UNITED NATIONS – By Apostolis Zoupaniotis
The Cyprus government welcomed the adoption by the UN Security Council, on Friday, of resolution 1548, renewing the mandate of the peacekeeping force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) for another six months. Speaking to the press after the adoption of the resolution, Cyprus’ Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Ambassador Andreas Mavroyiannis thanked the members of the Security Council for their support and understanding adding that ”the presence of the peacekeeping force is necessary because the conditions on the ground defined by the presence of the occupation army and the existence of the buffer zone and all other problems we have on the ground have not changed.”
Mavroyiannis added that the Council Resolution refers to the existing problems on the ground, to the restrictions imposed by the occupation army, to the problem of Strovilia, to the lack of cooperation on behalf of the occupation authorities and expressed hope that in the coming months it will be possible to take up all these issues.
He added that the Cyprus Government welcomes the review that will be conducted by the Secretary General on the force adding that ”we believe that this review should be carried out in accordance with objective criteria having to do with the situation on the ground.”
Replying to questions and referring to the main disagreement of the Cyprus government of what the SG says in his report for his good offices’ mission on the need to end the isolation of the Turkish Cypriot community, Mavroyiannis stressed ”we want the Security Council to uphold resolutions 541 (1983) and 550 (1984) and sate very specifically that whatever action is undertaken should respect those resolutions and it should be between states, having as a goal the reunification of the island and the economic integration of the island.”
He also noted that what is important is to send the message ”that violations of the status quo are not tolerated and Strovilia is such a case where we have a clear violation of the status quo and an advance of the occupation forces.
”Therefore one should be very cautious when he speaks about such situations because if we don’t very firmly condemn any such violation the occupation forces might receive the message that this kind of violations are tolerated,” he stressed.
Permanent Representative of the United Kingdom, Ambassador Emyr Jones Parry welcomed the adoption of the resolution unanimously and said his country supports the Secretary General’s decision to conduct a comprehensive review of UNFICYP’s role and to make recommendations in that regard.
Parry said his country looks forward to early consideration of these recommendations by the Security Council with a view to tailoring UNFICYP to reflect current requirements.
Alternate United States Representative in the United Nations Ambassador James Cunningham said recent significant developments in Cyprus including the results of the referenda on the Secretary General’s peace plan and the entry of Cyprus into the EU have fundamentally changed the situation in Cyprus and necessitate a critical examination of UNIFICYP and the need for the UNFICYP mission.
He explained United States voted in favour of this resolution because it articulates a timeline by which the Council will act upon those recommendations.
”It should be clear that the appropriate action for the Council will be to adopt a new mandate for UNFICYP in light of the Secretary General’s recommendations”, he added.
He also said the US agrees with the report’s conclusion ”that the rejection of the Secretary General’s settlement plan by the Greek Cypriot electorate raises fundamental questions regarding their commitment to a bizonal, bicommunal federal solution of the Cyprus problem.”
”We support both report’s suggestion that Greek Cypriots may wish to reflect on this matter and the conclusion that, if they remain committed to such a solution, this needs to be demonstrated not just by words, but by action. We agree with the report that the way ahead to a settlement is for the Greek Cypriots to articulate with clarity and finality concerns they have indicated regarding implementation of the settlement plan and its security provisions”, he noted adding that ”only when articulated can such concerns be addressed by the Secretary General and the Security Council where we stand willing to play a constructive role.”
Cunningham also said ”we support the report’s assessment that Turkey and Turkish Cypriots have done everything possible to reach a Cyprus settlement” and ”the Secretary General’s recommendation in Paragraph 93 of the Report and members of the Security Council should encourage the Turkish Cypriots and Turkey to remain committed to the goal of reunification.”
”We agree that to that end, and not for the purpose of affording recognition or assisting secession, the Security Council should give a strong lead to all states to cooperate both bilaterally and in international bodies to eliminate unnecessary restrictions and barriers that have the effect of isolating Turkish Cypriots and impeding their development,” the American diplomat said.
He added that ”we concur with the Secretary General’s assessment that such a move is consistent with Security Council resolutions 541 in 1983 and 550 of 1984. We look forward to strong Security Council action in support of the Security General and the recommendations contained in his report.”
Deputy Permanent Representative of Russia, Ambassador Alexander Konuzin said ”Russia voted for this resolution because we think that this resolution will contribute to stability and security in the island.”
”With regard to the Good Offices of the Secretary General, I believe that the Security Council should address this issue additionally in due time. The Russian principle position is that economic and cultural relations between two communities could contribute to the better understanding, to dialogue between the sides, to stabilization, to settlement of this issue and the reunification of the island,” he added.
Konuzin also said that ”as for the restrictions that should be removed, we think this should be done in the basis of the UN Resolutions. This issue should be addressed with regard to resolutions 541 and 550,” he stressed.
Permanent Representative of Chile, Ambassador Cristian Maquieira expressed hope the re-evaluation of the mandate of UNFICYP that will be carried out with the Secretariat will yield good results.
”We call upon the parties to keep their commitment to deal with reunification,” he added.
Representative of Pakistan, Ambassador Munir Akram said his country supported the resolution with serious reservations expressing the view the UNFICYP’s mandate should have been extended only for three months following the recent rejection of the Secretary General’s compromise plan for a comprehensive Cyprus settlement.
Permanent Representative of Algeria, Ambassador Abdallah Baali said his delegation voted in favor of the draft resolution on Cyprus to the request that was given to them by the government of Cyprus to maintain UNFICYP on the island beyond the 15th of June 2004.
Permanent Representative of Romania, Ambassador Mihnea Ioan said his country voted in favour of the resolution since, as recommended by the Secretary General’s report on UNFICYP after consultation with both sides and the guarantor powers, in the absence of a comprehensive settlement the presence of UNFICYP on the island continues to be necessary.