UN Security Council members hold diverse views during consultations on Cyprus

The UN Secretary General’s Special Adviser on Cyprus, Espen Barth Eide, briefed the UN Security Council on Wednesday, in a meeting that lasted over two hours, with members’ views being diverse, despite the statement of the Chinese President of the Council with which they expressed a common stance.

Apparently, according to well informed sources, Britain has suggested the adoption of the press points read out by the Chinese President, so that the Security Council appeared in unity.

The British Ambassador pointed out that there should be a break for recollection, so that the situation would not worsen, and set out four priorities, namely the narrowing of the blame game margin for the two sides, a cooling-off period, the continuation of talks within the parameters suggested by the UN Secretary General and in line with UN resolutions, and the reaffirmation of the UN chief’s readiness to continue his good offices mission and be at the disposal of all sides. He also called for the continuation of UNFICYP’s mandate with its current powers.

The US representative stressed the need for a process which would reunify Cyprus and supported that it should be Cyprus-owned with an aim to set up a bizonal federation. He also agreed on the position to narrow down the blame game. He said, the same sources have indicated, that UNFICYP had not been restructured for many years and that the absence of a political agreement should modify the UN’s engagement.

The French representative said it was necessary for everyone to learn from failure and agreed that apportioning blame should be avoided and that a period of recollection was needed. He also said the good offices mission was imperative and called on the Security Council to stay united.

The Russian representative referred to problems in organising the process, noting that a specific timeframe within which to reach a final agreement should not be expected. He said the two sides should feel safe and that is why all troops should be withdrawn and a new security and guarantee system be agreed on under the auspices of the Security Council. He also noted that everyone should learn a lesson from the latest conference on Cyprus, which ended inconclusively.

The Egyptian representative blamed Turkey for the failure of the talks, saying that it did not show the necessary dedication and good faith. He said the chapter of security and guarantees was central to the solution of the Cyprus issue and called for the termination of the outdated system of guarantees and intervention rights, the withdrawal of all troops, and the respect of the sovereignty, territorial integrity, and political independence of Cyprus. He also said the talks should be under UN auspices and that there was no alternative.

The representatives of Sweden and Italy, according to the same sources, pointed out the important role the EU has to play in the process, noting however that it was the UN that could solve the problem, not the EU. The Swedish Ambassador said the guarantees were central to a solution, while Italy called for the continuation of the work of the technical committees.

Japan said the whole approach should be revised, adding that UNFICYP’s mandate should reflect the situation on the ground. He also supported a period of calmness and recollection.

Both Kazakhstan and Senegal, and generally all other countries, said the issue of security and guarantees held a central position in the issue.

Ukraine supported the renewal of UNFICYP’s mandate and the good offices mission, and underline the necessity for the two sides to continue the dialogue.

In his briefing, Eide referred to the developments of the past six months, with emphasis on the latest developments in Crans Montana, Switzerland. He said the process at Crans Montana, despite the initial good will, turned into the chicken-or-egg question, and neither side would reveal its cards.

Eide said the personal involvement of UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres changed the climate, but in the last hours, despite the fact that the sides had come closer than ever to an agreement, it was not possible to reach the desired outcome. Instead, a general agreement for the adoption of a new system of guarantees was agreed, as proposed by Guterres. He said the issue of security and guarantees was very difficult, as it was linked to past trauma.

He said the greatest progress was made on the chapter of economy, due to the support extended by the EU and the World Bank.

In his remarks, Eide said the solution should be compatible with international law. He also made clear that for the UN there was no plan other than the good offices mission.

The UN Secretary General’s Special Representative in Cyprus, Elizabeth Spehar, suggested that the UNFICYP mandate be renewed for a further six months. She presented a summary of the UN chief’s report on UNFICYP and said it was time for the two sides to become involved in the delimitation of the buffer zone. Spehar also supported the need for confidence building measures, including military ones.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. UN-led talks between the two sides in Cyprus aim at reunifying the island under a federal roof.

Source: Cyprus News Agency