SECURITY COUNCIL EXTENDS MANDATE OF CYPRUS PEACEKEEPING FORCE

13 December 2000
SC/6974

SECURITY COUNCIL EXTENDS MANDATE OF CYPRUS PEACEKEEPING FORCE

13/12/2000
Press ReleaseSC/6974

Security Council

4246th Meeting (PM)

SECURITY COUNCIL EXTENDS MANDATE OF CYPRUS PEACEKEEPING FORCE

The Security Council this afternoon extended the mandate of the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) until 15 June 2001.

Unanimously adopting resolution 1331 (2000), the Council urged the Turkish Cypriot side and the Turkish forces to rescind the restrictions imposed on 30 June 2000 on the operations of UNFICYP and to restore the military status quo ante at Strovilia.

It reaffirmed all its relevant resolutions on Cyprus, in particular resolution 1251 (1999) of 29 June 1999 and subsequent resolutions.

This afternoon's meeting, which began at 12:50 p.m., adjourned at 12:52 p.m.

Text of Resolution

The full text of resolution 1331 (2000) reads, as follows:

“The Security Council,

“Welcoming the report of the Secretary-General of 1 December 2000 (S/2000/1138) on the United Nations operation in Cyprus, and in particular the call to the parties to assess and address the humanitarian issue of missing persons with due urgency and seriousness,

“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 15 December 2000,

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

2.  Decides to extend the mandate of UNFICYP for a further period ending

15 June 2001;

“3.  Requests the Secretary-General to submit a report by 1 June 2001 on the implementation of this resolution;

“4.  Urges the Turkish Cypriot side and Turkish forces to rescind the restrictions imposed on 30 June 2000 on the operations of UNCIFYP and to restore the military status quo ante at Strovilia;

“5.  Decides to remain actively seized of the matter.”

Report of Secretary-General

As the Security Council met this morning, it had before it the report of the Secretary-General on UNFICYP (document S/2000/1138).

Although the military situation along the ceasefire lines has remained stable, the Secretary-General considers the presence of UNFICYP essential for the maintenance of the ceasefire on the island.  He recommends that the Council extend the mandate of the Force for a further period of six months, until 15 June 2001. Drawing attention to the shortfall in the funding of the Force, he says unpaid assessments amount to some $22.5 million, a sum representing money owed to States that contribute the troops who make up the Force.  The Secretary-General appeals to Member States to pay their assessments promptly and in full.

The Secretary-General says that during the period under review, there were numerous provocative actions on both sides.  On occasion, UNFICYP personnel were threatened with cocked weapons and their movement was impeded.  The National Guard continued to carry out field works along the ceasefire line.  The Turkish forces also carried out minor construction.  Air violations of the United Nations buffer zone by Turkish military aircraft rose, while air violations of the buffer zone by military and civilian aircraft from the other side decreased.

On 30 June, the Secretary-General says, the Turkish Cypriot authorities and Turkish forces instituted a number of measures against UNFICYP, including the closure of all crossings of the Turkish forces' ceasefire line except one, thereby completely isolating United Nations troops in three camps in the north and at Strovilia.  Three additional crossing points were subsequently opened to allow access to the camps from the south.  Turkish forces/Turkish Cypriot security forces then moved forward of their ceasefire line at Strovilia and have since controlled the access of UNFICYP to its post in this small hamlet inhabited by Greek Cypriots.  The Secretary-General's urgent call to rescind the restrictions and to restore the military status quo ante at Strovilia has not met with a positive response.

According to the report, the impact of these restrictions necessitated travel over dangerous mountain tracks and long detours to access UNFICYP posts. The operational effectiveness of UNFICYP has suffered.  Response times have increased and command logistic and administrative movements have lengthened.  The Turkish Cypriot authorities have also imposed mandatory additional insurance for United Nations vehicles and announced that they would, from now on, require UNFICYP to pay for electricity and other utilities for its bases in the north.

The report goes on to say that UNFICYP continued to carry out its humanitarian tasks in support of the 428 Greek Cypriots and 165 Maronites living

in the north and maintained contact with those Turkish Cypriots in the south who have made themselves known to the Force.  The UNFICYP assisted with various projects in the buffer zone -- on water supply matters, urban renovation work, use of farmland and roadways and other issues -- with the cooperation of the local authorities from both sides.  From June to December, UNFICYP dealt with more than 400 incidents involving incursions into the buffer zone by civilians, mostly by Greek Cypriot hunters, who were often aggressive and sometimes violent.

The Secretary-General reports that Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot representatives have been working to help enable the Committee on Missing Persons to resume its activities.  The two sides in 1998 provided each other with information on the location of graves of Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot missing persons.  In addition to other unilateral measures, the Greek Cypriot side has undertaken exhumations, as well as identification of remains.  However, the two sides have not yet been able to work out ad hoc arrangements for the exchange of the remains.

He says that proximity talks, facilitated by the Secretary-General's Special Adviser, continued with the two parties.  Three sessions were held and the Special Representative also met with Glafcos Clerides and Rauf Denktash during visits to Cyprus, Athens and Ankara.  He is currently visiting the area for further discussions.  The Secretary-General has invited the two leaders to attend further talks in Geneva in late January.

As at October 2000, UNFICYP comprised 1,210 troops.  The Government of Austria has announced that it intends to withdraw its contingent by September 2001.  The General Assembly, in June 2000, appropriated some $43.42 million gross for the maintenance of UNFICYP for the 12-month period from 1 July 2000 to 30 June 2001.  Should the Council decide to extend the mandate of UNFICYP for a further period of six months, the cost of maintaining the Force would be limited to that amount.

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For information media. Not an official record.