SECURITY COUNCIL EXTENDS CYPRUS MISSION UNTIL 30 JUNE 199819971223
The Security Council this afternoon extended the mandate of the United Nations Peace-keeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP), until 30 June 1998, and called upon the military authorities on both sides to refrain from any action, particularly in the vicinity of the buffer zone, which would exacerbate tensions.
Unanimously adopting resolution 1146 (1997), the Council called upon all concerned to commit themselves to reducing defence spending and the number of foreign troops in Cyprus, to help restore confidence between the parties and as a first step towards withdrawing non-Cypriot forces. The Council stressed the importance of the eventual demilitarization of Cyprus as an objective in the context of an overall comprehensive settlement and encouraged the Secretary-General to continue to promote efforts in that direction.
The Council also called for early agreement to and rapid implementation of the reciprocal measures for the reduction of tension along the ceasefire lines proposed and subsequently adapted by UNFICYP. It encouraged UNFICYP to continue its efforts towards that end, noting that only one side had so far accepted the package. Further, the Council called upon the leaders of the two communities to continue the discussions on security issues begun on 26 September.
The Council also expressed its full support for the intention of the Secretary-General to resume in March 1998 the open-ended process of negotiations initiated in July and aimed at achieving a comprehensive settlement. The leaders of the two communities were called upon to commit themselves to the process of negotiations and to cooperate actively and constructively with the Secretary-General and his Special Adviser. The Council reiterated its grave concern at the continuing excessive and increasing levels of military forces and armaments on Cyprus and the rate at which they were being expanded, upgraded and modernized, including by the introduction of sophisticated weaponry, and the lack of progress towards any significant reduction in the number of foreign troops.
Also by the resolution, the Council reaffirmed its position that a Cyprus settlement must be based on a State of Cyprus with a single sovereignty and international personality and a single citizenship, with its independence and territorial integrity safeguarded, and comprising two politically equal communities as described in the relevant Security Council resolutions, in a bi-communal and bi-zonal federation. Such a settlement must exclude union in whole or in part with any other country or any other form of partition or secession.
The meeting, which was called to order at 12:26 p.m., was adjourned at 12:30 p.m.
The full text of resolution 1146 (1997) reads as follows:
"The Security Council
"Welcoming the report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations operation in Cyprus of 8 December 1997 (S/1997/962),
"Welcoming also the report of the Secretary-General on his Mission of Good Offices in Cyprus of 12 December 1997 (S/1997/973),
"Noting that the Government of Cyprus has agreed that in view of the prevailing conditions in the island it is necessary to keep the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) beyond 31 December 1997,
"Reaffirming all its earlier relevant resolutions on Cyprus, and in particular resolutions 186 (1964) of 4 March 1964, 367 (1975) of 12 March 1975, 939 (1994) of 29 July 1994 and 1117 (1997) of 27 June 1997,
"Noting with concern the tensions along the ceasefire lines remain high, despite the further decrease in the number of serious incidents in the last six months, and that restrictions to UNFICYP's freedom of movement have increased,
"Reiterating its concern that negotiations on a comprehensive political solution have yet to make progress, despite the efforts made at the two rounds of direct negotiations, held in July and August 1997, between the leaders of the two communities, at the initiative of the Secretary-General.
"1. Decides to extend the mandate of UNFICYP for a further period ending on 30 June 1998;
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"2. Reminds both sides of their obligations to prevent any violence directed against UNFICYP personnel, to cooperate fully with UNFICYP and to ensure its complete freedom of movement;
"3. Underlines the importance of early agreement to the reciprocal measures for the reduction of tension along the ceasefire lines proposed and subsequently adapted by UNFICYP, notes the fact that only one side has so far accepted this package, calls for early agreement to and rapid implementation of reciprocal measures and encourages UNFICYP to continue its efforts towards that end;
"4. Calls upon the leaders of the two communities to continue the discussions on security issues begun on 26 September 1997;
"5. Calls upon the military authorities on both sides to refrain from any action, particularly in the vicinity of the buffer zone, which would exacerbate tensions;
"6. Reiterates its grave concern at the continuing excessive and increasing levels of military forces and armaments in the Republic of Cyprus and the rate at which they are being expanded, upgraded and modernized, including by the introduction of sophisticated weaponry, and the lack of progress towards any significant reduction in the number of foreign troops in the Republic of Cyprus, which threaten to raise tensions both on the island and in the region and complicate efforts to negotiate an overall political settlement;
"7. Calls upon all concerned to commit themselves to a reduction in defence spending and a reduction in the number of foreign troops in the Republic of Cyprus to help restore confidence between the parties and as a first step towards the withdrawal of non-Cypriot forces as described in the set of ideas (S/24472, Annex), stresses the importance of eventual demilitarization of the Republic of Cyprus as an objective in the context of an overall comprehensive settlement, and encourages the Secretary-General to continue to promote efforts in this direction;
"8. Reiterates that the status quo is unacceptable, and stresses its support for the Secretary-General's mission of good offices and the importance of concerted efforts to work with the Secretary-General towards an overall comprehensive settlement;
"9. Expresses its full support for the intention of the Secretary- General to resume in March 1998 the open-ended process of negotiations initiated by the Secretary-General in July 1997 and aimed at achieving a comprehensive settlement;
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"10. Calls upon the leaders of the two communities to commit themselves to this process of negotiations and to cooperate actively and constructively with the Secretary-General and his Special Adviser, and urges all Sates to lend their full support to these efforts;
"11. Further calls in this context upon all parties concerned to create a climate for reconciliation and genuine mutual confidence on both sides, and to avoid any actions which might increase tension, including through further expansion of military forces and armaments;
"12. Reaffirms its position that a Cyprus settlement must be based on a State of Cyprus with a single sovereignty and international personality and a single citizenship, with its independence and territorial integrity safeguarded, and comprising two politically equal communities as described in the relevant Security Council resolutions, in a bi-communal and bi-zonal federation, and that such a settlement must exclude union in whole or in part with any other country or any form of partition or secession;
"13. Welcomes the ongoing efforts by UNFICYP to implement its humanitarian mandate in respect of Greek Cypriots and Maronites living in the northern part of the island, and Turkish Cypriots living in the southern part, and welcomes also the progress in the implementation of recommendations arising out of the humanitarian review undertaken by UNFICYP in 1995 as mentioned in the report of the Secretary-General;
"14. Welcomes also the agreement reached between the leaders of the two communities on 31 July 1997 on the issue of missing persons in Cyprus;
"15. Welcomes further the efforts of the United Nations and others concerned to promote the holding of bi-communal events so as to build cooperation, trust and mutual respect between the two communities, commends the increase in such bi-communal activity in the last six months, acknowledges the recent cooperation from all concerned on both sides to that end, and strongly encourages them to take further steps to facilitate such bi-communal events and to ensure that they take place in conditions of safety and security;
"16. Recognizes that the decision of the European Union concerning the opening of accession negotiations with Cyprus is an important development;
"17. Requests the Secretary-General to submit a report by 10 June 1998 on the implementation of the resolution;
"18. Decides to remain actively seized of the matter."
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Report of Secretary-General
When the Council met this afternoon, it had before it the Secretary-General's report on the United Nations operation in Cyprus (document S/1997/962), in which he states that the presence of UNFICYP on the island remains indispensable in maintaining the ceasefire between the two sides and recommends the extension of the Force's mandate for a further period of six months, until 30 June 1998.
According to the report, while the situation in Cyprus was calmer than in the preceding six months, it continued to be marked by tension. The lack of progress towards an overall settlement, coupled with increasingly belligerent rhetoric, contributed to a growing sense of frustration in both communities. The Secretary-General had appealed to both sides, as well as to the Governments of Greece and Turkey, to refrain from any action that could raise tension and negatively affect efforts to achieve a peaceful settlement. He had also urged that the military authorities on both sides be more responsive to UNFICYP observations and protests concerning their responsibilities along the ceasefire lines.
The level of tension along the ceasefire lines remained higher than the norm, but lower than during the same period in 1996, the report states. Although both sides generally respected the ceasefire and the military status quo, there were nonetheless frequent incidents and an increased number of restrictions of UNFICYP movement. Moreover, both sides continued to dispute the delineation of their respective ceasefire lines, as well as the authority of UNFICYP in a number of areas of the United Nations buffer zone. As a result, there had been a number of incidents in which UNFICYP movement had been restricted, including some occasions when physical force was used against UNFICYP foot patrols. There had also been a slight rise in the number of serious shooting incidents in or near the buffer zone.
The military forces and armaments in Cyprus continued to be expanded, upgraded and modernized according to the report. It is estimated that there are more than 30,000 Turkish forces and some 4,500 Turkish Cypriot troops on the island. The National Guard's strength is approximately 14,500. The plan of the Government Cyprus to purchase the S-300 air defence system continued to draw a strong reaction from Turkey and the Turkish Cypriot side. On several occasions, UNFICYP drew the attention of both sides to resolution 1117 (1997), in which the Security Council reiterated its grave concern at the continuing levels of military forces and armaments in the Republic of Cyprus.
The package of reciprocal measures proposed by UNFICYP to reduce tension along the ceasefire lines had still not been put in place, the report states. The measures proposed by UNFICYP, which took into account the concerns of both sides, would significantly improve the atmosphere and reduce the potential for
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violations of the ceasefire. In late June, to facilitate an agreement, UNFICYP presented a revised package of unmanning proposals to both sides which took into account the preoccupations that had been expressed by each side. Despite a further 21 meetings with the military authorities on both sides, no agreement had yet been reached.
On 23 October, the Turkish forces declared their willingness to accept the UNFICYP revised package presented to both sides in June, provided that the National Guard did likewise. The National Guard, believing that the reduction of tension along the ceasefire lines would best be achieved by the implementation of the prohibition of loaded weapons and the code of conduct, did not wish to unman in areas such as Nicosia, where, in their view, the security of Greek Cypriot civilians might be affected. The UNFICYP will continue its efforts to reach an agreement on the proposed package of proposals, the report states.
There have also been some positive developments, according to the report. The meetings of the two leaders of the two communities with the Secretary-General's Deputy Special Representative at the end of July resulted in progress on the question of missing persons and in some improvements on humanitarian issues. The participation of thousands of Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots in bicommunal activities sponsored by UNFICYP and others demonstrated that a basis of mutual respect and goodwill existed between the two communities that could and should be expanded. Accordingly, the Secretary-General instructed UNFICYP to give high priority to that part of its work and called on the authorities on both sides to facilitate the expansion of such activities.
Also, the report states that the Secretary-General had instructed his Deputy Special Representative to pursue the proposal of a joint statement on security, which he had discussed with the two leaders during a meeting on 26 September. Such a joint statement would be a positive signal and could improve the atmosphere between the two sides.
The Council also had before it a report on the Secretary-General's mission of good offices in Cyprus (document S/1997/973). In a previous communication, the Secretary-General informed the Council that he intended to invite the leaders of the two communities to a series of face-to-face talks. From 9 to 12 July, the first round of talks between the leaders of the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities was held at Troutbeck, New York. At the talks, the two leaders initiated the consideration of a draft statement intended to launch a process of negotiations, to set out the principles and objectives of the settlement and to establish the modalities for future negotiations. The two leaders subsequently met in Nicosia with the Deputy Special Representative to consider humanitarian matters and concluded an agreement to achieve progress on the issue of missing persons on 31 July.
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The second round of talks was held at Glion-sur-Montreux, Switzerland, from 11 to 15 August, the report states. When the talks opened, the Turkish Cypriot leader stated that, pending clarification of some of the statements contained in a document published by the European Union entitled "Agenda 2000", he would participate in further discussions with the Greek Cypriot leader, but would not be able to adopt any formal understandings or agreements. In the circumstances, an early third round of talks would have been unproductive, says the report.
Through his Special Adviser, who visited Nicosia from 18 to 21 November and subsequently Athens, Ankara and London, the Secretary-General conveyed to the two community leaders, and to the Governments of Greece, Turkey and the United Kingdom, his commitment to continue his good offices mission at the earliest appropriate time, bearing in mind that the electoral process was engaging the attention of the Greek Cypriot leader and his community. The two community leaders agreed that the Special Adviser should return to Nicosia in March 1998 in order to discuss the modalities of a continuing process of negotiations and hopefully set it in motion.
The Secretary-General concludes that he remains convinced that it is essential to adopt new approaches and to ensure that the two community leaders will enter upon, as soon as possible, a continuing and sustained process of negotiations that will focus on the preparation of the actual legal instruments that will constitute the settlement.
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