From time to time, letters circulate at the United Nations as Security Council and General Assembly documents, under the Agenda item “Question of Cyprus”, at the request of the Permanent Mission of Turkey to the UN, as “Annex” to such request, purporting to emanate from the “Representative” of the “Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus” and signed by its “President”.
Most recently, such letters were circulated on 23 October and 1 December 2014.
The UN Secretariat has over the years responded to our protests that it followed the practice of circulating any document at the request of a Member State as a purely administrative action without taking a position on the validity or otherwise of its contents.
This may be so as a general proposition. However, the question arises whether this is justified in this particular case.
A plethora of Security Council and General Assembly Resolutions were adopted on the Cyprus Question ever since the key SC Resolution 186(1964).More such Resolutions followed the 1974 invasion and occupation of a large part of Cyprus by Turkey. More specifically, and more relevantly to the issue, two important SC Resolutions were adopted following the 15 November 1983 Declaration of Independence (UDI) by the “Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus”(TRNC”) SC Res 541(1983) and SC Res 550(1984).
SC Res 541 provides (in part): “Considering that this declaration is incompatible with the 1960 Treaty concerning the establishment of the Republic of Cyprus and the 1960 Treaty of Guarantee,
- Deplores the declaration by the Turkish Cypriot authorities of the purported secession of part of the republic of Cyprus;
- Considers the .declaration as legally invalid and calls for its withdrawal;
- Calls upon all States not to recognize any Cypriot state other than the Republic of Cyprus”.
SC Res 550 provides (in part): “Gravely concerned about the further secessionist in the occupied part of the Republic of Cyprus,
- Condemns all secessionist actions, including the purported exchange of Ambassadors between Turkey and the Turkish Cypriot leadership, declares them illegal and invalid and calls for their immediate withdrawal;
- Reiterates the call upon all States not to recognize the purported state of the “Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus “set up by secessionist acts and calls upon them not to facilitate or in any way assist the aforesaid secessionist entity”.
There are also many relevant references in General Assembly Resolutions which are worth recalling in this context.
GA Res37/253(1983),for example, “reaffirming the principle of the inadmissibility of occupation and acquisition of territories by force” “deploring the fact that part of the territory of the Republic of Cyprus is still occupied by foreign forces”.. “deploring all unilateral actions that change the demographic structure of Cyprus..”
- Affirms the right of the Republic of Cyprus and its people to full and effective sovereignty and control over the entire territory of Cyprus and its natural and other resources and calls upon all States to support and help the Government of the Republic of Cyprus to exercise these rights,
- Considers the withdrawal of all occupation forces from the Republic of Cyprus as an essential basis for a speedy and mutually acceptable solution to the Cyprus problem;
- Demands the immediate withdrawal of all occupation forces from the republic of Cyprus”.
These provisions, solidly based on the UN Charter and international law, are still valid and applicable despite the passage of time..They should be borne in mind by all mandated with seeking the solution to the Cyprus Question.
Reverting to the issue of circulation as official UN documents of letters emanating from entities or individuals who have been characterized in no unambiguous terms by Resolutions solemnly adopted by the highest political Organs of the United Nations, is there no other way of communicating their viewpoint to Member States other than by abusing the facilities of the UN Secretariat? Should the practice persist, should not such documents be at least accompanied by a footnote citing the relevant Security Council Resolutions (541 and 550)?
A Veteran Cypriot Diplomat