SECURITY COUNCIL ADOPTS RESOLUTIONS REGARDING SECRETARY-GENERAL'S MISSION OF GOOD OFFICES IN CYPRUS AND UNFICYP MANDATE19990629
The Security Council this afternoon unanimously adopted two resolutions, the first relating to the Secretary-General's mission of Good Offices in Cyprus, and the second extending the mandate of the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) until 15 December.
By the terms of its resolution 1250 (1999), the Council, stressing its full support for the Secretary-General's mission of Good Offices requested, him to invite the leaders of both sides in Cyprus to negotiations in the autumn of 1999. It called upon the two leaders to give their full support to such a constructive negotiation under the auspices of the Secretary-General.
It also called upon the two leaders to commit themselves to the following principles: no preconditions; all issues on the table; commitment in good faith to continue negotiations until a settlement is reached; and full consideration of relevant United Nations resolutions and treaties.
The Council reiterated its endorsement of the Secretary-General's initiative announced on 30 September 1998, within the framework of his mission of Good Offices, aimed at reducing tensions and promoting progress towards a just and lasting peace in Cyprus. Noting that the discussions between the Secretary- General's Special Representative and the two sides are continuing, the Council urged both sides to participate constructively. It expressed the view that both sides have legitimate concerns that should be addressed through comprehensive negotiations covering all relevant issues.
Also this afternoon, the Council decided to extend the mandate of UNFICYP for a further period ending 15 December 1999. It took that action by the terms of resolution 1251 (1999).
Reminding both sides of their obligations to prevent any violence against UNFICYP personnel, to cooperate fully with the Force and to ensure its complete freedom of movement, the Council called upon the military authorities on both sides to refrain from any action which would exacerbate tensions.
The Council reiterated its grave concern at the continuing excessive levels of military forces and armaments on Cyprus and the rate at which they are being expanded, upgraded and modernized. It called upon all concerned to commit themselves to a reduction in defence spending and in the number of foreign troops.
By further terms of the resolution, the Council reaffirmed that the status quo is unacceptable and that negotiations on a final political solution to the Cyprus problem have been at an impasse for too long. It called upon the two sides to refrain from the threat or use of force or violence as a means to resolve the problem.
By other terms, the Council welcomed UNFICYP's ongoing efforts 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 south, as mentioned in the Secretary-General's report.
The meeting was called to order at 3:42 p.m. and adjourned at 3:45 p.m.
Reports of Secretary-General
When the Council met this afternoon, it had before it the Secretary- General's report (documents S/1999/657 and Add.1) on the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP). Recommending the extension of the Force's mandate for a further six months until 31 December, he says that UNFICYP's presence on the island remains indispensable for the maintenance of the ceasefire between the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot sides.
The Secretary-General observes that during the reporting period, from 9 December 1998 to 9 June 1999, UNFICYP continued to maintain the United Nations buffer zone between the ceasefire lines and to respond quickly to incidents between the two sides. While those incidents were mostly minor, the increasing practice by members of the opposing forces of engaging in provocative behaviour along the lines heightens the risk of more serious incidents.
Acts of provocation, the report says, included pointing and cocking of weapons, shouting of insults, throwing of objects, obscene gestures and shining of searchlights at the other side's positions, particularly in Nicosia, where the lines are in close proximity. They also included overflights of the buffer zone by each side, as well as military construction on or close to the ceasefire lines, in some cases involving the National Guard. The UNFICYP continued to resist any challenge to the delineation of the ceasefire lines.
The Secretary-General notes that the best way for both sides to prevent incidents is to enforce strict discipline along the ceasefire lines and to cooperate with UNFICYP on the basis of long-standing principles and practices. The adoption of UNFICYP measures to reduce tension along the ceasefire lines
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would further contribute to stabilizing the situation. More direct contact between Greek and Turkish Cypriots would also influence the atmosphere positively.
According to the report, the suspension by the Turkish Cypriot authorities of bi-communal contacts remained in effect, limiting on-island contacts between the two communities. However, trade unions on both sides continued to maintain regular contact. On 28 and 29 May, they held a forum attended by 300 Greek and Turkish Cypriot trade union representatives.
The UNFICYP continued to facilitate civilian use of the buffer zone for manufacturing and agriculture and for the maintenance of public utilities, the report states. The Force also continued to act as intermediary between the two sides to facilitate cooperation on such matters as the distribution of water and electricity and the disposal of sewage.
The report notes that during the reporting period, seven Turkish citizens and five Turkish Cypriots crossed the buffer zone into the southern part of the island and were detained by the police. Similarly, three Greek Cypriots and three Greek citizens were detained after crossing northward. The UNFICYP visited the prisoners and facilitated their release. In accordance with long-standing procedure, UNFICYP is to be involved without delay whenever the police on either side detain a member of the other community.
Regarding the Force's humanitarian tasks, the report says that on 2 October 1998 the Turkish Cypriot authorities informed UNFICYP of the lifting of controls affecting Maronites and Greek Cypriots in the island's northern part (except in restricted military areas). Greek Cypriots on the Karpas Peninsula are now allowed to travel in the north without first reporting to the local police. Some 310 Turkish Cypriots in the south, having made themselves known to UNFICYP, have made little use of its liaison office at Limassol, opened in December 1996. The office was, therefore, closed on 1 March 1999. Two or three meetings between family members residing on different sides of the buffer zone still occur at the UNFICYP exchange point each week.
Referring to financial aspects, the report states that should the Security Council decide to extend UNFICYP's mandate, the cost of maintaining the Force should be approximately $22.8 million. Of that amount, approximately $12.2 million will be assessed on Member States. As at 31 May, unpaid assessments to the Special Account for UNFICYP from 16 June 1993 to 30 June 1999 amounted to $17.4 million. Total outstanding assessed contributions for all peacekeeping operations at the same date amounted to $1,568 million.
On organizational matters, the report says that as of May, UNFICYP comprised 1,223 troops and 34 civilian police. The military personnel are from Argentina, Austria, Canada, Finland, Hungary, Ireland, Slovenia, Netherlands and the United Kingdom. The civilian police are provided by Australia and Ireland.
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The Secretary-General reports that in April he accepted the resignation of his Special Adviser for Cyprus, Diego Cordovez, who will continue as his Special Adviser on other matters. Ann Hercus continues as Deputy Special Representative and Chief of Mission of the United Nations Operation in Cyprus, and Major-General Evergisto A. de Vergara continues as Force Commander.
In the addendum to the report, the Secretary-General informs the Council that Cyprus, as well as Greece and the United Kingdom, have indicated their concurrence with the proposed extension. Turkey has indicated that it concurs with and supports the position of the Turkish Cypriot side, as expressed in previous meetings of the Security Council on the extension of the Force's mandate.
The Council also had before it the report of the Secretary-General on his mission of good offices in Cyprus (document S/1999/707), submitted pursuant to the request contained in the Security Council resolution 1218 (1998).
The Secretary-General states that in accordance with Security Council resolution 1218 (1998) and in continuation of the process of on-island talks with both parties with a view to reducing tension and promoting a just and lasting settlement, during the past six months Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General Ann Hercus has held numerous meetings with both Glafcos Clerides and Rauf Denktash. The substance of these "shuttle talks" has remained confidential, and both Mr. Clerides and Mr. Denktash continued to engage in them in a constructive manner.
According to the report, apart from their confidentiality, the specific agreed methodology of the shuttle talks is that, at this point, neither side is aware of the views expressed to the Deputy Special Representative by the other side. While this format allows the Secretary-General to assess to what extent there is convergence of views on the various aspects, it also has its limitations, as a formal agreement can only be achieved in comprehensive negotiations directly involving both leaders.
The discussions have reconfirmed the importance of the issue of political equality, the report states. The Turkish Cypriot contention is that some aspects of their situation place them at a disadvantage and undermine the commitment to political equality. A major challenge for the negotiations is how to translate this commitment into clear, practical provisions to be agreed upon by both sides. Cyprus is fortunate that, despite the long-running dispute and continuing tension, there has been no resumption of fighting between the two sides for the past 25 years. However, the absence of a settlement, comfortable as the status quo may appear to some, remains a source of instability and tension, and neither side has anything to gain from waiting any longer.
The Secretary-General further states that, over the years, many elements that would make up a solution have been identified. Based on past and current
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discussions and negotiations, the remaining core issues are: security; distribution of powers; property; and territory. A compromise on those issues would remove the remaining obstacles towards a peaceful settlement. It is essential, however, that these core issues be addressed without preconditions in a practical, realistic and straightforward manner in comprehensive negotiations.
Also according to the report, the heads of State of the Group of Eight (G-8) countries, five of whom are members of the Security Council, at their summit held in Cologne, Germany, from 18 to 20 June, expressed support for holding "a comprehensive negotiation covering all relevant issues". In particular, the members of the G-8 have urged the Secretary-General "in accordance with relevant Security Council resolutions to invite the leaders of the two parties to negotiations in the fall of 1999".
The Secretary-General states that he is ready to invite both leaders to enter into a process of comprehensive negotiations without preconditions and in a spirit of compromise and cooperation. While each leader faces the responsibility of representing the views and aspirations of his side, they have the joint responsibility for achieving a concrete, mutually acceptable and forward-looking solution. Noting that he has informed the Council of his intention to appoint Ann Hercus as his Special Representative as of 1 July, he says she would be asked to continue the process of dialogue with the parties to that end.
The full text of resolution 1250 (1999) reads as follows:
"The Security Council,
"Reaffirming all its earlier resolutions on Cyprus, particularly resolution 1218 (1998) of 22 December 1998,
"Reiterating its grave concern at the lack of progress towards an overall political settlement on Cyprus,
"Appreciating the statement of the Heads of State and Government of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the United States of America on 20 June 1999 (S/1999/711, annex) calling for comprehensive negotiations in the autumn of 1999 under the auspices of the Secretary-General,
"1. Expresses its appreciation for the report of the Secretary-General of 22 June 1999 (S/1999/707) on his mission of Good Offices in Cyprus;
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"2. Stresses its full support for the Secretary-General's mission of Good Offices as decided by the Security Council and, in this context, for the efforts of the Secretary-General and his Special Representative;
"3. Reiterates its endorsement of the initiative of the Secretary- General announced on 30 September 1998, within the framework of his mission of Good Offices, with the goal of reducing tensions and promoting progress towards a just and lasting settlement in Cyprus;
"4. Notes that the discussions between the Secretary-General's Special Representative and the two sides are continuing, and urges both sides to participate constructively;
"5. Expresses the view that both sides have legitimate concerns that should be addressed through comprehensive negotiations covering all relevant issues;
"6. Requests the Secretary-General, in accordance with the relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions, to invite the leaders of the two sides to negotiations in the autumn of 1999;
"7. Calls upon the two leaders, in this context, to give their full support to such a comprehensive negotiation, under the auspices of the Secretary-General, and to commit themselves to the following principles:
"- no preconditions;
"- all issues on the table;
"- commitment in good faith to continue to negotiate until a settlement is reached;
"- full consideration of relevant United Nations resolutions and treaties;
"8. Requests the two sides on Cyprus, including military authorities on both sides, to work constructively with the Secretary-General and his Special Representative to create a positive climate on the island that will pave the way for negotiations in the autumn of 1999;
"9. Also requests the Secretary-General to keep the Security Council informed of progress towards the implementation of this resolution and to submit a report to the Council by 1 December 1999;
"10. Decides to remain actively seized of the matter."
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The full text of resolution 1251 (1999) reads as follows:
"The Security Council,
"Welcoming the report of the Secretary-General of 8 June 1999 (S/1999/657 and Add.1) on the United Nations operation in Cyprus,
"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 30 June 1999,
"Reaffirming all its earlier resolutions on Cyprus, in particular resolutions 1217 (1998) of 22 December 1998 and 1218 (1998) of 22 December 1998,
"Calling once more upon all States to respect the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of the Republic of Cyprus, and requesting them, along with the parties concerned, to refrain from any action which might prejudice that sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity, as well as from any attempt at partition of the island or its unification with any other country,
"Noting that the situation along the ceasefire lines is essentially stable, but expressing its grave concern at the increasing practice by both sides of engaging in provocative behaviour along the ceasefire lines, which heightens the risk of more serious incidents,
"Reminding the parties that the UNFICYP package of measures aimed at reducing tensions along the ceasefire lines was designed to reduce incidents and tensions, without affecting the security of either side,
"Reiterating the need to make progress on a comprehensive political solution,
"1. Decides to extend the mandate of UNFICYP for a further period ending 15 December 1999;
"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. Calls upon the military authorities on both sides to refrain from any action, including acts of provocation in the vicinity of the buffer zone, which would exacerbate tensions;
"4. Requests the Secretary-General and his Special Representative to continue to work intensively with the two sides with a view to early agreement on further specific tension-reducing steps, with full consideration of its resolution 1218 (1998) of 22 December 1998;
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"5. Calls upon both sides to take measures that will build trust and cooperation and reduce tensions between the two sides, including demining along the buffer zone;
"6. Urges the Greek Cypriot side to agree to the implementation of the UNFICYP package of measures, and encourages UNFICYP to continue its efforts towards the rapid implementation of the package by both sides;
"7. Reiterates its grave concern at the continuing excessive 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 advanced weapon systems by either side, and at 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;
"8. Calls upon all concerned to commit themselves to a reduction in defence spending, a reduction in the number of foreign troops in the Republic of Cyprus, and a staged process aimed at limiting and then substantially reducing the level of all troops and armaments in the Republic of Cyprus as a first step towards the withdrawal of non-Cypriot forces as described in the set of ideas (S/24472, annex), to help restore confidence between the sides, stresses the importance of eventual demilitarization of the Republic of Cyprus as an objective in the context of an overall comprehensive settlement, welcomes in this context any steps either side may take to reduce armaments and troops, and encourages the Secretary-General to continue to promote efforts in this direction;
"9. Calls upon both sides to refrain from the threat or use of force or violence as a means to resolve the Cyprus problem;
"10. Reaffirms that the status quo is unacceptable and that negotiations on a final political solution to the Cyprus problem have been at an impasse for too long;
"11. 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;
"12. 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, as mentioned in the report of the Secretary-General;
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"13. Reiterates its support for 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, and calls upon the Turkish-Cypriot leadership to resume such activities;
"14. Requests the Secretary-General to submit a report by 1 December 1999 on the implementation of this resolution;
"15. Decides to remain actively seized of the matter."
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