16 June 2006
Security Council Extends Cyprus Mission until 15 December 2006, Unanimously Adopting Resolution 1687 (2006)
NEW YORK, 15 June (UN Headquarters) -- Urging both sides in Cyprus to move towards the resumption of negotiations for a comprehensive settlement, the Security Council today extended, through mid-December 2006, the mandate of the 40-year-old United Nations mission (UNFICYP) there, which monitors the ceasefire lines extending some 180 kilometres across the island.
By unanimously adopting a resolution extending the mandate of the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) through 15 December 2006, the Council followed the assessment of Secretary-General Kofi Annan that "only the achievement of a comprehensive settlement will bring an end to the Cyprus problem. In the absence of such a comprehensive settlement, the presence of UNFICYP on the island continues to be necessary."
In his latest report on Cyprus, Mr. Annan noted that, over the past six months, both the Greek Cypriot leader and the Turkish Cypriot leader had renewed their calls for a resumption of his mission of good offices. But, while there were signals of some willingness to begin to reengage, there had been "no tangible indicators of an evolution in the respective positions," he observed. He added that there was a need to match words with action.
The Council's text echoed that sentiment, regretting that the gap between words and deeds remained too great for the Secretary-General to resume his good offices mission and urging progress towards the resumption of negotiations for a comprehensive settlement.
In that context, the Council welcomed the efforts of the Secretary-General to encourage renewed bicommunal contacts, and, on the part of the United Nations, all efforts to promote bicommunal contacts and events. It also urged the two sides to promote further bicommunal contacts and to remove any obstacles to such contacts, and welcomed the agreement to a proposal to establish a mechanism for bicommunal discussions at the technical level, as well as the agreement of both leaders to meet on the occasion of the installation of the Third Member of the Committee on Missing Persons on Cyprus.
The Council also urged both sides to avoid any action that could lead to an increase in tension, noting with concern, sequential developments in the vicinity of Dherinia, the increase in unauthorized construction of building for personal and commercial use in the buffer zone, and developments at certain checkpoints in sector four, including new restrictions on UNFICYP's freedom of movement. It encouraged both sides to engage in consultations with UNFICYP on the demarcation of the buffer zone, and to respect the mission's mandate and operations in that zone.
While expressing concern at continued disagreement over construction activity relating to the proposed additional crossing point at Ledra Street, and urging both sides to cooperate with UNFICYP to resolve that issue, the Council also welcomed the fact that over 10 million crossings by Greek Cypriots to the north and Turkish Cypriots to the south had taken place peacefully, and encouraged the opening of additional crossing points.
After the vote, Ambassador Adamantios Vassilakis (Greece) said that his delegation had supported the text, because it considered the presence of the peacekeeping force indispensable and imperative, due to the continuing presence of approximately 40,000 Turkish troops on the island, and the threat to international peace and security they represented. There was no doubt that it was the Council's shared wish that the problem of Cyprus found a just and permanent solution, based on relevant Council resolutions.
Still, with the Secretary-General about to dispatch the Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs to the region, in an attempt to strengthen ongoing efforts on the ground and to assess the political situation, Greece regretted that the text just adopted did not convey a sufficiently clear and strong message, as to the basis, scope and objectives of the United Nations efforts for a fair and lasting settlement of the Cyprus problem. That was why his delegation had insisted on clarification where the resolution calls for "progress towards the resumption of negotiations for a comprehensive settlement". It should be reaffirmed that those negotiations had to take place between the two communities.
The meeting began at 3:22 p.m. and ended at 3:27 p.m.
The full text of resolution 1687 (2006) reads as follows:
"The Security Council,
"Welcoming the report of the Secretary-General of 23 May 2006 (S/2006/315) on the United Nations operation in Cyprus,
"Reiterating its call to the parties to assess and address the humanitarian issue of missing persons with due urgency and seriousness, and welcoming in this regard the resumption of the activities of the Committee on Missing Persons since August 2004, as well as the appointment by the Secretary-General of a Third Member who will assume his duties in July 2006,
"Noting that the Government of Cyprus is agreed that in view of the prevailing conditions in the island it is necessary to keep UNFICYP beyond 15 June 2006,
"Taking note of the assessment of the Secretary-General that the security situation on the island continues to be stable and that the situation along the Green Line remains calm, and expressing the hope that there will be a decrease in the overall number of incidents involving the two sides,
"Urging both sides to avoid any action which could lead to an increase in tension and, in this context, noting with concern sequential developments in the vicinity of Dherinia, the increase in unauthorized construction of building for personal and commercial use in the buffer zone, and developments at certain checkpoints in sector four, including new restrictions on UNFICYP's freedom of movement, and encouraging both sides to engage in consultations with UNFICYP on the demarcation of the buffer zone, and to respect UNFICYP's mandate and operations in the buffer zone,
"Regretting that the gap between words and deeds remains too great for the Secretary-General to resume fully his good offices mission and urging progress towards the resumption of negotiations for a comprehensive settlement. In this context welcoming the Secretary-General's efforts to encourage renewed bicommunal contacts, and the agreement to a proposal to establish a mechanism for bicommunal discussions at the technical level, as well as the agreement of both leaders to meet on the occasion of the installation of the Third Member of the Committee on Missing Persons on Cyprus,
"Welcoming progress in demining, particularly in the Nicosia area, and expressing strong support for UNFICYP's efforts to extend demining operations to Turkish Forces minefields in the rest of the buffer zone,
"Welcoming the fact that over 10 million crossings by Greek Cypriots to the north and Turkish Cypriots to the south have taken place peacefully, and encouraging the opening of additional crossing points,
"Expressing concern at continued disagreement over construction activity relating to the proposed additional crossing point at Ledra Street and urging both sides to cooperate with UNFICYP to resolve this issue,
"Welcoming the emphasis of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on greater cohesiveness in the efforts of the United Nations family in Cyprus, as well as the Secretary-General's intention to keep the operations of UNFICYP under close review while continuing to take into account developments on the ground and the views of the parties, and to revert to the Council with recommendations as appropriate for further adjustments to UNFICYP's mandate, force levels and concept of operation as soon as warranted,
"Welcoming all efforts to promote bicommunal contacts and events, including, inter alia, on the part of the United Nations, and urging the two sides to promote further bicommunal contacts and to remove any obstacles to such contacts,
"Echoing the Secretary-General's gratitude to the Government of Cyprus and the Government of Greece for their voluntary contributions to the funding of UNFICYP, and his request for further voluntary contributions from other countries and organizations,
"Welcoming and encouraging efforts by the United Nations to sensitize peacekeeping personnel in the prevention and control of HIV/AIDS and other communicable diseases in all its peacekeeping operations,
"1. Reaffirms all its relevant resolutions on Cyprus, in particular resolution 1251 (1999) of 29 June 1999 and subsequent resolutions;
"2. Expresses its full support for UNFICYP, including its mandate in the buffer zone, and decides to extend its mandate for a further period ending 15 December 2006;
"3. 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;
"4. Encourages active participation in bicommunal discussions at the technical level, under the leadership of the SRSG, and expresses its full support for the latter;
"5. Requests the Secretary-General to submit a report on implementation of this resolution by 1 December 2006;
"6. 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;
"7. Decides to remain seized of the matter.
When the Security Council met today, it had before it the report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations operation in Cyprus (document S/2006/315), which covers developments from 25 November 2005 to 17 May 2006, as well as the activities carried out by the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP).
Over the past six months, states the report, the ceasefire in Cyprus was maintained and the situation remained stable. On the whole, both sides extended good cooperation to UNFICYP, with some exceptions. Threats to United Nations peacekeepers by soldiers of opposing forces and disagreements with UNFICYP over the delineation of the buffer zone are indications that both sides are willing to take security risks to make gains on the ground or to score points against each other. Differing opinions on the regime in the buffer zone inevitably lead to encroachments and changes to the status quo.
It is clear that an early completion of the work of the Committee on Missing Persons in Cyprus and a solution to the issue of the missing persons would greatly contribute to reconciliation on the island. The appointment of the third member affords an opportunity to all concerned to redouble their efforts and put aside political considerations, in order to close this painful humanitarian chapter. The Secretary-General also appeals to the international community to lend its full support to the successful completion of the demining efforts in the Nicosia area, in the whole of the buffer zone and ultimately the whole of the island.
Over the past six months, the report states, UNFICYP has continued to build on the advantages of the force structure adopted early in 2005 and steadily improved coordination among its civilian, military and police components under the new concept of operations. The Secretary-General intends to continue to keep the operations of UNFICYP under review, with the aim of making recommendations for possible further adjustments at the appropriate time, taking into account conditions on the ground and progress at the political level.
He continues to believe that only the achievement of a comprehensive settlement will bring an end to the Cyprus problem. In the absence of such a comprehensive settlement, the presence of UNFICYP on the island continues to be necessary. Therefore, he recommends that the Council extend the mandate of the Force for a further period of six months, until 15 December 2006.
At this juncture, it is important for the parties to resume contacts and to begin to think about how to reengage in the search for a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem. The Secretary-General continues to believe that there is a need to match words with action. To that end, his Special Representative has engaged in a process aimed at encouraging renewed contacts. The Secretary-General intends to dispatch the Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs to Cyprus, Greece and Turkey in the near future to assess the political situation in and around Cyprus and the prospects for a full resumption of his good offices. His Special Representative, Michael Møller, will continue to function as a high-level point of contact on the ground for the two sides.
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