Members Query Text’s Language on Military Elements as Sponsor Cites ‘Fine Balance’
The Security Council today extended the mandate of the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) for six months, until 31 July, and decided to increase its force levels to 888, while welcoming progress in negotiations between the island nation’s Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot leaders on a comprehensive and durable settlement.
Unanimously adopting resolution 2263 (2016), the 15-nation Council also urged the implementation of confidence-building measures, saying it looked forward to agreement on and implementation of further steps, including military confidence-building measures and the opening of already-agreed crossing points.
On missing persons, the Council called upon all parties to provide more expeditious, full access to all areas, given the need to intensify the work of the Committee on Missing Persons.
Speaking after the action, Egypt’s representative expressed concern about preambular paragraph 13, regarding that Committee’s work, noting that language indicating the identity of military areas should have been included to reflect the reality on the ground.
In a similar vein, the Russian Federation’s representative said the resolution’s sponsor had not heeded the concerns of some Council members, pointing out that the Turkish air force continued to violate Cypriot airspace.
However, the representative of the United Kingdom, the resolution’s penholder, said the text achieved a “fine balance” and sent a positive message at a hopeful time, explaining that it welcomed the progress made between the two sides, captured positive developments, including confidence-building measures, and approved a modest increase of force for the mission.
The representative of the United States said his delegation saw the best chance in decades to end the long-standing division and reunify Cyprus as a bizonal, bicommunal federation. Unfortunately, one Council member had politicized today’s action, he added.
The meeting began at 10:05 a.m. and ended at 10:21 a.m.
The full text of resolution 2263 (2016) reads as follows:
“The Security Council,
“Welcoming the report of the Secretary-General of 6 January 2016 (S/2016/11) on the United Nations operation in Cyprus,
“Noting that the Government of Cyprus is agreed that in view of the prevailing conditions on the island it is necessary to keep the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) beyond 31 January 2016,
“Noting the intention of the Secretary-General to report on his Good Offices in the next reporting period, echoing the Secretary-General’s firm belief that the responsibility for finding a solution lies first and foremost with the Cypriots themselves, and reaffirming the primary role of the United Nations in assisting the parties to bring the Cyprus conflict and division of the island to a comprehensive and durable settlement,
“Welcoming the good progress of negotiations, the positive momentum and the commitment expressed by the leaders to work tirelessly to reach a comprehensive settlement as soon as possible, in a results-oriented manner as agreed to in the Joint Declaration adopted by the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot leaders on 11 February 2014, and the support provided by the Secretary-General’s Special Adviser on Cyprus Espen Barth Eide,
“Recalling the importance attached by the international community to all parties engaging fully, flexibly and constructively in the negotiations and, noting that the negotiations have not yet resulted in an enduring, comprehensive and just settlement based on a bicommunal, bizonal federation with political equality, as set out in the relevant Security Council resolutions, encouraging the sides to intensify the substantive negotiations on the unresolved core issues interdependently, and stressing that the status quo is unsustainable,
“Noting the need to advance the consideration of and discussions on military confidence building measures, calling for renewed efforts to implement all remaining confidence building measures, and for agreement on and implementation of further steps to build trust between the communities,
“Reaffirming the importance of continued crossings of the Green Line by Cypriots, and encouraging the opening by mutual agreement of other crossing points,
“Convinced of the many important benefits, including economic benefits for all Cypriots that would flow from a comprehensive and durable Cyprus settlement, urging the two sides and their leaders to foster positive public rhetoric, and encouraging them clearly to explain the benefits of the settlement, as well as the need for increased flexibility and compromise in order to secure it, to both communities well in advance of any referenda,
“Highlighting the importance, both political and financial, of the supporting role of the international community, and in particular that of all parties concerned in taking practical steps towards helping the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot leaders to exploit fully the current opportunity,
“Taking note of the assessment of the Secretary-General that the security situation on the island and along the Green Line remains stable, and urging all sides to avoid any action, including violations of the military status quo, which could lead to an increase in tension, undermine the progress achieved so far, or damage the goodwill on the island,
“Recalling the Secretary-General’s firm belief that the situation in the buffer zone would be improved if both sides accepted the 1989 aide-memoire used by the United Nations,
“Noting with regret that the sides are withholding access to the remaining minefields in the buffer zone, and that demining in Cyprus must continue, noting the continued danger posed by mines in Cyprus, noting also proposals and discussions as well as positive initiatives on demining, and urging rapid agreement on facilitating the recommencement of demining operations and clearance of the remaining minefields,
“Commending the work of the Committee on Missing Persons, highlighting the importance of intensifying its activities, and therefore the need to provide all information required, noting that nearly half of all missing persons have yet to be located and around 69 per cent have yet to be identified, welcoming moves to allow the Committee access to 30 additional suspected burial sites in military areas in north Cyprus, urging the opening up of access to all areas expeditiously to allow the Committee to carry out its work, and trusting that this process will promote reconciliation between the communities,
“Agreeing that active participation of civil society groups, including women’s groups, is essential to the political process and can contribute to making any future settlement sustainable, recalling that women play a critically important role in peace processes, welcoming all efforts to promote bicommunal contacts and events including, inter alia, on the part of all United Nations bodies on the island, and urging the two sides to promote the active engagement of civil society and the encouragement of cooperation between economic and commercial bodies, and to remove all obstacles to such contacts,
“Stressing the need for the Council to pursue a rigorous, strategic approach to peacekeeping deployments,
“Welcoming the intention of the Secretary-General to keep all peacekeeping operations under close review to ensure efficiency and effectiveness, including a review of UNFICYP when appropriate, and noting the importance of transition planning in relation to the settlement, including recommendations as appropriate for further adjustments to UNFICYP’s mandate, force levels and other resources and concept of operations, taking into account developments on the ground and the views of the parties,
“Noting with appreciation the efforts of Lisa Buttenheim as the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Force Commander Major General Kristin Lund, and the Secretary-General’s appointment of Special Adviser Espen Barth Eide,
“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, and expressing appreciation to Member States that contribute personnel to UNFICYP,
“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. Welcomes the progress of the leaders-led negotiations so far and the ongoing efforts of the leaders and their negotiators to reach a comprehensive and durable settlement, and encourages the sides to grasp the current opportunity with determination to secure a comprehensive settlement;
“2. Takes note of the reports of the Secretary-General (S/2016/11) and (S/2016/15);
“3. Recalls Security Council resolution 2026 (2011), and calls upon the two leaders to:
(a) Put their efforts behind further work on reaching convergences on the core issues;
(b) Continue to work with the Technical Committees with the objective of improving the daily lives of the Cypriots;
(c) Improve the public atmosphere for the negotiations, including by focussing public messages on convergences and the way ahead, and delivering more constructive and harmonised messages; and
(d) Increase the participation of civil society in the process as appropriate;
“4. Urges the implementation of confidence-building measures, and looks forward to agreement on and implementation of further such mutually-acceptable steps, including military confidence-building measures and the opening of crossing points already agreed upon and others, that can contribute to a conducive environment for a settlement;
“5. Welcomes all efforts to accommodate the Committee on Missing Persons exhumation requirements as well as the joint appeal for information issued by the two leaders on 28 May 2015, and calls upon all parties to provide more expeditious, full access to all areas, given the need to intensify the Committee’s work;
“6. Reaffirms all its relevant resolutions on Cyprus, in particular resolution 1251 (1999) of 29 June 1999 and subsequent resolutions;
“7. Expresses its full support for UNFICYP and decides to extend its mandate for a further period ending 31 July 2016; and to increase force levels to 888;
“8. Calls on both sides to continue to engage, as a matter of urgency and while respecting UNFICYP’s mandate, in consultations with UNFICYP on the demarcation of the buffer zone, and on the United Nations 1989 aide-memoire, with a view to reaching early agreement on outstanding issues;
“9. 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;“10. Calls on both sides to allow access to deminers and to facilitate the removal of the remaining mines in Cyprus within the buffer zone, and urges both sides to extend demining operations outside the buffer zone;
“11. Requests the Secretary-General to submit a report on implementation of this resolution, including on contingency planning in relation to the settlement, by 8 July 2016 and to keep the Security Council updated on events as necessary;
“12. 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;
“13. Decides to remain seized of the matter.”