SECURITY COUNCIL UNANIMOUSLY ADOPTS RESOLUTION EXTENDING MANDATE OF UNITED NATIONS PEACEKEEPING FORCE IN CYPRUS FOR SIX MONTHS

22 October 2004
SC/8223

SECURITY COUNCIL UNANIMOUSLY ADOPTS RESOLUTION EXTENDING MANDATE OF UNITED NATIONS PEACEKEEPING FORCE IN CYPRUS FOR SIX MONTHS

22/10/2004
Press ReleaseSC/8223

Security Council

5061st Meeting (PM)

Security Council unanimously adopts resolution extending mandate

 

of United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus for six months

Members Note Agreement of Cyprus Government

On Necessity to Keep Force on Island beyond 15 December 2004

Endorsing the Secretary-General’s recommendations for amending the concept of operations and force level of the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP), the Security Council this afternoon decided to extend the Force’s mandate for a further six-month period, starting on 15 December 2004 and ending on 15 June 2005.

Unanimously adopting resolution 1568 (2004), the Council noted the agreement of the Government of Cyprus that it was necessary to keep the operation on the island beyond 15 December, and welcomed the Secretary-General’s review of the operation, carried out pursuant to resolution 1548 of 11 June 2004.

[In that resolution, the Council welcomed the Secretary-General’s intention to review, within three months, UNFICYP’s mandate, force levels and concept of operations in light of the referenda of 24 April, when Greek Cypriots voted against a reunification plan for the island.  The Council also decided to act upon his recommendations within one month of receiving them.  In his latest report (document S/2004/756), the Secretary-General recommends reducing UNFICYP’s military component by some 30 per cent, from the current authorized strength of 1,230 to 860, all ranks, including up to 40 military observers/liaison officers.]

In adopting today’s text, the Council took note of the assessment that the security situation on the island had become “increasingly benign” over the last few years, and that a recurrence of fighting was increasingly unlikely.  It welcomed the Secretary-General’s intention to review further the operation’s mandate, force levels and concept of operation before the next renewal of UNFICYP’s mandate, taking into account developments on the ground and the views of the parties.

By further terms of the text, the Council urged the Turkish Cypriot side and Turkish forces to rescind all remaining restrictions on UNFICYP, and called on them to restore in Strovilia the military status quo which existed there prior to 30 June 2000.

Speaking in explanation of vote were the representatives of the United States, Pakistan, Russian Federation and the United Kingdom.

The meeting began at 1:15 p.m. and adjourned at 1:25 p.m.

Council Resolution

The full text of Security Council resolution 1568 (2004) reads, as follows:

The Security Council,

Welcoming the report of the Secretary-General of 24 September 2004 (S/2004/756) on the United Nations operation in Cyprus,

Reiterating its call to the parties to assess and address the humanitarian issue of missing persons with due urgency and seriousness, and welcoming in this regard the resumption of the activities of the Committee on Missing Persons since August 2004,

Welcoming the Secretary-General’s review of the United Nations peacekeeping operation in Cyprus (UNFICYP), pursuant to resolution 1548 (2004) of 11 June 2004,

Noting that the Government of Cyprus is agreed that in view of the prevailing conditions in the island it is necessary to keep UNFICYP beyond 15 December 2004,

Taking note of the assessment of the Secretary-General that the security situation on the island has become increasingly benign over the last few years and that a recurrence of fighting in Cyprus is increasingly unlikely,

Welcoming the Secretary-General’s intention to conduct a further review on UNFICYP’s mandate, force levels and concept of operation in advance of the next renewal of UNFICYP’s mandate, continuing to take into account developments on the ground and the views of the parties,

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,

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, in particular resolution 1251 (1999) of 29 June 1999 and subsequent resolutions;

“2.   Endorses the Secretary-General’s recommendations for the amendment of the concept of operations and force level of UNFICYP, as outlined in his report of 24 September 2004;

“3.   Decides to extend the mandate of UNFICYP for a further period ending 15 June 2005;

“4.   Urges the Turkish Cypriot side and Turkish forces to rescind without delay all remaining restrictions on UNFICYP, and calls on them to restore in Strovilia the military status quo which existed there prior to 30 June 2000;

“5.   Requests the Secretary-General to submit a report on implementation of this resolution concurrent with the review provided for above;

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

Background

Before the Council was the Secretary-General’s report on the United Nations operation in Cyprus (document S/2004/756), in which he recommends that the Council extend the operation’s mandate for a further six-month period, starting on 15 December 2004 and ending on 15 June 2005, and approve an amended concept of its operations and force level.

The report notes that the Security Council, by its resolution 1548 of 11 June 2004, welcomed the Secretary-General’s intention to review the mandate, force levels and concept of the operations of the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP).  Pursuant to that resolution, review teams conducted an in-depth assessment of developments on the ground and the evolving role of the mission’s various components over the past few years.  Extending the operation’s mandate for a further six months would allow for the mission’s systematic restructuring and provide for sufficient time to gain experience with the new structure before a further review.

Since the resumption of the most recent effort of the Secretary-General’s good offices mission, the context in which UNFICYP operated was shaped primarily by the pace of the negotiations on a comprehensive settlement, the report states.  Representatives of both communities met at various levels to discuss their common future in a reunited Cyprus.  Those efforts ended with the rejection of the proposed “Comprehensive Settlement of the Cyprus Problem” by the Greek Cypriot side in the 24 April 2004 referendum.

Throughout a period of intense negotiations, UNFICYP assisted in maintaining calm along the ceasefire lines, ensuring conducive conditions for the talks, the report says.  Official contacts between the leaders of the two sides have ceased since the referenda and signs of mutual distrust have reappeared.  The Secretary-General sees no basis for resuming his good offices as long as the impasse described in his 28 May 2004 report (document S/2004/437) continues.

According to the report, the security situation on the island has become “increasingly benign” over the past few years.  Despite the absence of a formal agreement on the delineation of the ceasefire lines, the two sides have now implicitly accepted the UNFICYP definition of the lines, with very few exceptions.  Since 2001, neither side has undertaken major military exercises.  The opening of crossing points in 2003 has led to a reduction in the military presence in the vicinity of the crossing points, and while the April 2004 referenda did not result in a settlement, the military situation has remained remarkably calm throughout the process.

The Secretary-General states that in the absence of a comprehensive settlement, UNFICYP’s presence on the islands remains necessary for the maintenance of the ceasefire and to foster conditions conducive to a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem.  He recommends a reduction of UNFICYP’s military component to 860, all ranks, including up to 40 military observers/liaison officers.  The civilian police deployment would be increased, while remaining within the current authorized strength, and the mission’s political and civil affairs component would also be strengthened.  Such measures will allow UNFICYP to continue to carry out its mandate and provide a basis for a further review of the mission, which should take place before the end of the next mandate period, in mid-2005.

While political developments may require the appointment of a full-time Special Adviser at some stage, the Secretary-General does not intend to make such an appointment at the current time, the report says.  UNFICYP’s chief of mission will act as his Special Representative on the ground for continuous contact at the highest level.  In support of that expanded function, the mission’s political analysis and reporting capacity needs to be strengthened.  The Secretary-General might also consider designating, on an ad hoc basis, senior Secretariat officials to deal with any practical aspects of his good offices that might require special attention.

Before moving to action, Council President EMYR JONES PARRY (United Kingdom) said he had met with representatives of the parties, who had confirmed that they maintained their well known positions vis-à-vis the item on the Council’s agenda.  On the basis of those meetings, and with the consent of Council members, he had concluded that the Council could take a decision on the draft resolution before it.

Action on Draft Resolution

Acting unanimously, the Council then adopted the resolution.

Statements after Vote

GORDON OLSEN (United States) said his delegation had voted in favour of the resolution because it endorsed the Secretary-General’s recommendation for a 30 per cent force-level reduction, as well as his intention to conduct a further review of UNFICYP’s mandate, force levels and concept of operations, continuing to take into account developments on the ground and the views of the parties, prior to the next mandate renewal.  The resolution was a first step in the ongoing examination of UNFICYP.

Noting that resources for peacekeeping operations were under strain as the demand for United Nations peacekeeping had increased, he welcomed the resolution’s support for the Secretary-General’s request for further voluntary contributions to UNFICYP.  A recurrence of fighting was increasingly unlikely, with the emphasis of the operation’s activities moving towards liaison, observation and mediation rather than the deployment of forces to prevent the recurrence of fighting and maintaining the status quo.  Also, the Secretariat team that had conducted the review had sought the views of the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot sides about the situation on the ground and the Secretary-General’s observation that both sides, as well as the guarantor Power, shared the view that under current conditions UNFICYP should remain in Cyprus beyond 15 December 2004.

He also reaffirmed his support for the Secretary-General’s report on his mission of good offices in Cyprus and agreed that the way ahead to a settlement was for the Greek Cypriots to articulate with clarity and finality the concerns they had indicated regarding implementation of the settlement plan and its security provisions.  The United States also supported the report’s assessment that Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots had done everything possible to reach a Cyprus settlement.  The United States appreciated Greece’s support for the Secretary-General’s efforts, including specifically for his final settlement plan, and reaffirmed its support for the Secretary-General’s recommendation in the good offices mission report that the Security Council should encourage all States to cooperate both bilaterally and in international bodies to eliminate unnecessary restrictions and barriers that had the effect of isolating Turkish Cypriots and impeding their development.  Such a move would be consistent with resolutions 541 and 550.

Expressing regret that the Council had not to date endorsed the Secretary-General’s report on his mission of good offices, he said he looked forward to Council action in that regard.  It was United States policy to ensure that members of the United States armed forces participating in United Nations peace operations were protected from criminal prosecution or other assertion of jurisdiction by the International Criminal Court, including through the possible inclusion of express provisions providing such protection.

MUNIR AKRAM (Pakistan) said he had approved the resolution for the following reasons:  it endorsed the Secretary-General’s recommendation for amending the concept of operations and adjusting the force level; and the text had extended the mandate of UNFICYP in accordance with the Secretary-General’s recommendation and the wishes of all concerned parties.

He said that the resolution, however, could not take stock of three important elements flowing from the radically changed situation on the ground:  it failed to respond to the Secretary-General’s good offices report of last May, which had called on the Council to give a strong lead to all States to cooperate, both bilaterally and in international bodies, to eliminate the unnecessary restrictions and barriers that had effectively isolated the Turkish Cypriots and impeded their development.

Also, the text had singled out a specific resolution in its first operative paragraph, which, in view of the transformed situation on the island, was not necessary, he said.  Paragraph 43 of the Secretary-General’s report on amendments in the concept of operations and force level had indicated that his review team had consulted with all relevant parties and guarantor Powers.  That reality had not been mentioned in preambular paragraph 4 of today’s resolution.

He, meanwhile, reiterated his unreserved support for all multilateral and bilateral initiatives and endeavours in search of a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem, based on consensus, justice and equity.

ANDREY I. DENISOV (Russian Federation) said the operation played an important role in maintaining security on the island and agreed with the Secretary-General’s recommendations on changes in the operation, as the changes reflected the situation in security terms on the island and would not harm the operation’s activities in carrying out its mandate.  The Russian Federation would help the parties to reach a lasting settlement on the island in light of resolution 1251.  The Russian Federation agreed with the importance of establishing of a favourable atmosphere on the island, including through economic relations, and stressed the need to observe the provisions of resolutions 541 and 1550.

EMYR JONES PARRY (United Kingdom), speaking in his national capacity, welcomed the adoption of the text, which rightly reflected the changing situation on the ground.  That had in no small part been due to the work of UNFICYP and the Secretary-General’s good offices team, which had also recognized the part played by the guarantor Powers and the parties on the island.  The resolution supported the Secretary-General’s recommendations for downsizing the Force and provided for a further comprehensive review before the next mandate.

He said the resolution focused only on the narrow issues of the future of UNFICYP, but there was the wider question of the future of the settlement issue, to which the Council would return in light of developments.

The United Kingdom had been disappointed that, having voted for a settlement in April, the Turkish Cypriots had so far seen little benefit.  The United Kingdom remained committed to reversing their isolation and reducing the economic gap, a key prospect for reunification.

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For information media. Not an official record.