14 December 2011
Security Council
SC/10486

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

Security Council

6685th Meeting (AM)


SECURITY COUNCIL EXTENDS MANDATE OF CYPRUS PEACEKEEPING FORCE UNTIL 19 JULY 2012


UNANIMOUSLY ADOPTING RESOLUTION 2026 (2011)

 


Welcomes ‘Encouraging Progress’ Made Thus Far in Fully Fledged Negotiations,

Prospect of Decisive Steps in Coming Months Towards Comprehensive Settlement


Welcoming the encouraging progress made so far in the fully fledged negotiations on Cyprus, as well as the prospect of further decisive progress in the coming months towards a comprehensive and durable settlement resulting from those talks, the Security Council today extended the mandate of the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) for a further period ending 19 July 2012.


Unanimously adopting resolution 2026 (2011), the Council also called on the two leaders to intensify the momentum of negotiations, constructively and openly engage in the process and work on reaching convergences on the remaining core issues in preparation for their upcoming meeting with the Secretary-General in January 2012.


The Council also called on the leaders to improve the public atmosphere in which the negotiations were proceeding, including focusing public messages on convergences and the way ahead, delivering more constructive and harmonised messages, and increasing civil society’s participation in the process, as appropriate.


It requested the Secretary-General to submit a report on the present resolution’s implementation, including on contingency planning in relation to the settlement, by 1 July 2012 and to keep it updated on events as necessary.


Speaking before action, Council President Vitaly Churkin said the sides maintained their well-known positions on the matter.  Thus, with the consent of the Council members, the presidency drew the conclusion that the Council could proceed to take a decision on the draft before it.


The Mission was originally established in 1964 to prevent further fighting between the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities.  After the hostilities of 1974, it has supervised the ceasefire lines, maintained a buffer zone, carried out humanitarian activities and supported the Office’s mission of the Secretary-General.


The meeting began at 10:13 a.m. and ended at 10:15 a.m.


Resolution


The full text of resolution 2026 (2011) reads as follows:


The Security Council,


Welcoming the report of the Secretary-General of 30 November 2011 (S/2011/746) 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 2011,


Echoing the Secretary-General’s firm belief that the responsibility for finding a solution lies first and foremost with the Cypriots themselves, 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 progress made so far in the fully fledged negotiations, and the leaders’ joint statements including those of 23 May and 1 July 2008,


Welcoming the move towards a more intensive phase of negotiations, stressing that the status quo is unsustainable and strongly urging the leaders to increase the momentum in the negotiations, particularly on the core issues, to reach an enduring, comprehensive and just 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, echoing the Secretary-General’s view that a comprehensive settlement can be achieved, looking forward to decisive progress in the near future, leading up to the Secretary-General’s meeting with the leaders in January 2012, and echoing the Secretary-General’s expectation that “all internal aspects of a settlement will have been resolved by then so that we can move to a multilateral conference shortly thereafter” with the consent of the two sides,


Welcoming the efforts of the Secretary-General to stimulate progress during his meeting with the two leaders on 31 October 2011, his intention to meet with the two leaders in January 2012, and noting his intention to submit to the Security Council in January 2012 an updated assessment on the state of the process,


Noting the need to advance the consideration of and discussions on military confidence building measures, calling for renewed efforts to implement all remaining confidence building 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, and encouraging the opening by mutual agreement of other crossing points,


Convinced of the many important benefits for all Cypriots that would flow from a comprehensive and durable Cyprus settlement, urging the two sides and their leaders to foster positive public rhetoric, and encouraging them clearly to explain the benefits of the settlement, as well as the need for increased flexibility and compromise in order to secure it, to both communities well in advance of any eventual referenda,


Considering that undermining the UN’s credibility undermines the peace process itself,


Highlighting the importance of the supporting role of the international community, and in particular that of the parties concerned in taking practical steps towards 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 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,


Noting with regret that the sides are withholding access to the remaining minefields in the buffer zone, and that demining in Cyprus has ceased as a result, noting the continued danger posed by mines in Cyprus, and urging rapid agreement on facilitating the recommencement of  demining operations and clearance of the remaining minefields,


Highlighting the importance of the activities of the Committee on Missing Persons, urging the opening up of access to all areas to allow the Committee to carry out their work, and trusting that this process will promote reconciliation between the communities,


Agreeing that active participation of civil society groups, including women’s  groups, is essential to the political process and can contribute to making any future settlement sustainable, recalling that women play an important role in peace processes, 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 other resources and concept of operations, taking into account developments on the ground, and the views of the parties,


Welcoming also 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, and the efforts of Lisa Buttenheim as the Secretary-General’s Special Representative,


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, and expressing appreciation to member states that contribute personnel to UNFICYP,


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 encouraging progress made so far in the fully fledged negotiations, and the prospect of further decisive progress in the coming months towards a comprehensive and durable settlement that this has created;


“2.   Takes note of the report of the Secretary-General (S/2011/498);


“3.   Recalls Security Council resolution 1986 (2011), and calls upon the two leaders to:


(a)   intensify the momentum of negotiations,  engage in the process in a constructive and open manner, and work on reaching convergences on the remaining core issues in preparation for their meeting with the Secretary-General in January 2012, and for further work in the following months towards a settlement;


(b)   improve the public atmosphere in which the negotiations are proceeding, including by focussing public messages on convergences and the way ahead, and delivering more constructive and harmonised messages; and


(c)   increase the participation of civil society in the process as appropriate;


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


“5.   Urges all parties to be more forthcoming in accommodating the Committee for Missing Persons exhumation requirements throughout the island including in military areas in the north;


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


“7.   Expresses its full support for UNFICYP and decides to extend its mandate for a further period ending 19 July 2012;


“8.   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;


“9.   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;


“10.  Calls on both sides to allow access to deminers and to facilitate the removal of the remaining mines in Cyprus within the buffer zone, and urges both sides to extend demining operations outside the buffer zone;


“11.  Requests the Secretary-General to submit a report on implementation of this resolution, including on contingency planning in relation to the settlement, by 1 July 2012 and to keep the Security Council updated on events as necessary;


“12.  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;


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


Background


Before the Security Council this morning was the Secretary-General’s report on the United Nations operation in Cyprus (UNFICYP), which coversdevelopments from 21 May to 20 November.  It says that, given the important role UNFICYP plays on the island in maintaining the calm and fostering bi-communal relations and trust, and its close collaboration with the Secretary-General’s mission of good offices and other United Nations actors on the island, the Secretary-General recommends an extension of its mandate for six months, until 15 June 2012.


The report describes as welcome developments the decrease in the overall number of military violations and the cancellation, for the fourth consecutive time, of the annual exercises on both sides.  In view of the recent maritime tensions around Cyprus, the military status quo in the buffer zone should be preserved.  At the same time, the opposing forces should respond positively to the UNFICYP proposals on military confidence-building measures.  It is also essential that the authority of UNFICYP in the buffer zone is respected by the local population and local authorities.  Civilian activities in the buffer zone can contribute to reconciliation, if they are managed in a way that fosters trust and cooperation.  The Secretary-General, therefore, calls on the respective authorities to provide their fullest support to UNFICYP in implementing its mandate.


Restrictions on the movement of locally employed United Nations personnel regrettably continue, the report finds.  The Secretary-General calls on the Turkish Cypriot authorities to respect that principle.  Both communities have continued to rely on UNFICYP assistance in addressing various issues affecting the everyday lives of the two communities.  Civil society initiatives are vital for long-term reconciliation and communal harmony and merit the fullest support of the leadership of the two communities.  UNFICYP has been instrumental in facilitating cooperation between the sides on criminal matters and the Secretary-General welcomes the sides’ continuing cooperation in this area.


The Secretary-General is of the view that the establishment of economic, social, cultural, sporting or similar ties and contacts will have a positive impact on the ongoing negotiations.  Such contacts nurture a sentiment of trust between the communities and help to address the concerns of isolation expressed by the Turkish Cypriots.  Further, greater economic and social parity between the sides will make an eventual reunification not only easier but also more likely.  In the context of an internationally sanctioned peace process, efforts in the opposite direction can only be counterproductive.


He says he is pleased that the humanitarian work of the Committee on Missing Persons continues largely unhindered, and he appeals to all parties to strive to prevent the Committee from being politicized.  He once again urges all parties to be more accommodating in meeting the Committee’s exhumation requirements throughout the island, including in areas in the north controlled by the military.


According to the report, there has been no demining activity during the reporting period, but mined areas, both in and outside the buffer zone, remain on the island.  The Secretary-General calls on the parties to facilitate, without delay, access to the remaining mined areas in and outside the buffer zone, in line with Security Council resolution 1986 (2011).  The United Nations stands ready to assist the parties in their aspiration to achieve a mine-free Cyprus.


The Secretary-General also encourages the parties to continue efforts to achieve further progress with regard to crossings.  The seven crossings established to date have greatly facilitated the movement of people between the two sides, making a tangible difference to the everyday lives of many Cypriots across the island.  Progress on this front will help to improve the overall confidence between the communities, and he urges the parties to seek mutually beneficial agreements and increased social and economic interaction between the two communities.


In line with Security Council resolutions, most recently resolution 1986 (2011), the Secretary-General says the Secretariat will remain engaged in contingency planning in relation to the settlement.  The planning will continue to be guided by developments in the negotiations and the views of the parties on the possible role of the United Nations in this respect.  At the same time, he promises to keep UNFICYP’s operations under close review, taking into account developments on the ground and the views of the parties, and shall revert to the Council with recommendations, as appropriate, for further adjustments to the mandate, force levels and concept of operations as soon as warranted.  Regarding the broader assessment of the United Nations presence in Cyprus, internal discussions continue as to the potential scope and timing of such an exercise.


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For information media • not an official record