United Nations.- By Apostolos Zoupaniotis
The UN Security Council unanimously adopted Thursday resolution 2197 which renews the mandate of the UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) for six more months until the end of July 2015.
During the meeting three members took the floor, Russia, France and Spain.
The Russian Permanent Representative said that the country which presented the resolution (Britain) has not followed the necessary procedures in an appropriate manner and has not given enough time for negotiations, noting that the majority of the countries in the SC wanted more points to be included in the resolution but no time was given for that.
The Russian Federation, he said, supports the extension of the mandate of the UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus, noting that it has played an important role in maintaining peace and stability on the island.
“This is why we voted in favor of the just adopted resolution”, he said, but pointed out that the document “has a number of flaws linked first and foremost to the lack of readiness of the authors of the draft to heating a majority of the Council with regard to the problem of renewing intercommunity negotiations”.
“We have a number of serious issues with the way the work of the penholders was organized, including the delayed consultations on the polemical text and the problems that were created. This is why the resolution has lost, because of that”, he concluded.
Taking the floor, the French Permanent Representative referred to the humanitarian issue of the missing persons the majority of who went missing after the Turkish invasion against Cyprus in 1974 and expressed his deep sorrow for the situation.
He said that fifty years after their disappearance half of those who disappeared haven’t been found and more than 70% of those found have to be identified. The French Ambassador said that given these figures and the advanced age of the relatives of these individuals, France is very committed to see the work of the Committee accelerated also by allowing access to all the areas concerned.
He also stressed the importance for the creation of a climate that would allow the resumption of the Cyprus negotiations.
The French PR added that after the start of a positive dynamic with a signature in 11th of February 2014 of a joint declaration by the leaders of both communities, it is regrettable that the intercommunity negotiations have been suspended, adding that it is important for these negotiations to be renewed to achieve a Cyprus settlement.
The Spanish Permanent Representative expressed his overall support towards the UN Secretary General`s Good Offices in Cyprus and UNFICYP.
He added that Spain will always support every initiative towards the solution of the Cyprus problem. The problem, he pointed out has lasted too long and is affecting an island, member of the EU.
Spain, he said, trusts the negotiations will resume as soon as possible in order to find a solution to this problem.
Diplomatic sources have expressed their satisfaction with the interventions of the three countries.
In its resolution, the UNSC calls for the resumption of structured negotiations without delay, in a results oriented manner as agreed to in the Joint Declaration adopted by the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot leaders on 11 February 2014, and stresses the need for renewed efforts of the leaders and negotiators to reach a comprehensive settlement as soon as possible.
Furthermore, it acknowledges the progress made so far in the fully fledged negotiations, but notes that this has not been sufficient and has not yet resulted in a comprehensive and durable settlement, and calls for an urgent resumption of structured negotiations to reach decisive progress on the core issues.
The UNSC recalls its resolution 2026 (2011), and calls upon the two leaders to put their efforts behind further work on reaching convergences on the core issues, to continue to work with the Technical Committees with the objective of improving the daily lives of the Cypriots, to improve the public atmosphere for the negotiations, including by focusing public messages on convergences and the way ahead, and delivering more constructive and harmonised messages and to increase the participation of civil society in the process as appropriate.
It expresses its support for the ongoing efforts of the Secretary General’s Special Advisor Espen Barth Eide and notes the importance of a conducive environment.
It also commends the work of the Committee on Missing Persons, highlighting the importance of intensifying its activities, noting that half of all missing persons have yet to be located and more than 70% have yet to be identified. To this end, it urges the opening up of access to all areas expeditiously to allow the Committee to carry out its work, and trusting that this process will promote reconciliation between the communities.
It welcomes all efforts to accommodate the Committee on Missing Persons exhumation requirements and calls upon all parties to provide more expeditious, full access to all areas, given the need to intensify the Committee’s work;
The UNSC takes note of the assessment of the Secretary-General that the security situation on the island and along the Green Line remains stable, and urges all sides to avoid any action, including violations of the military status quo, which could lead to an increase in tension, undermine the progress achieved so far, or damage the goodwill on the island.
Moreover, it urges the implementation of confidence-building measures, and looks forward to agreement on and implementation of further such mutually-acceptable steps, including military confidence building measures and the opening of other crossing points, that can contribute to a conducive environment for a settlement.
Reaffirming all its relevant resolutions on Cyprus, in particular resolution 1251 (1999) of 29 June 1999 and subsequent resolutions, it expresses its full support for UNFICYP and decides to extend its mandate for a further period ending 31 July 2015.
It calls on both sides to continue to engage, as a matter of urgency and while respecting UNFICYP’s mandate, in consultations with UNFICYP on the demarcation of the buffer zone, and on the United Nations 1989 aide-memoire, with a view to reaching early agreement on outstanding issues.
The UNSC 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 and calls on both sides to allow access to deminers and to facilitate the removal of the remaining mines in Cyprus within the buffer zone, and urges both sides to extend demining operations outside the buffer zone.
Nicosia has described as satisfactory, under the circumstances, the resolution adopted unanimously on Thursday by the UN Security Council which renews the mandate of the UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) for six more months, until the end of July 2015.
In statements to the press, Government Spokesman Nikos Christodoulides noted that “the vast majority of Security Council members supported Nicosia`s positions and shares the same views as regards the way to approach the whole issue.”
Invited to comment on the adoption of the resolution 2197, Christodoulides said that “under the circumstances – the negative report of the (UN) Secretary General, which did not reflect reality, Turkey`s pursuit to include references to the so-called Turkish Cypriots` isolation, minimal references to the issue of missing persons and include references to the natural resources of Cyprus – we consider the resolution satisfactory”.
The spokesman noted, however, that if the situation were not like that and the Secretary General`s report were not negative, the resolution would not have been satisfactory.