18 member states mentioned Cyprus at the Security Council’s debate on conflicts in Europe
United Nations.- By Apostolos Zoupaniotis
Never Take Peace in Europe for Granted, was the message sent by speakers from over UN 44 member states and representatives of the EU, at the Security Council’s debate on conflicts in Europe, that took place on Tuesday. Most speakers focused on Ukraine, Cyprus and Disputed Territories in Nagorno-Karabakh, Transnistria and Georgia, while UNSG Antonio Guterres began his remarks with Cyprus.Participating foreign ministers, senior officials and other representatives of Member States paid tribute to Vitaly Churkin, Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation, who died on 20 February, and expressed their condolences to his family and the Government of Russian Federation.
Antonio Guterres said that such conflicts are not only a tragedy for those directly involved, but they are also reversing development gains and preventing communities and societies from achieving their potential and contributing to regional and global prosperity.
” We are leading some of [the] peace efforts in Europe including negotiations to reach a comprehensive and durable settlement to the long-standing Cyprus question. The UN and I, personally, are at the disposal of the two Cypriot communities and of the guarantor powers to support the search of a solution that is acceptable to all”, the Secretary General said.
The SG also mentioned that UN is facilitating discussions “on the so-called “name issue” between the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Greece.”
Helga Schmid, Secretary General of the European External Action Service said that we are finally witnessing history in the making in Cyprus, with the UN-facilitated talks between the two Cypriot Leaders reaching their end game. Never has a settlement been so close.
“The EU has a special role to play because a future united Cyprus will be a member of the European Union. We are represented at the highest level in the Conference on Cyprus in Geneva, with both President Juncker and High Representative Mogherini personally engaged and committed”.
In total, eighteen members states and one observer states mentioned Cyprus in their remarks.
The U.S. Permanent Representative Ambassador Nikki Haley said that the leaders in Cyprus are working to end the longstanding division of the island to achieve a settlement, which the United States strongly supports.
Deputy Permanent Representative of Russian Federation Ambassador Pietr Ilichev said that Russia’s position on Cyprus has not changed.
“We would like to see an achievement of an equitable and comprehensive as well as viable situation on the island. In the interest of all of its people, we would support Cypriot-led solutions and the inclusion of Security Council members in the discussions of the political solution”.
Ambassador Ilichev also stressed that “on the matter of security guarantees, Russia thinks that the best would be guarantees from the Security Council rather than from separate countries.”
French Permanent Representative Francois Delattre described Cyprus issue as
an irritant, as this is a country in the centre of the European Union.
“In spite of recent stumbling, significant progress has been made over the past months in negotiations. This is the furthest the parties have ever gone.”
Ambassador Delattre added that much remains to be done to find a lasting solution, with “parameters that have to be in line with the Security Council resolutions, the principles of the UN Charter, as well as the EU principles.”
He said it is urgent now to resume negotiations, by continuing with the positive trend seen over the past months and making headway on important issues including security.
Sweden’s Deputy Foreign Minister Anika Sodor stressed the need “to commit to efforts to move the promising Cyprus peace process forward”.
Deputy Foreign Minister of Kazakhstan Roman Vassilenko has fully welcomed the ongoing dialogue in Cyprus, which sends a strong message and much hope that the parties will come to a possible agreement to reunite the country.
“We believe the role of the United Nations Secretary General and the unity shown by the members of the Security Council at the delicate stage of these negotiations, are of crucial importance to reaching the eventual solution of the Cyprus issue.”
Permanent Representative of Uruguay Ambassador Elbio Rosselli emphasized the importance of the negotiations conducted by the Cypriot leaders under the hospices of the special advisor Espen Barth Eide and highlighted “the firm commitment that we have seen until now”. Ambassador Rosselli expressed hope that this will continue, “making it possible to overcome the recent setback in negotiations.”
“The Cypriot process – like the Columbian process – is an example where the parties have assumed the leadership of the peace process and displaying the values that are in the United Nations Charter”, he concluded.
Italy’s Permanent Representative Sebastiano Cardi said a settlement for reunited Cyprus is closer than ever.
“We strongly support the continuation of the talks between the two (leaders), the two communities’ ownership of the negotiations and the mediation role played by the UN and the EU. No prosperity and no achievement are born out of division and the people of Cyprus deserve a workable agreement and to prosper in a common endeavor.”
Egyptian Permanent Representative Amr Abdellatif Aboulatta called for the need to have a durable solution of the Cyprus problem question in line with the UN Charter as well as the relevant Security Council resolutions. The Representative of Egypt characterized the present security arrangements as “obsolete” and “not reflecting the current political realities”, saying “it’s vital to overcome them.”
Switzerland’s Deputy Permanent Representative Olivier Marc Zehnder said his country is encouraged by the intensification of the dialogue between parties in Cyprus and thanked the UN for its commitment to contribute to a settlement of this question.
“Switzerland has hosted several rounds of talks so far in Mont Pelerin, in Geneva. We are available to continue to provide our support in this process.”
Brazil’s representative Mauro Vieira welcomed the renewed efforts undertaken by both parties to intensify diplomatic negotiations in pursue of a lasting solution in Cyprus.
“We welcome the holding of the Geneva conference in January with the participation of the Secretary General, as well as the meeting of Mr Nicos Anastasiades and Mr Mustafa Akinci with Special Advisor Espen Barth Eide. It is our hope that this constructive spirit will pave the way to sustained peace after decades of impasse. At this advanced and promising stage of the political dialogue, both sides should display flexibility and refrain from actions that could become hurdles in the overall process.”
Permanent Observer of the Holy See Bernardito Cleopas Auza said the Vatican has been and remains deeply concerned, that after the tragedies of two world wars and a positive experience of European integration and security cooperation, Europe continues to be a theatre of conflicts, causing great distress to entire populations, like those in Cyprus, in the Balkans or in the Caucasus.
Norway’s Permanent Representative Geir O. Pedersen reminded that the UN was directly engaged from Cyprus since the start of the conflict.
“The Secretary General’s good offices and patient support have now produced real prospects for genuine progress. We commend the Secretary General for his focus on diplomacy for peace.”
The Permanent Representative of Venezuela Rafael Darío Ramírez Carreño said Cyprus is one of the longest standing conflicts in the history of the United Nations. He recognized the progress made between the parties through dialogue and negotiation, in order to succeed reunification.
“We encourage the representatives of the Greek-Cypriot and Turkish- Cypriot communities to keep a spirit of political will and to make progress on the commitment to put an end to this dispute to an agreement which will be of mutual benefit to both parties.”
Slovenia’s Deputy Permanent Representative Ondina Blokar-Drobic said the constructive commitment and dialogue are always the best path to follow, as we have seen in the progress regarding the Cyprus issue…
Permanent Representative of Canada Marc-André Blanchard said “recent efforts towards a reunified Cyprus offer another important example of successes of the UN in Europe.
“Its communities have been divided for too long. The peace talks have every support from the international community. Durable and lasting peace can be achieved. Canada welcomes the active engagement of Secretary General Guterres in the process as well as the diligent work of the United Nations on the ground.”
The Netherlands Permanent Representative, Karel J. G. van Oosterom underscored the constructive role that UN mandated missions have played in Cyprus and Kosovo.
“The UN does not need to carry the burden of resolving each and every one issue alone. Regional organizations such as the EU, NATO and OECD and the Council of Europe, all play essential roles in stabilizing conflicts in southern Europe and in brokering political solutions.”
The representative of Bulgaria Georgi Panayotov said that even though we are all aware that there is no one size fits all solution in addressing the conflicts in Europe, it is evident that the unity of efforts within the Security Council, complemented by the engagement of the SG and the support from the relevant regional organizations, represent a potent force.
“Such a promising alignment could be illustrated with a reference to the current phase of peace process in Cyprus, where the Security Council unites behind the renewal of the mandate of the peacekeeping force, the SG provides his good offices and the EU is constructively supporting the efforts to reach a solution based on the relevant Council resolutions.”
The representative of Cyprus, Michalis Mavros, reiterated Cyprus’ profound appreciation to the Security Council and the Secretary General for the continuous efforts towards the peaceful and lasting solution of the Cyprus Question, in line with international law, the relevant Security Council resolutions and the acquis communautaire.
“The ongoing negotiating process has reached a critical juncture, Mavros said. The convening of a Conference on Cyprus, under the auspices of the UN Secretary General, to address the international aspects of the problem, namely, security which comprises the most fundamental elements of an eventual settlement specifically the withdrawal of foreign troops and the abolition of the anachronistic system of guarantees, is a watershed in the whole process.”
The Cypriot representative expressed hope that all parties involved will demonstrate the requisite degree of commitment and political will so that the effort will yield results.
“We are most grateful for the Secretary General’s personal involvement and for the Security Council’s strong signal of unity and support to the effort. Since the issues at hand fall within the remit of the Security Council, as the body with primary responsibility for the preservation of international peace and security, we consider it important to stress that this body has an inherently particular role to exercise in this regard.”
Michalis Mavros said that the successful outcome of the ongoing negotiation process in Cyprus has the potential to establish Cyprus as an international paradigm of peaceful co-existence and prosperous collaboration between its citizens, irrespective of their ethnic, cultural and religious backgrounds.
“Such a development not only will transform Cyprus into a model-country of stability and predictability for the region, but will also bear out the catalytic role of the Security Council in promoting international peace and stability.”, he concluded.
Güven Begeç, Deputy Permanent Representative of Turkey said each conflict has its unique characteristic like through opinions and analogies that are often misleading but never helpful, nevertheless divert also ample words of encouragement and support by delegations to the settlement process of the Cyprus issue.
“We are more than pleased to take note of them. Needless to say, as motherland and guarantor, Turkey is fully committed to the efforts for a just, lasting and comprehensive settlement to the Cyprus issue, which should bring a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation based on the political equality of two sides. We hope that the current last chance for the establishment of a new partnership state on the island should see that the Cyprus issue comes to a conclusion without further delay. We also believe that a settlement in Cyprus would also contribute to the peace, stability and cooperation in the Eastern Mediterranean and the wider region.”