SECURITY COUNCIL EXTENDS MANDATE OF UN PEACEKEEPING FORCE IN CYPRUS UNTIL 15 DECEMBER, UNANIMOUSLY ADOPTING RESOLUTION 1604 (2005)

15 June 2005
SC/8412

SECURITY COUNCIL EXTENDS MANDATE OF UN PEACEKEEPING FORCE IN CYPRUS UNTIL 15 DECEMBER, UNANIMOUSLY ADOPTING RESOLUTION 1604 (2005)

15/06/2005
Press ReleaseSC/8412

Security Council

5202nd Meeting (PM)

SECURITY COUNCIL EXTENDS MANDATE OF UN PEACEKEEPING FORCE IN CYPRUS

UNTIL 15 DECEMBER, UNANIMOUSLY ADOPTING RESOLUTION 1604 (2005)

Calls on Turkish Cypriot Side, Turkish

Forces to Restore Military Status Quo in Strovilia

The Security Council this afternoon extended the mandate of the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) for a further period ending 15 December 2005.

Unanimously adopting resolution 1604 (2005), the Council also called on the Turkish Cypriot side and Turkish forces to restore in Strovilia the military status quo which existed there prior to 30 June 2000. 

According to the Secretary-General’s report, on 19 May, the Turkish Cypriot side lifted the restrictions imposed on UNFICYP in July 2000 by the Turkish forces/Turkish Cypriot security forces, allowing UNFICYP to restore its operational capabilities in and around the buffer zone.  However, the violation of the military status quo in Strovilia persisted.

Established in 1964 to prevent further fighting between the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities, UNFICYP remains on the island to supervise ceasefire lines, maintain a buffer zone, and undertake humanitarian activities.

The meeting began at 3:19 p.m. and ended at 3:22 p.m.

Council Resolution

The full text of resolution 1604 (2005) reads, as follows:

The Security Council,

Welcoming the report of the Secretary-General of 6 June 2005 (S/2005/353) 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 1568 (2004) of 22 October 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 June 2005,

Taking note of the assessment of the Secretary-General that the security situation on the island continues to be stable and that the situation along the Green Line remains calm, and, nonetheless, that there were problems in a few sensitive areas, and welcoming in this context the further decrease in the overall number of incidents involving the two sides,

Welcoming the Secretary-General’s intention to keep the operations of UNFICYP under close review, continuing to take into account developments on the ground and the views of the parties, and to revert to the Council with recommendations for further adjustments as appropriate to UNFICYP’s mandate, force levels and concept of operation once he judges that sufficient time has passed since the implementation of UNFICYP’s new concept of operations to make this assessment,

Taking note with satisfaction of the lifting of restrictions of movement of UNFICYP by the Turkish Cypriot side and the Turkish forces, and taking note in this connection that UNFICYP enjoys good cooperation from both sides,

Welcoming the fact that over seven million crossings by Greek Cypriots to the north and Turkish Cypriots to the south have taken place, and encouraging the opening of additional crossing points,

Expressing concern at the increase in crime across the ceasefire line and urging both sides to increase cooperation in order to address this issue,

Welcoming all efforts to promote bicommunal contacts and events, including, inter alia, on the part of the United Nations, and urging the two sides to promote further bicommunal contacts and to remove any obstacles to such contacts,

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

“3.   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;

“4.   Requests the Secretary-General to submit a report on implementation of this resolution by 1 December 2005;

“5.   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;

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

Background

Before the Security Council was the Secretary-General’s report on the United Nations operation in Cyprus (document S/2005/353), in which he recommends that the mandate of the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) be extended for six months until 15 December.  The report covers developments since 25 September 2004 and also contains the findings of the mission’s review, carried out by a joint UNFICY/Headquarters review team, which visited the island between 6 and 11 May.

According to the report, the overall situation in Cyprus remained stable, although the official contacts between the leaders of the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot sides, which had ceased since the April 2004 referenda, have not been resumed, and there is little sign of improvement in relations.  The overall military security situation on the island also continued to be stable, with calm along the ceasefire lines.  The number of air violations decreased from 67 in the last reporting period to 30.  Since clearing of national Guard minefields in the buffer zone commenced on 18 November 2004, over 25,000 square metres have been cleared, and more than 400 anti-personnel and approximately 900 anti-tank mines have been destroyed.

On 19 May, the Turkish Cypriot side lifted the restrictions imposed on UNFICYP in July 2000 by the Turkish forces/Turkish Cypriot security forces.  This will allow UNFICYP to restore its operational capabilities in and around the buffer zone.  However, the violation of the military status quo in Strovilia persisted.  The Untied Nations continues to hold the Government of Turkey responsible for the maintenance of the status quo in Varosha.

The report notes that by 7 February, UNFICYP’s military component had completed its reduction in strength and had started to implement the amended concept of operations, as approved by resolution 1568 (2004).  The strength of the Force at that time stood at about 875 military personnel.

According to the report, the review team found that the amended, more mobile concept of operations allows the mission to maintain the same level of mandate implementation with the reduced troop strength.  The introduction of a military observer and liaison group has started to contribute to an increased emphasis on liaison, observation and mediation rather than the interposition of forces.  The review team also considered whether further reductions would be possible at this stage, but concluded that the new concept was still in its early stages and more time and experience would be needed to assess its full impact before taking decisions in that regard.

Although the situation in Cyprus has been calm, the distrust between the Greek Cypriot and the Turkish Cypriot side has persisted in the absence of a viable political process, as has the military posture and the concomitant perception of threat.  In that situation, the presence of UNFICYP remains necessary for the maintenance of the ceasefire and in order to foster conditions conducive to a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem.  The conducted review found that that view is shared by both sides on the island, as well as by the guarantor Powers and other interested parties.

The Secretary-General shares the view of the review team that the restructuring of UNIFCYP and the amended concept of operations will allow the mission to implement its mandate effectively and efficiently.  However, delays in recruitment and deployment of staff have not allowed the new concept to reach its full potential.  More time will be required to assess the full impact of the present changes and the need for any further adjustments.

The review team found that the civilian police and civil affairs tasks have continued to increase in number and complexity, as have the requests from both sides for assistance.  It is, therefore, important that Member States make available the additional officers needed to bring the actual strength of UNFICYP’s civilian police component up to the authorized strength of 69.  Until that is done, UNFICYP will need to retain the additional 15 military personnel currently engaged in civil affairs activities, according to the Secretary-General.

The Secretary-General does not believe that the time is ripe to appoint a full-time person dedicated to his good offices.  The Chief of Mission, Zbigniew Wlosowicz, will continue to act as his special Representative.  A senior official from the Secretariat will be dispatched, on an ad hoc basis, to visit Cyprus, Greece and Turkey to assess the situation on the ground in the light of recent political developments.

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For information media. Not an official record.