COUNCIL EXTENDS CYPRUS FORCE MANDATE TO 15 DECEMBER 2001

15 June 2001
SC/7073

COUNCIL EXTENDS CYPRUS FORCE MANDATE TO 15 DECEMBER 2001

15/06/2001
Press ReleaseSC/7073

Security Council

4328th Meeting (AM)

COUNCIL EXTENDS CYPRUS FORCE MANDATE TO 15 DECEMBER 2001

Noting that the Government of Cyprus has agreed that in view of conditions prevailing in the island it is necessary to keep the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) beyond 15 June, the Security Council this morning decided to extend the Mission’s mandate for a further six months until 15 December.

The Council took that action by unanimously adopting resolution 1354 (2001), by whose terms it welcomed the most recent report of the Secretary-General on UNFICYP, in particular, the call to the parties to assess and address the humanitarian issue of missing persons with due urgency and seriousness.

It also welcomed and encouraged 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, and urged the Turkish Cypriot side and 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.

The Council also reaffirmed all its relevant resolutions on Cyprus, requested the Secretary-General to submit a report by 1 December on the implementation of the current resolution, and decided to remain actively seized of the matter.

Anwarul Karim Chowdhury (Bangladesh), Council President, informed members that he had met with the representatives of the parties, who had confirmed to him that they maintained their well known positions regarding the item before the Council.

The meeting was called to order at 10:20 a.m. and adjourned at 10:23 a.m.

Background

When the Security Council meets this morning, it will have before it the current report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations operation in Cyprus (document S/2001/534).  The report covers developments from 28 November 2000 to  29 May 2001 and brings up to date the record of activities of the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP).

According to the Secretary-General, the military situation along the ceasefire lines remained calm.  There were, however, small incidents caused by both the National Guard and the Turkish forces mainly in Nicosia.  Those included stone throwing, verbal abuse and temporary moves forward into unmanned locations.

In one potentially more serious incident, a soldier of the Turkish forces fired two shots into the air near a United Nations officer who was protesting a construction by Turkish troops.

The report goes on to say that, since December 2000, the National Guard has developed two major defensive works on its ceasefire line just outside the United Nations buffer zone, near the mixed village of Pyla.  The UNFICYP protested this construction as incompatible with the military status quo, but work continued.  In response, the Turkish forces constructed two berms and dug 120 metres of new trench between existing positions at a Turkish forces post, which is a permanent violation inside the United Nations buffer zone above Pyla.

In spite of repeated demands by UNFICYP, continues the report, the Turkish forces have refused to return to the status quo ante and recently added a new barbed wire fence to the north of this position.  Reinforced concrete firing positions are also being installed along much of the National Guard ceasefire line.  The report also goes on to say that in Pyla there was some tension at the end of April, as a result of the raising of Turkish and Cypriot flags in several locations.  This was in violation of an agreement reached among the two communities in the village and UNFICYP, which severely restricts the display of national symbols.

The Secretary-General states that restrictions imposed on UNFICYP by the Turkish Cypriot authorities and Turkish forces since 1 July 2000 have remained in force, including the violation of the military status quo by the Turkish forces/Turkish Cypriot security forces in the village of Strovilia.  Further, the restriction of movement along the Famagusta-Dherinia road, imposed on 1 November 2000, continued to prevent the Force from monitoring the whole of the fenced area of Varosha.  Observation by the Force is now limited to areas visible from static observation posts and a short patrol route well away from the fence.

Within Varosha, continues the Secretary-General, Turkish forces continued to fly flags on one of these buildings, in violation of the military status quo.  The United Nations holds the Turkish Government responsible for the maintenance of that status quo in Varosha.  There were also numerous incursions into the buffer zone by civilians, mainly Greek Cypriot farmers, villagers, workers and hunters who had failed to obtain the necessary permit from UNFICYP.

According to the report, the UNFICYP continued to perform its mandated humanitarian tasks in support of the 428 Greek Cypriots and 167 Maronites living in the northern part of the island and those Turkish Cypriots in the southern part who have made themselves known to the Force.  The Turkish Cypriot authorities now require Greek Cypriots to apply in person five days in advance for permission to visit family members living in the north.  They no longer accept applications submitted by the Force, except in the case of schoolchildren whose parents live in the north.

The Secretary-General states that, as reported to the Council last December, he had invited Mr. Glafcos Clerides and Mr. Rauf Denktash to attend proximity talks in Geneva in late January.  His Special Adviser on Cyprus, Alvaro de Soto, travelled to the island in January for meetings with both Mr. Clerides and

Mr. Denktash, as well as to Greece and Turkey.  Mr. Denktash asked that no dates for proximity talks be set.  It has not proved possible to resume talks during the reporting period.  Mr. de Soto, nevertheless, continues as the Secretary-General's Special Adviser, Zbigniew Wlosowicz as Acting Special Representative and Chief of Mission, and Major General Victory Rana as Force Commander.

The Secretary-General states that the proposed budget for the maintenance of UNFICYP for the period 1 July 2001–30 June 2002 is currently under consideration by the General Assembly.  The cost of maintaining the Force is estimated at $42,389,219 gross ($40,697,145 net), including pledged voluntary contributions of one third of the cost of the Force from the Government of Cyprus ($13,565,715) and $6.5 million from the Greek Government.  Should the Council decide to extend the mandate of the Force beyond 15 June for a further six-month period, an amount of $22,323,504 gross ($20,631,430 net) will be assessed on Member States.

As of 30 April, continues the Secretary-General, outstanding contributions to the Special Account for UNFICYP amounted to $20.3 million, representing some 10.7 per cent of the total assessed contributions from 16 June 1993 to the period ending 15 June 2001.

In conclusion, the Secretary-General notes that even though the situation along the ceasefire lines remained stable during the last six months, the conditions under which UNFICYP operated were still difficult due to restrictions imposed on the Force by the Turkish Cypriot authorities and Turkish forces.  Those restrictions remained in force despite efforts to have them lifted and to have the military status quo ante at Strovilia restored.  In the current circumstances, 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 December 15 2001.

Resolution

The text of resolution 1354 (2001), contained in document S/2001/581, reads as follows:

“The Security Council,

Welcoming the report of the Secretary-General of 30 May 2001 (S/2001/534) 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 June 2001,

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 resolutions 1251 (1999) of 29 June 1999 and subsequent resolutions;

“2.   Decides to extend the mandate of UNFICYP for a further period ending 15 December 2001;

“3.   Requests the Secretary-General to submit a report by 1 December 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 UNFICYP and to restore the military status quo ante at Strovilia;

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

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For information media. Not an official record.