21 July 2013 17:57

UNITED NATIONS -- Negotiations at the UN Security Council for the renewal of the UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP’s) mandate for six more months run smoothly.

The negotiations began on Wednesday and by Thursday evening no second resolution draft was submitted. According to diplomatic sources, the Greek Cypriot side considers the draft resolution a positive one, but would like to see some minor improvements on the paragraph concerning the missing persons.

The resolution is expected to be adopted by the UN Security Council on the 30th of July.

According to the draft resolution, the Security Council 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 urges the sides to continue their discussions to reach decisive progress on the core issues.

It also recalls Security Council resolution 2026 (2011), and calls upon the two leaders to:

(a) Put their efforts behind further work on reaching convergences on the core issues; (b) Continue to work with the Technical Committees with the objective of improving the daily lives of the Cypriots; (c) 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 (d) Increase the participation of civil society in the process as appropriate.

The UN Security Council further urges the implementation of confidence-building measures, and looks forward to agreement on and implementation of further such steps, including military confidence building measures and the opening of other crossing points.

It also welcomes “the efforts of all parties in accommodating the Committee for Missing Persons exhumation requirements by providing access throughout the island, including in military areas in the north”.

In addition, it reaffirms all its relevant resolutions on Cyprus, in particular resolution 1251 (1999) of 29 June 1999 and subsequent resolutions.

The UN SC expresses its full support for UNFICYP and decides to extend its mandate for a further period ending 31 January 2014.

It also 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.

It 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.

The UN SC requests the Secretary-General to submit a report on implementation of this resolution, including on contingency planning in relation to the settlement, by 10 January 2014 and to keep the Security Council updated on events as necessary.

It welcomes the efforts being undertaken by UNFICYP to implement the Secretary-General’s zero tolerance policy on sexual exploitation and abuse and to ensure full compliance of its personnel with the United Nations code of conduct, requests the Secretary-General to continue to take all necessary action in this regard and to keep the Security Council informed, and urges troop-contributing countries to take appropriate preventive action including the conduct of pre-deployment awareness training, and to take disciplinary action and other action to ensure full accountability in cases of such conduct involving their personnel.

The Republic of Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and since then occupy 37% of Cyprus’ territory.

UNFICYP arrived in Cyprus in March 1964 after intercommunal fighting broke out. It comprises around 1,000 personnel from various troop contributing countries. Its mandate is renewed every six months by the Security Council.

UN backed talks were halted in July 2012 by the Turkish side when Cyprus assumed the EU Council Presidency. It is expected that talks will resume in the autumn.


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