Extending the mandate of the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) until 31 January 2020, the Security Council today expressed regret over the lack of progress since 2017 and urged all sides to renew their political will to achieve a settlement under United Nations auspices.
Unanimously adopting resolution 2483 (2019), the 15-member Council further called for a reduction of tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean, and on the leaders of the two Cypriot communities — and all involved parties — to refrain from any actions and rhetoric that might damage the chances for success.
By other terms, the Council called on the two leaders to put their efforts expeditiously behind work to reach convergences on the core issues, empower all Technical Committees to submit proposals on enhancing intercommunal contacts, promote peace education across the island, and more broadly, improve the public atmosphere for negotiation to secure a settlement.
Further, it called on all sides — with UNFICYP as facilitator — to intensify efforts towards establishing a mechanism for direct contacts at military level, and to continue exploring ways to establish mechanisms and enhance existing initiatives for alleviating tensions, notably by increasing joint efforts on criminal matters and helping to address issues affecting all Cypriots.
The Council called on all parties to enhance cooperation with the Committee on Missing Persons by providing full access to all areas and responding in a timely manner to requests for archival information on possible burial sites.
Expressing serious concern at the increased number of violations of the military status quo along the ceasefire lines, the Council called on all involved to respect UNFICYP’s mandated authority in, and delineation of, the buffer zone. It urged the sides to use the 2018 United Nations aide-memoire to ensure peace and security in the buffer zone.
Regarding Strovilia, the Council called on the Turkish Cypriot side and Turkish forces to restore the military status quo which existed there prior to 30 June 2000, recalling the status of Varosha as set out in relevant resolutions. It called on both sides to agree, and implement, a work plan to achieve a mine-free Cyprus, including as a first step, delivering on their 26 February 2019 agreement.
The Council also requested the Secretary-General to increase the number of women in the Peacekeeping Force, in line with resolution 2242 (2015), as well as ensure their full and meaningful participation in all aspects of operations. He must also continue to take measures to ensure full compliance of all UNFICYP personnel with the zero-tolerance policy on sexual exploitation and abuse.
After the vote, the representative of the United States said the resolution, which sent an important message to community leaders, makes clear that peacekeeping missions cannot substitute for a political process. While the United States is disappointed with the lack of progress, it believes a settlement is achievable. Hopefully the resolution will spur the parties towards direct talks leading to the reunification of Cyprus and sustainable peace for its people.
The representative of the Russian Federation said UNFICYP’s role is to ensure security and monitor compliance in the buffer zone, and that it should not be used to pressure the parties. Only the Cypriot communities themselves can agree on a unified State, he said, adding that external intervention and artificial timelines are unacceptable. Describing the current system of external security guarantees as anachronistic, he said a bigger role for the Council regarding the Cyprus situation is long overdue. He called on those who might be tempted to drag Cyprus into geopolitical games to refrain from doing so.
The meeting began at 3:03 p.m. and ended at 3:13 p.m.