United Nations.- By Apostolis Zoupaniotis
The UN Security Council, under the presidency of permanent representative of the UK, Sir Emyr Jones Parry, has unanimously adopted resolution 1642 (2005) renewing the United Nations peace keeping force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) for a further period of six months with the same force level, mandate and concept of operation.
The UN Security Council expresses its concern over the “differences that have arisen” regarding the construction activity related to the proposed additional crossing point at Ledra Street, in the divided old city of Nicosia, and urges both sides to co-operate with UN peace-keeping force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) to resolve this issue.
The Security Council expresses its full support for UNFICYP and decides to extend its mandate for a further period ending 15 June 2006.
The Security Council reaffirms all its relevant resolutions on Cyprus, in particular resolution 1251 (1999) of 29 June 1999 and subsequent resolutions and 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.
It urges both sides to avoid any action which could lead to an increase in tension and taking note with concern, in this context, of the conduct, for the first time since 2001, of the ”Nikiforos” military exercise, of the Cyprus National Guard and, afterwards, the ”Toros” military exercise of the Turkish occupation forces.
The Security Council regrets that progress towards a political solution ”has been negligible at best” and urges both sides to work towards the resumption of negotiations for a comprehensive settlement.
It also welcomes the Secretary-General’s continuous engagement in the search for a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem.
Regarding the humanitarian issue of the missing people, the Security Council reiterates its call to the parties to assess and address the issue with due urgency and seriousness, and welcomes in this regard the resumption of the activities of the Committee on Missing Persons since August 2004, as well as the Secretary-General’s intention to appoint a Third Member as of January 2006 and to reinforce his office.
Regarding developments at the Ledra Street, the Security Council “expresses concern that, since the release of the Secretary-General’s report, differences have arisen over construction activity related to the proposed additional crossing point at Ledra Street and urges both sides to co-operate with UNFICYP to resolve this issue”.
It welcomes the fact that over nine million crossings by Greek Cypriots to the north and Turkish Cypriots to the south have taken place, and encourages the opening of additional crossing points.
The Security Council welcomes all efforts to promote bicommunal contacts and events, including, inter alia, on the part of the UN, and urges the two sides to promote further bicommunal contacts and to remove any obstacles to such contacts.
It welcomes all demining activity in the buffer zone, including the agreement to begin the clearing of Turkish Forces minefields in Nicosia and surrounding areas within the buffer Zone.
The 15-member body welcomes and encourages efforts by the United Nations to sensitise peacekeeping personnel in the prevention and control of HIV/AIDS and other communicable diseases in all its peacekeeping operations.
It is noted 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 December 2005.
The Security Council expresses its gratitude to the Government of Cyprus and the Government of Greece for their voluntary contributions to the funding of UNFICYP and urges other countries and organizations contribute as well.
“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, welcoming in this context the further decrease in the overall number of incidents involving the two sides, while noting nonetheless that there were incidents of significant concern, (…) it expresses its full support for UNFICYP and decides to extend its mandate for a further period ending 15 June 2006”, the draft text concludes.
Following the adoption Cyprus’ Permanent Representative to the UN Andreas Mavroyiannis has welcomed the adoption of the resolution adding that the Cyprus Government counts on the help of the United Nations regards violations in the buffer zone by the Turkish occupation troops.
Mavroyiannis also thanked the members of the Security Council, the troop contributing countries and the Secretary General “for maintaining the presence of UNFICYP, a presence we consider indispensable as long as Turkish occupation of the north of the Island persists.”
He stressed that the Cyprus Government will continue working towards creating the conditions that will allow the resumption of meaningful negotiations in order to achieve, at last, a fair, functional and lasting settlement of the Cyprus problem.
“Unfortunately we are currently witnessing attempts by the occupation forces to create further faits accomplis by exploiting the confidence building measure of opening a crossing point on Ledra street in the centre of Nicosia, in order to gain control over parts of the buffer zone”, he said.
These attempts, he noted, follow the same pattern of persistent violations witnessed in Strovilia and more recently in Louroujina and other areas.
“We welcome the reference in the Resolution to the violation at Strovilia as well as to the problem created in Ledra street but we would have liked also a specific reference to the serious incident in Louroujina,” the Cypriot Ambassador added.
“We count on the help of the United Nations in order to prevent the creation of new faits accomplis and the restoration of status quo ante”, he concluded.
The President of the Republic of Cyprus Tassos Papadopoulos has said that the United Nations Security Council’s resolution, adopted yesterday, regarding the renewal of the mandate of the UN force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) for six more months, does not equate both sides in Cyprus regarding the deadlock in opening a new cross point at the Ledra Street.
“The resolution calls upon both sides in Cyprus to make efforts and solve the problem that arose at the Ledra Street cross point. The resolution does not equate both sides regarding the responsibility about the deadlock at the Ledra Street”, the President said responding to questions before his departure for Brussels, where he will attend the EU Summit.
He added that the only way to solve the problem is through dialogue, “provided that the fundamental principles set by us are met”.
The President noted that great efforts have been made during the discussion at the UN Security Council so that the word “construction” of the bridge that the Turkish occupation forces have build near the Ledra Street, remains unchanged in the resolution.
“Great efforts have been made so that the word ‘construction’ of the bridge remains in the text. Some countries wanted to delete the clear reference about the constructions of the occupation army”, he stressed.
About UN Secretary General Kofi Annan’s report on the renewal of the UNIFYP’s mandate, he said that it refers to violations of the status quo by the occupation army, as well as to two violations by the Greek Cypriot side.
He noted though, that the Cypriot government’s effort is to ”persuade that the unilateral actions of one person, even if this person is a European Parliament Member, can not be seen as equal to the violations that take place in an organized manner by the Turkish occupation forces”.
Regarding the pursue of the Cypriot interests before the EU decision about the accession negotiations with Turkey and the agreed revised Turkey –EU Partnership, he said that the top advisory body to the President on the Cyprus problem (the National Council) was not in favor of Cyprus vetoing Turkey’s EU bid.
He added that to a great extend, the Cypriot demands about Turkey, have been added to EU texts as EU demands.