Americans at the UN insisted on a stricter wording in resolution for UNFICYP’s renewal

Americans were trying until the last moment to persuade other members of the UN Security Council to support some of their views regarding the contents of the Council for the renewal of UNFICYP’s mandate.

All members of the UN Security Council gave last night their consent to a draft resolution they had agreed on Tuesday and the Council is expected to hold later today a formal meeting, to vote on a resolution renewing for another six months the mandate of the UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP).

Already, since Tuesday evening when members’ deliberations were completed, the British began a silence procedure which is followed prior to the resolution being submitted for voting.

The Americans asked and received sufficient extensions of the silence procedure but the procedure was not violated by any member. They finally gave their consent for the procedure to continue.

The deliberations of the 15 members of the Security Council took place on Monday and Tuesday on the document that was given to members by the British last Friday.

Security Council sources said the document was originally negotiated between the British and the Americans, then the French joined the discussions and at the last stage the remaining members of the Council.

The SC negotiations were scheduled for Monday evening Cyprus time, when the UNSG’s envoy Jane Hall Lute’s contacts in Cyprus were completed.

Based on diplomatic sources at the SC, the Americans had made it clear that they were trying to incorporate in the document many of the elements of the five principles that they have set concerning peacekeeping operations.

When the document was delivered on Friday and contained many of these elements, the US delegation insisted that it included a paragraph urging the SG to proceed with an overall evaluation of UNFICYP’s presence, despite the fact the strategic evaluation of the force that was completed last November with the SG, as he said in his latest report, contained suggestions that 94% of them were implemented while the remaining were pending until the approval of the budget of the UN General Assembly. The Americans were also looking for wording that would associate certain benchmarks with the force’s evaluation, including deadlines and an exit strategy.

The last point was not supported at the SC since members argued that Lute’s mission to the region should not be undermined.

After a lot of pressure from the American delegation, the report contained elements that underlined the lack of progress and emphasised the need to accept the memorandum prepared by UNFICYP on the demarcation of the buffer zone and the involvement of the forces, by updating the aide memoir of 1989.

They also added further references for Confidence Building Measures, bicommunal initiatives and contacts. Poland also promoted a suggestion that the Technical Committee on Education should encourage the youth’s participation.

It also included an amendment in the paragraph which called for the UNSG to submit reports on his good offices mission and Lute’s contacts, by 15th October and for UNFICYP by 10th January. In the UNFICYP report, a reference for progress regarding CBMs was also added.

The Republic of Cyprus remains divided since the 1974 Turkish invasion of the island. Numerous UN-backed talks, aiming at reunifying the island under a federal roof, have failed to yield any results. The latest round of peace talks took place last July at the Swiss resort of Crans Montana but ended inconclusively.

Source: Cyprus News Agency