Security Council agrees on UNFICYP draft resolution blue print

The Security Council reached on Wednesday an agreement on the blue print of the draft resolution, extending the mandate of UNFICYP, which will be put to a vote during an open session on Thursday morning, at 10am local time.

The draft resolution notes that the Security Council expresses its full support for UNFICYP, and decides to extend its mandate for a further period ending on 31 July 2020. At the same time, it reaffirms all its relevant resolutions on Cyprus, in particular resolution 1251 (1999).

In relation to the Cyprus issue, the Security Council welcomes the trilateral meeting of the leaders and the Secretary-General on 25 November 2019 in Berlin, at which both sides reaffirmed their commitment to a bicommunal, bizonal federation with political equality, as set out in relevant Security Council resolutions, including paragraph 4 of its resolution 716 (1991), the Joint Declaration of 11 February 2014, the prior convergences, and the six point framework presented by the Secretary-General on 30 June 2017 at the Conference of Cyprus.

Further, it welcomes the Secretary-General’s agreement to extend his efforts to achieve terms of reference to serve as a consensus starting point for phased, meaningful, and results-oriented negotiations at the earliest feasible opportunity, and urges the sides and all involved participants to renew their political will and commitment to a settlement under United Nations auspices, including by engaging actively and with a sense of urgency with the Secretary-General and senior United Nations official, Jane Holl Lute.

The draft resolution also recalls resolution 2483 (2019), and calls upon the two leaders to put their efforts expeditiously behind further work on reaching convergences on the core issues, reaffirm their political support for all Technical Committees, empower them to submit proposals for their consideration to enhance intercommunal contacts and improve the daily lives of all Cypriots, and consider the advice of the Good Offices Mission of the Secretary-General regarding further ways to empower the Technical Committees and improve their performance, ensure effective coordination and cooperation on criminal matters.

There are also references with respect to promoting peace education across the island, including by further empowering the Technical Committee on Education to implement the recommendations contained in its joint report of 2017, in particular those concerning policy making, and to address impediments to peace in school materials, including text books, as a contribution to trust-building between the communities.

The leaders are also called to improve the public atmosphere for negotiation to secure a settlement, including by preparing the communities for a settlement through public messages on convergences and the way ahead, and delivering more constructive and harmonised messages, and by refraining from actions or rhetoric that detracts from a successful process or could make it more difficult to achieve recalling the Secretary-General’s statement of 25 November 2019 in this regard.

Moreover, they are called to increase their support to, and ensure a meaningful role for, civil society engagement in peace efforts, in particular strengthening the participation of women’s organisations and youth in the process, including by empowering the Technical Committee on Gender Equality to meet and develop an action plan supporting women’s full, equal and meaningful participation in peace talks and providing direct support and encouragement to civil society organisations to enhance inter-communal contact and trust-building.

The Security Council calls for a reduction of tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean, and calls upon the leaders of the two Cypriot communities and all involved parties to refrain from any actions and rhetoric that might damage the chances of success.

It also calls for the establishment of an effective mechanism for direct military contacts between the sides and the relevant involved parties, and urges UNFICYP, as facilitator through its liaison role, to submit proposals in this regard.

The draft resolution calls upon the sides to reduce existing barriers to intercommunal contact, and emphasizes the importance of effective communication for risk-mitigation and trust-building between the communities.

Moreover, it expresses serious concern at the increased number of violations of the military status quo along the ceasefire lines, calls once more on the sides and all involved parties to respect UNFICYP’s mandated authority in, and delineation of, the buffer zone, urges the use of the 2018 United Nations aide-memoire by the sides to ensure peace and security in the buffer zone, and calls on the two sides to prevent unauthorised activities between the ceasefire lines.

The Security Council draft resolution 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, recalls the status of Varosha as set out in relevant resolutions, and reaffirms that UNFICYP’s freedom of movement should be respected.

A large part of the debate focused on one of the last paragraphs of the draft resolution, which called on the Secretary-General to submit a single report covering both his Good Offices and UNFICYP matters, while asking Cyprus’ leaders to provide updates to be included in the report. After political and diplomatic interventions involving Nicosia, the five capitals of the Security Council permanent members New York, and friends of Cyprus, the paragraph was formulated as follows:

The Security Council requests the Secretary-General to submit by 10 July 2020 a report on his Good Offices, in particular on progress towards reaching a consensus starting-point for meaningful results-oriented negotiations leading to a settlement, encourages the leaders of the two communities to provide written updates to the Good Offices Mission of the Secretary-General on the actions they have taken in support of the relevant parts of this resolution since its adoption, in particular with regard to paragraphs 4 and 5, with a view to reaching a sustainable and comprehensive settlement, and further requests the Secretary-General to include the contents of these updates in his Good Offices report. It further requests the Secretary-General to submit by 10 July 2020 a report on implementation of this resolution, and to keep the Security Council updated on events as necessary.

Cyprus remains divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37% of its territory. Repeated rounds of UN-led peace talks for a Cyprus settlement have so far failed to yield results. The latest round of negotiations, in July 2017 at the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana ended inconclusively.

Source: Cyprus News Agency