loss of life on 28 October of a civilian contractor working for the Mine Action Centre,


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 active participation of civil society groups is essential to the political process and can contribute to making any future settlement sustainable, 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,


Stressing the need for the Council to pursue a rigorous, strategic approach to peacekeeping deployments,


Welcoming the intention of the Secretary-General to keep all peacekeeping operations, including those of UNFICYP, under close review and noting the importance of contingency planning in relation to the settlement, including recommendations as appropriate for further adjustments to UNFICYP’s mandate, force levels and concept of operations, taking into account developments on the ground and the views of the parties,


Welcoming the continued efforts of Alexander Downer as the Secretary-General’s Special Advisor 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 reports, in accordance with his mandate;


“2.   Welcomes also the progress made so far in the fully fledged negotiations, and the prospect of further progress in the near future towards a comprehensive and durable settlement that this has created;


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


“4.   Urges also the implementation of confidence-building measures, and looks forward to agreement on and implementation of further such steps, including the opening of other crossing points;


“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 2010;


“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, including on contingency planning in relation to the settlement, by 1 June 2010 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/2009/609) and the report of the Secretary-General on his mission of good offices in Cyprus (document S/2009/610).


In his report on the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP), the Secretary-General recommends an extension of the mission’s mandate until 15 June 2010, as that mission continues to play a “vital and unique” role, including in support of his good offices mission.  The Secretary-General will keep UNFICYP operations under close review, taking into account developments on the ground and the views of the parties, and will recommend adjustments to the mandate, Force levels and concept of operations as soon as warranted.


According to the report, the opposing forces have cooperated very well with UNFICYP military forces and the situation in the buffer zone has remained stable.  There had been a reduction in violations by the Turkish forces following the positive approach taken by them in recent months.  Despite a significantly relaxation of restrictions placed on the movement of UNFICYP military personnel, continued movement restrictions on locally employed United Nations civilian personnel imposed by the Turkish forces/Turkish Cypriot security forces remain a concern.  Consistent efforts by UNFICYP to advance discussions on military confidence-building measures, however, have failed to produce positive results.


Both communities continued to rely on UNFICYP civilian assistance in areas ranging from humanitarian and economic matters to a variety of bicommunal issues.  The mine-clearing operation in the buffer zone is progressing steadily.  He urges both opposing forces to continue to cooperate closely with the United Nations to achieve a mine-free buffer zone as soon as possible.  Noting the broad political and public support for the work of the Committee on Missing Persons, he urges all parties to prevent that work from being politicized and to accelerate the exhumation process.


The Secretary-General states that the establishment of economic, social, cultural, sporting or similar ties and contacts will have a positive impact on the peace process and would nurture a sentiment of trust between the communities.  Greater economic and social parity between the sides will make the eventual reunification not only easier, but also more likely.  Efforts in the opposite direction can only be counterproductive.


Noting that the two sides have not yet considered in-depth the role the United Nations would be expected to play in support of a settlement, even though considerable progress has been achieved in the Cyprus talks, the Secretary-General reports that UNIFCYP has, nonetheless, initiated preparatory activities in the framework of contingency planning.


According to the Secretary-General’s report on his mission of good offices, the agreement of 21 March 2008 between the Greek Cypriot leader, Demetris Christofias, and the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mehmet Ali Talat, initiated the current round of negotiations.  Full-fledged negotiations were launched in September that year, under his good offices.  Since his previous report (document S/2009/248), the leaders had met 27 times and their representatives 24 times.  The first phase of discussions on all chapters -– governance and power-sharing, property, European Union related matters, economic matters, territory and security and guarantees -- was completed early August 2009.


The second phase began on 11 September, the report continues, in which both sides have introduced bridging proposals on which convergence has yet to be achieved.  Although agreement was reached in earlier negotiations on nearly two dozen confidence-building measures, the parties made little progress in their implementation.


The Secretary-General’s overall assessment is that those parties are making solid progress.  “I am cautiously optimistic that a solution can be achieved”, he says.  The broad outlines and parameters of a solution are already articulated by the two sides and there is a clear desire to reach a settlement, as both sides have asserted that the status quo is unacceptable.  The benefits of a solution for both sides would be huge, whereas the cost of failure could be high, something both sides acknowledge.


The Secretary-General states that the coming weeks and months will be decisive, as important decision will have to be made.  There is a unique opportunity that must be seized by both sides.  “It is incumbent upon both leaders to meet the hopes and expectations of their people for a comprehensive and sustainable solution to the Cyprus problem within a reasonable time frame.  And they should be accorded the political space to do so”, he states in his conclusion.


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