United Nations.- By Apostolos Zoupaniotis
The UN Security Council unanimously adopted on Wednesday resolution 2453 (2019) extending the mandate of the UN peacekeeping force in Cyprus, UNFICYP, for another six months until July 31, 2019. But taking into account the intervention of U.S. Deputy Representative Jonathan Cohen during while explain his vote, the next renewal is not going to be easy if there is no progress in the settlement negotiations, let by UN Advisor Jane Hall Lute.
“We are pleased that the new mandate reflects this view and that the Secretary-General will examine how the many UN activities on Cyprus can be best configured in the current environment,” he said.
According to the US diplomat “UNFICYP and the UN’s overall presence in Cyprus cannot be a substitute for, or be a part of a landscape that lacks a path toward a political solution. We look forward to the Secretary-General’s report particularly on this point.”
He reiterated the US position in support of “a comprehensive settlement to reunify the island as a bizonal, bi-communal federation, to benefit all Cypriots and the wider region.”
He further underscored that “while the United Nations has a critical role to play, the political process towards a settlement must be Cypriot-led.”
“For a durable, lasting peace to take hold, the leaders must demonstrate the political courage and will to negotiate in good faith and with a sense of urgency,” he noted.
“We urge the leaders to proactively engage UN consultant Jane Holl Lute to negotiate the terms of reference for resuming negotiations,” Cohen said.
British deputy permanent representative Jonathan Allen said “we continue to be strong supporters of a just and lasting settlement to reunite Cyprus based on the internationally accepted model for a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation.”
He added that “we endorse the Secretary-General`s view the prospects remain alive for a comprehensive settlement.”
“Through the unanimous adoption of this resolution today we are sending a clear message to all sides: to work towards the resumption of talks through constructive engagement with the United Nations consultant Ms Jane Holl Lute, and her work to reach agreement on terms of reference for resuming talks within a foreseeable horizon,” he noted.
Russia, he noted, “trusts that the adoption by the Security Council of the resolution 2453 will help UNFICYP implement its mandate to set up security conditions for a settlement on the island.”
“The Cypriot settlement is one of the few agenda items of the Security Council where a fully unified position of its members helps to provide a solid international support for efforts of the Cypriot parties to achieve agreement on comprehensive settlement on the basis of the UN resolutions,” he said, adding that “the reason for the consensus is the balanced position of the Council and its consent for the Cypriots themselves.”
On Tuesday, Russia broke the silence procedure, disagreeing with the language on the evaluation of peacekeeping performance, asking Council members to discuss these issues in the Special Committee on Peacekeeping. Explaining his vote in the Security Council meeting, after the adoption of Resolution 245, Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia expressed regret for the fact “that one delegation is making attempts to use the sensitive situation of the island to put forward its own positions on this.”
Both Britain and the United States stressed that peace and security lies is a responsibility of the Council and cannot be vetoed by Special Committee on Peacekeeping. They also argued that identical language was used in recent Security Council Resolutions for other peacekeeping operations.
China “upholds an objective and fair position on the Cyprus issue, and respects the independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity of Cyprus,” the Chinese permanent representative Ma Zhaoxu said during his intervention.
“China believes that the Cyprus issue should be settled based on relevant UN resolutions through a dialogue and negotiations between Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots to gradually narrow the differences and reach a lasting comprehensive, fair and reasonable solution acceptable to both sides,” he added.
Thank you, Mr. President, and thanks to the UK delegations for their efforts to strengthen UNFICYP’s mandate to ensure it conveys the strong sentiment of the UN Security Council and the international community that peacekeeping operations must support political solutions and the urgency we see for the leaders of both the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities to come together. We appreciate your commitment, both as the penholder and as a troop-contributing country, to peace and stability in Cyprus.
We join the Council’s unanimous urging to the leaders of both Cypriot communities that they take immediate steps to rebuild trust, improve the public atmosphere, and resume talks toward a settlement.
The United States continues to support a comprehensive settlement to reunify the island as a bizonal, bi-communal federation, to benefit all Cypriots and the wider region, and we want to underscore the following:
First, while the United Nations has a critical role to play, the political process towards a settlement must be Cypriot-led. For a durable, lasting peace to take hold, the leaders must demonstrate the political courage and will to negotiate in good faith and with a sense of urgency. We urge the leaders to proactively engage UN consultant Jane Holl Lute to negotiate the terms of reference for resuming negotiations.
The leaders must also pursue their own lines of effort to prepare their respective communities for a comprehensive settlement. This mandate makes clear the Security Council’s strong urging to the leaders to fulfill their previously agreed 2015 confidence-building measures, particularly on mobile phone interoperability and completing the integration of electricity grids, as soon as possible.
We also welcome this Council’s call for the establishment of mechanisms and enhancing existing initiatives to alleviate tensions. These mechanisms should provide for direct contact between the sides, without prejudice to recognition, which also allows for top to bottom communication across the communities.
The second point is that, on principle, perpetual peacekeeping missions are unacceptable. We are pleased that the new mandate reflects this view and that the Secretary-General will examine how the many UN activities on Cyprus can be best configured in the current environment. UNFICYP and the UN’s overall presence in Cyprus cannot be a substitute for, or be a part of a landscape that lacks a path toward a political solution. We look forward to the Secretary-General’s report particularly on this point.
We’re hopeful that the leaders will quickly reach agreement on terms of reference and will be prepared to exert all efforts to reach a comprehensive settlement. The United States has made clear, in reviewing all peacekeeping missions, that we will not support the status quo for missions where political processes are stalled.
Finally, we want to remind that the Security Council has primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security. One of the main ways it exercises this responsibility is through setting peacekeeping mandates and policies. We cannot and should not accept the view that the Security Council should cede its leadership and responsibility to the General Assembly’s Special Committee on Peacekeeping.
We will continue to defend the Security Council’s primacy on peacekeeping matters and the tremendous progress this Council has made in recent years in reforming and strengthening peacekeeping by putting peacekeeper performance improvement at the heart of our efforts. Implementing the Secretariat’s performance policy framework is essential to our shared goal of making UN peacekeeping as effective and efficient as it can be.
Building on the accomplishments of Resolution 2436 on peacekeeper performance, we are pleased that the Security Council reaffirmed in this resolution its support for the development of a comprehensive and integrated performance policy framework that identifies clear standards of performance for evaluating all UN personnel working in and supporting peacekeeping operations.
Thank you, Mr President. The United Kingdom welcomes the unanimous adoption of Resolution 2453 today and the renewal of the mandate of the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus. And I’d just like to thank all members of the Council for their support in bringing these negotiations to a successful conclusion.
We continue to be strong supporters of a just and lasting settlement to reunite Cyprus based on the internationally accepted model for a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation. And we endorse the Secretary-General’s view the prospects remain alive for a comprehensive settlement. Through the unanimous adoption of this resolution today we are sending a clear message to all sides: to work towards the resumption of talks through constructive engagement with the United Nations consultant Ms Jane Holl Lute, and her work to reach agreement on terms of reference for resuming talks within a foreseeable horizon.
UNFICYP plays an important role in supporting the settlement process through its contribution to peace and stability on the island and in creating the conditions for settlement talks. At the same time it should also support a return to normal conditions on the island. We therefore welcome the emphasis in this resolution on enhanced dialogue and cooperation to build trust and mutual understanding between the communities, including our collective call for the sides and relevant parties to develop new mechanisms to achieve this.
We also support the continued focus on the important contribution of women, youth and civil society and the role of education in promoting a culture of peace and reconciliation. I took note of the Russian Representative’s views on the language in OP17 of this resolution on cross-cutting peacekeeping issues. We tried very hard through this process to take all delegations’ views into consideration and find a way through.
As Council members are aware, the language that we have used in this resolution is an exact replica of the language agreed upon by this Council in other peacekeeping mandates, including resolution 2445 on UNISFA, which we adopted unanimously in October 2018. The language in today’s resolution needed updating since our last discussion six months ago to reflect the important developments on the integrated performance policy framework for all peacekeeping operations, including resolution 2436 on peacekeeping performance, which was adopted unanimously by this Council in September 2018. Our language closely mirrors that of resolution 2450 on UNDOF which was also adopted unanimously in December 2018 and on which the Russian delegation jointly led negotiations.
We do not accept the argument that the Special Committee on peacekeeping C34 must approve, endorse or authorise any new development in peacekeeping policy before the Secretariat can implement it.
The C34 plays a vital role in scrutinising peacekeeping policy and making informed strategic and balanced recommendations on a range of policy issues in its report. However, as our Russian colleagues have rightly pointed out, the C34 is mandated to “comprehensive review” all aspects of cross-cutting peacekeeping policy. That does not imply that the C34 has a right of veto over policy implementation or that it can obstruct the Security Council’s ability to make decisions on matters of international peace and security. We would not want to see the C34’s functions exceeded under the powers prescribed under Chapter 4 Article 10 of the Charter.
Mr President, let me take the opportunity to express our thanks to Special Representative Spehar and her team for their work on the island during the last six months; to the Secretary-General for keeping his good offices at the disposal of at the parties; and to Jane Holl Lute for her ongoing consultations. The United Kingdom will continue to support the sides in their efforts to achieve a settlement and we stand ready to play our part in any future talks.