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UNFICYP was set up in 1964 to prevent further fighting between the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities. After the hostilities of 1974, The Mission's responsibilities were expanded. UNFICYP remains on the island to supervise ceasefire lines, maintain a buffer zone and undertake humanitarian activities.

UNFICYP was established through Security Council resolution 186 (1964) of 4 March 1964, with the mandate to prevent a recurrence of fighting between the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities and to contribute to the maintenance and restoration of law and order and a return to normal conditions.

UNFICYP became operational on 27 March 1964. Following the hostilities of 1974, the Security Council adopted a number of resolutions expanding the mandate of UNFICYP to include supervising a de facto ceasefire, which came into effect on 16 August 1974, and maintaining a buffer zone between the lines of the Cyprus National Guard and of the Turkish and Turkish Cypriot forces. In the absence of a political settlement to the Cyprus problem, UNFICYP continues its presence on the island.

The Security Council most recently extended the mandate of the Force until 15 December 2006 by its resolution 1687 adopted on 15 June 2006.

The Republic of Cyprus became an independent state on 16 August 1960, and a member of the United Nations one month later. The Constitution of the Republic, which came into effect on the day of independence, was intended to balance the interests of both the Greek Cypriot and the Turkish Cypriot communities. Cyprus, Greece, Turkey and the United Kingdom entered into a treaty to guarantee the basic provisions of the Constitution and the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Cyprus.

The application of the provisions of the Constitution, however, encountered difficulties from the very beginning and led to a succession of constitutional crises. The accumulated tension between the two communities resulted in the outbreak of violence on the island on 21 December 1963. On 27 December, the Security Council met to consider a complaint by Cyprus charging intervention in its internal affairs and aggression by Turkey. Turkey maintained that Greek Cypriot leaders had tried for more than two years to nullify the rights of the Turkish Cypriot community and denied all charges of aggression.

Establishment of UNFICYP

On 15 February 1964, after all attempts to restore peace on the island had failed, the representatives of the United Kingdom and of Cyprus requested urgent action by the Security Council. On 4 March 1964, the Council unanimously adopted resolution 186 (1964), by which it recommended the establishment of the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP). The Force became operationally established on 27 March 1964.

The mandate of UNFICYP was originally defined in the following terms: "…in the interest of preserving international peace and security, to use its best efforts to prevent a recurrence of fighting and, as necessary, to contribute to the maintenance and restoration of law and order and a return to normal conditions." That mandate, which was conceived in the context of the confrontation between the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities in 1964, has been periodically extended by the Security Council.

A coup d'état in Cyprus on 15 July 1974 by Greek Cypriot and Greek elements favouring union with Greece was followed by military intervention by Turkey, whose troops established Turkish Cypriot control over the northern part of the island. The Security Council called for a ceasefire and laid the basis for negotiations between Greece, Turkey and the United Kingdom. A de facto ceasefire came into effect on 16 August 1974.

Maintenance of Ceasefire and Military Status Quo

Following the hostilities of July and August 1974, the Security Council adopted a number of resolutions which have affected the functioning of UNFICYP and have required the Force to perform certain additional functions relating, in particular, to the maintenance of the ceasefire. Following the de facto ceasefire, UNFICYP inspected the deployment of the Cyprus National Guard and the Turkish and Turkish Cypriot forces, and ceasefire lines and a buffer zone were established between the areas controlled by the opposing forces.

The ceasefire lines extend approximately 180 kilometres across the island. The buffer zone between the lines varies in width from less than 20 metres to some 7 kilometres, and it covers about 3 per cent of the island, including some of the most valuable agricultural land. Strict adherence to the military status quo in the buffer zone, as recorded by UNFICYP at the time, has become a vital element in preventing a recurrence of fighting. UNFICYP maintains surveillance through a system of observation posts, and through air, vehicle and foot patrols.

The task of UNFICYP is significantly complicated by the absence of a formal ceasefire agreement. As a result, UNFICYP is confronted with hundreds of incidents each year. The most serious incidents tend to occur in areas where the ceasefire lines are in close proximity, particularly in Nicosia and its suburbs. The Force investigates and acts upon all violations of the ceasefire and the military status quo. Its reaction in each case depends on the nature of the incident and may include the deployment of troops, verbal and written protests and follow-up action to ensure that the violation has been rectified or will not recur. In addition to maintaining the military status quo, UNFICYP must also preserve the integrity of the buffer zone from unauthorized entry or activities by civilians. As a result, UNFICYP has from time to time become involved in crowd control.

In April 2002, UNFICYP destroyed some 4,500 assorted weapons purchased by the Government of Cyprus in 1972 and later placed under lock and key in the United Nations Protected Area under UNFICYP guard. The decommissioning ended on 21 May.

UN police

United Nations police maintain close cooperation and liaison with the Cyprus police and the Turkish Cypriot police on matters having intercommunal aspects. Together with the line units they contribute to law and order in the buffer zone and assist in investigations and in the Force's humanitarian activities. (See also below.)

Humanitarian Activities

Another major function entrusted to UNFICYP is to encourage the fullest possible resumption of normal civilian activity in the buffer zone. To this end, it facilitates the resumption of farming in the buffer zone; assists both communities on matters related to the supply of electricity and water across the lines; facilitates normal contacts between Greek and Turkish Cypriots; provides emergency medical services; and delivers mail and Red Cross messages across the lines.

UNFICYP also discharges certain humanitarian functions for the Greek Cypriots and a small Maronite community living in the northern part of the island. It also periodically visits Turkish Cypriots living in the southern part of the island and helps them maintain contact with their relatives in the north.

The Force cooperates with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in providing humanitarian assistance to needy displaced persons in Cyprus, and with the United Nations Development Programme, in particular in facilitating projects involving both communities.

UNFICYP Mandate

In the absence of a political settlement to the Cyprus problem, the mandate of UNFICYP has been periodically extended. At the end of every six-month mandate period, the Secretary-General has reported to the Security Council, that in the light of the situation on the ground and of political developments, the continued presence of the Force remains indispensable, both in helping to maintain calm on the island and in creating the best conditions for his good offices efforts. For its part, the Council has regularly extended the mandate of the Force for six-month periods.
 

UN police Component Strengthened

Reporting to the Security Council on 27 May 2003, the Secretary-General recommended an augmentation of the UNFICYP UN police component (UNCIVPOL) by up to 34 officers. The augmentation of UNCIVPOL was necessary, according to the Secretary-General, because as of 23 April 2003 several crossing points were opened by the Turkish Cypriot authorities for visits in both directions, resulting in an average number of crossings per day of approximately 13,000 people. Ensuring safe and orderly passage within the buffer zone was essentially the task of UNCIVPOL. In addition to the considerably increased functions of the UN police and the military in the buffer zone, there had also been a significant increase in the number of incidents requiring UNFICYP's involvement outside the buffer zone since the crossings had began. Opening of additional crossing points would create new demands on UNFICYP, for which it did not have sufficient resources.

The report noted that on 30 April a set of governmental measures was announced, including free movement of Turkish Cypriots and their goods and vehicles throughout the island; employment opportunities for Turkish Cypriots in the south; issuance of identity cards, travel documents, birth certificates and other official documents; and establishment of an office for Turkish Cypriot affairs.

On 9 May, a set of Turkish Cypriot measures was also announced, including offering scholarships for Greek Cypriot students to study at the tertiary educational institutions in the north and a proposal for improved telephone communications facilities and normalization of trade with the south.

The Secretary-General stated that those developments were not a substitute for a comprehensive settlement. It seemed highly unlikely to him that such a settlement could be achieved without the genuine political commitment to the proposal he had put forward and a firm timetable to finalize negotiations, as outlined in his most recent report on his mission of good offices (see below).

By its resolution 1486 , the Security Council endorsed the increase of UNFICYP's police component by no more than 34 officers, in order to meet the increased workload resulting from the welcome partial easing of restrictions on island-wide freedom of movement. The Council noted the limited steps taken by the Turkish Cypriot side to ease some of the restrictions imposed on 30 June 2000 on the operation of the Force, but urged the Turkish Cypriot side and the Turkish forces to rescind all remaining restrictions.

At the same time, the Council expressed concern at the violations by the Turkish Cypriot side and Turkish forces at Strovilia, a small hamlet inhabited by Greek Cypriots, and urged them to restore the military status quo that existed there prior to 30 June 2000.

Secretary-General's Mission of Good Offices

Since the events of 1974, the situation in Cyprus has remained calm, although tension has arisen periodically. Both sides have generally respected the ceasefire and the military status quo. But, as the Secretary-General has repeatedly stated, the continuing quiet should not obscure the fact that there is only a cease fire in Cyprus, not peace. The Security Council has declared on numerous occasions that the status quo is not an acceptable option. In the absence of progress towards a settlement between the two sides, the overall situation remains subject to sudden tensions, generated by events outside as well as within Cyprus.

After the events of 1974, the Security Council requested the Secretary-General to undertake a new mission of good offices with the representatives of the two communities. Since then, the successive Secretaries-General and their Special Representatives have tried to find a formula acceptable to both the Greek Cypriots and the Turkish Cypriots.

An intensive effort was undertaken between 1999 and early 2003. This initiative was undertaken in the context of a unique opportunity which, had it been seized, would have allowed a reunited Cyprus to sign the Treaty of Accession to the European Union on 16 April 2003.

Under the auspices of the Secretary-General, proximity talks were held between December 1999 and November 2000, and direct talks between January 2002 and February 2003. During the process the parties were not able to reach agreement without third party assistance. Accordingly, the Secretary-General submitted a comprehensive settlement proposal on 11 November 2002, a first revision on 10 December 2002, and a second revision on 26 February 2003. The plan, entitled "Basis for a Comprehensive Settlement of the Cyprus Problem", required a referendum in advance of 16 April 2003 to approve it and re-unify Cyprus.

The Secretary-General met the two leaders and representatives of the guarantor powers in The Hague on 10-11 March 2003, where it became clear that it would not be possible to achieve agreement to conduct such a referendum, and the process came to an end.

On 7 April, the Secretary-General submitted to the Security Council a report on his mission of good offices, covering the period between late 1999 and 11 March 2003. This report covered the key developments during the process, gave the Secretary-General's assessment of that process, explained the concepts behind the proposals he had submitted, and looked to the future.

As the Secretary-General stated in the report, his plan remained on the table. He did not propose to take a new initiative without solid reason to believe that the political will existed necessary for a successful outcome. In the Secretary-General's view, a solution on the basis of the plan could be achieved only if there was an unequivocally-stated preparedness on the part of the leaders of both sides, fully and determinedly backed at the highest political level in both Greece and Turkey, to commit (a) to finalize the plan (without re-opening its basic principles, or key trade-offs) by a specific date with the United Nations assistance, and (b) to put it to separate simultaneous referenda as provided for in the plan on a certain date soon thereafter.

On 14 April 2003, the Security Council expressed regret that, due to the "negative approach" of the Turkish Cypriot leader, it had not been possible to put the Secretary-General's settlement plan to simultaneous referenda by Turkish and Greek Cypriots and, as a result, there would be no comprehensive agreement on reunification of the island before 16 April - the date that Cyprus's accession treaty to the European Union was to be signed.

Unanimously adopting resolution 1475 (2003), the Council gave its full support to the Secretary-General's "carefully balanced plan" of 26 February 2003 as a unique basis for further negotiations, and called on all concerned to negotiate within the framework of the Secretary-General's good offices, using the plan to reach a comprehensive settlement as set forth in the Secretary-General's report (S/2003/398). The Council asked the Secretary-General to continue to make available his good offices for Cyprus.

On 10 February, 2004, following an invitation from the Secretary-General, the Greek Cypriot leader, Tassos Papadopoulos, and the Turkish Cypriot leader, Rauf Denktash, resumed negotiations on the basis of the Secretary-General's settlement plan. Representatives of the guarantor nations of Greece, Turkey and the United Kingdom were also present. The objective of the negotiators was have a text ready to be put to referenda in April, in the hope that Cyprus could be reunited in time to accede to the European Union on 1 May 2004.

The talks lasted four days, and following a final session that continued until 3 a.m. on 13 February, the Secretary-General announced that the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot leaders had committed to his plan and a settlement was "in reach". He explained that much hard work was still needed, and that tough questions were yet to be answered. But he speculated that, with continued courage and goodwill, he believed there was now a real chance that Cyprus could be reunited before 1 May.

In Phase1 of the agreed procedure, the parties negotiated in Cyprus between 19 February and 22 March 2004. This effort did not produce significant progress at the political level. However, positive results were achieved at the technical level by experts from the two sides assisted by United Nations experts.

In Phase 2 of the effort, the Secretary-General convened a meeting of the two sides in Bürgenstock, Switzerland, beginning on 24 March 2004, with the participation of Greece and Turkey in order to lend their collaboration. Full use was not made of the opportunity for concentrated negotiations and consultations to agree on a finalized text by 29 March 2004, and agreement did not prove possible.

In Phase 3 of the negotiation process, after consultations with the parties, the Secretary-General finalized on 31 March 2004 the text to be submitted to referenda on the basis of the plan, maintaining its overall balance while addressing to the extent possible the key concerns of each side.

The proposed Foundation Agreement in “The Comprehensive Settlement of the
Cyprus Problem” as finalized was submitted to separate simultaneous referenda on
24 April 2004. It was rejected by the Greek Cypriot electorate by a margin of three to one, and approved by the Turkish Cypriot electorate by a margin of two to one. It therefore did not enter into force.

Reporting on these developments to the Security Council on 28 May, the Secretary-General pointed out that this outcome represented another missed opportunity to resolve the Cyprus problem. The decision of the Greek Cypriots must be respected, he said. However, it was a major setback. “They [the Greek Cypriots] may wish to reflect on the implications of the vote in the coming period. If they remain willing to resolve the Cyprus problem through a bicommunal, bizonal federation, this needs to be demonstrated.”

The Secretary-General continued by saying that the decision of the Turkish Cypriots was to be welcomed and that their vote had undone any rationale for pressuring and isolating them. He hoped that the members of the Security Council could give a strong lead to all States to cooperate both bilaterally and in international bodies, to eliminate unnecessary restrictions and barriers that had the effect of isolating the Turkish Cypriots and impeding their development – “not for the purposes of affording recognition or assisting secession, but as a positive contribution to the goal of reunification”.

In his report, the Secretary-General concluded that there was “no apparent basis for resuming the good offices effort while the current stalemate continues”. He added, however, that given the watershed that had been reached in efforts to resolve the Cyprus problem, a review of the full range of United Nations peace activities in Cyprus was timely.


UNFICYP's Concept of Operations Amended and Troop Levels Reduced

Following a review of the mandate, force levels and concept of operations of UNFICYP, the Secretary-General, in his report (S/2004/756) dated 24 September 2004, recommended that the Security Council reduce the military component of the mission to 860, down from the current 1,224, while extending its mandate until mid-2005 to foster conditions conducive to a comprehensive settlement. He also proposed a more mobile and efficient concept of operations.

At the same time, the Secretary-General recommended that the current deployment of 45 UNFICYP police - who lived within the community and performed a wide-range of local services - be increased to the mandated ceiling of 69.

The Secretary-General also called for a boost in the number of civilian affairs officers working in the mission, noting that their work had grown qualitatively and quantitatively as they interceded on behalf of members of one community or the other to ease specific situations.

"These practical measures will allow UNFICYP to continue to carry out the whole range of its mandated tasks, while taking into account the changed environment and achieving a more efficient utilization of resources," he said. "They will also provide the basis for a further transformation of the mission, as warranted by developments on the ground, after a further review, which should take place before the end of the next mandate period, in mid-2005."

On 22 October, the Security Council, by its resolution 1568 (2004), endorsed the Secretary-General’s recommendations for amending the concept of operations and for reducing the force level of UNFICYP, and extended the mission’s mandate through mid-June 2005.

The Council took note of the assessment that the security situation on the island had become “increasingly benign” over the last few years, and that a recurrence of fighting was increasingly unlikely. It welcomed the Secretary-General’s intention to review further the operation’s mandate, force levels and concept of operation before the next renewal of UNFICYP’s mandate, taking into account developments on the ground and the views of the parties.

The Council also urged the Turkish Cypriot side and Turkish forces “to rescind without delay” all remaining restrictions on UNFICYP, and called on them to restore in Strovilia – a small hamlet inhabited by Greek Cypriots – the military status quo that existed there prior to 30 June 2000.


Review of UNFICYP

In his periodic report to the Security Council dated 27 May 2005, the Secretary-General said that the overall situation in Cyprus remained stable, although the official contacts between the leaders of the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot sides, which had ceased since the April 2004 referenda, have not been resumed, and there was little sign of improvement in relations. The overall military security situation on the island also continued to be stable, with calm along the ceasefire lines.

On 19 May 2005, the Turkish Cypriot side lifted the restrictions imposed on UNFICYP in July 2000 by the Turkish forces/Turkish Cypriot security forces. According to the report, this would allow UNFICYP to restore its operational capabilities in and around the buffer zone. However, the violation of the military status quo in Strovilia persisted. The Untied Nations continues to hold the Government of Turkey responsible for the maintenance of the status quo in Varosha.

The report noted that by 7 February 2005, UNFICYP’s military component had completed its reduction in strength and had started to implement the amended concept of operations, as approved by resolution 1568 (2004). The strength of the Force at that time stood at about 875 military personnel.

The report also contained the findings of the mission’s review, carried out by a joint UNFICYP/Headquarters review team, which visited the island between 6 and 11 May. The review team found that the amended, more mobile concept of operations allows the mission to maintain the same level of mandate implementation with the reduced troop strength. The introduction of a military observer and liaison group has started to contribute to an increased emphasis on liaison, observation and mediation rather than the interposition of forces. The review team also considered whether further reductions would be possible at this stage, but concluded that the new concept was still in its early stages and more time and experience would be needed to assess its full impact before taking decisions in that regard.

Although the situation in Cyprus has been calm, the distrust between the Greek Cypriot and the Turkish Cypriot side has persisted in the absence of a viable political process, as has the military posture and the concomitant perception of threat. In that situation, the presence of UNFICYP remains necessary for the maintenance of the ceasefire and in order to foster conditions conducive to a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem. The conducted review found that that view is shared by both sides on the island, as well as by the guarantor Powers and other interested parties.

The Secretary-General said that he shared the view of the review team that the restructuring of UNIFCYP and the amended concept of operations would allow the mission to implement its mandate effectively and efficiently. However, delays in recruitment and deployment of staff have not allowed the new concept to reach its full potential. More time will be required to assess the full impact of the present changes and the need for any further adjustments.

The review team found that the police and civil affairs tasks have continued to increase in number and complexity, as have the requests from both sides for assistance. It is, therefore, important that Member States make available the additional officers needed to bring the actual strength of UNFICYP’s police component up to the authorized strength of 69. Until that is done, UNFICYP will need to retain the additional 15 military personnel currently engaged in civil affairs activities, according to the Secretary-General.

The Security Council, by its resolution 1604 (2005) of 15 June 2005, welcomed the Secretary-General’s review of UNFICYP and decided to extend the mandate of the mission for a further period ending 15 December 2005.

The Council, among other things, took note with satisfaction of the lifting of restrictions of movement of UNFICYP by the Turkish Cypriot side and the Turkish forces, and called on both sides to restore in Strovilia the military status quo which existed there prior to 30 June 2000.


UNFICYP, May—November 2005

On 29 November 2005, the Secretary-General submitted to the Security Council his regular report on the activities of UNFICYP, covering the period from 21 May to 24 November.

According to the report, the situation in Cyprus remained stable, with calm prevailing along the ceasefire lines. The opening of additional crossing points and small increases in trade between the two sides enhanced the opportunity for people-to-people contact, yet progress towards a political solution was “negligible at best”. UNFICYP continued to enjoy generally good cooperation from both sides, but at the same time each side made attempts to alter the status quo to its advantage, whether in the form of new construction or incursions of personnel into the buffer zone.

The experience gained during the reporting period indicated that the new force structure of UNFICYP was adequate for the implementation of the mandate and that the reconfiguration of the Force had not led to deterioration in the overall security situation. However, due to delays in achieving the full staffing levels for the UNFICYP civil affairs component and the police, the restructured Force had not reached the full potential of its revised concept of operations. Under the circumstances, and in light of the lack of significant positive developments on the ground, it would be premature to suggest further adjustments to the Force at this stage. The Secretary-General intended to keep the operations of UNFICYP under close scrutiny, with a view to offering recommendations for possible further adjustments as soon as warranted.

The Secretary-General said that an early completion of the work of the Committee on Missing Persons in Cyprus and a solution to the issue of missing persons would greatly contribute to reconciliation on the island. Therefore, he urged all concerned to redouble their efforts and put aside political considerations in order to close this painful humanitarian chapter and to end the suffering of the relatives of missing persons.

The Secretary-General continued to believe that only the achievement of a comprehensive settlement would 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, and he, therefore, recommends that the Council extend the Force’s mandate for a further period of six months, until 15 June 2006.

The Secretary-General also stated that he did not believe that the time was ripe to appoint a full-time person dedicated to his good offices. While calls have come from all concerned for the resumption of negotiations, it appears that the conditions surrounding such a resumption necessitate further clarifications. In the circumstances, the Chief of Mission would continue to act as the Secretary-General’s Special Representative on the ground for contacts at the highest level with the two sides and other key actors on the Cyprus question. The Secretary-General may continue, however, to dispatch, on an ad hoc basis, a senior official from the Secretariat to visit Cyprus, Greece and Turkey to assess the situation on the ground in the light of recent developments.

Unanimously adopting resolution 1642 (2005) of 14 December, the Security Council expressed its full support for UNFICYP and decided to extend its mandate for a further period ending 15 June 2006. Among other things, the Council called on the Turkish Cypriot side and Turkish forces to restore in Strovilia the military status quo which existed there prior to 30 June 2000.


UNFICYP, November 2005—May 2006

Reporting on 23 May 2006, the Secretary-General said the ceasefire in Cyprus was maintained and the situation remained stable, and that on the whole, both sides extended good cooperation to UNFICYP, with some exceptions.

According to the report, over the past six months, UNFICYP 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 intended 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.

The Secretary-General believed that it was time 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. To that end, his Special Representative had engaged in a process aimed at encouraging renewed contacts. In addition, the Secretary-General intended 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.

By its resolution 1687 of 15 June 2006, the Security Council extended the mandate of UNFICYP for a further period of six months, until 15 December 2006.


UNFICYP, May—November 2006

On 8 July 2006, the Greek Cypriot leader and the Turkish Cypriot leader signed a set of principles and decisions recognizing that the status quo was unacceptable and that a comprehensive settlement was both desirable and possible. They agreed to begin a two-track process involving discussions by technical committees of issues affecting the day-to-day life of the people and, concurrently, consideration by working groups of substantive issues, leading to a comprehensive settlement. They also committed to ending mutual recriminations.

On 1 December 2006, the Secretary-General, in his further report to the Security Council, expressed concern at the policies that were against the spirit and the letter of the 8 July agreement. “Having dealt with the Cyprus issue for 10 years, I cannot but regret the continued stalemate in the political process and the missed opportunities,” Secretary-General Kofi Annan said. Despite almost a decade of continuous efforts by the United Nations, an agreement on a comprehensive settlement had not proved possible. The process should lead to a resumption of fully-fledged political talks within the framework of the mission of good offices. Only if progress was achieved, would the Secretary-General or his successor be in a position to appoint a special adviser on Cyprus, he added.

The Security Council, by its resolution 1728 of 15 December 2006, extended the mandate of UNFICYP for a further period ending 15 June 2007. The Council expressed appreciation for the Secretary-General’s efforts and expressed full support for the process agreed by the leaders of the two communities.

UNFICYP, November 2006—May 2007

In the report (link to S/2007/328) dated 4 June 2007, the Secretary-General noted again that in the absence of a comprehensive settlement, the presence of UNFICYP remained important and recommended that the Council extend the Force’s mandate by a further six months, until 15 December 2007. At the same time, he added that there might be a need for further review of the operation at an appropriate juncture.

The Secretary-General observed that the international community’s current involvement should not be taken for granted. After a 43-year presence in Cyprus, the value added of UNFICYP, particularly in the absence of significant progress on the political process, was increasingly being questioned by various actors in the international community.

Despite the absence of significant progress, the parties had taken small but incremental steps in the right direction, the Secretary-General added. There had been a sustained dialogue between the representatives of the two leaders on the modalities for the launching of the bicommunal working groups and the bicommunal technical committees.

The Secretary-General noted that while the 8 July agreement is yet to be implemented, the two sides had come close, on several occasions, to reaching agreement on the start of the process. “It is high time that the considerable convergence of positions be translated into action. In this regard, and in order to build trust between the sides, I urge both leaders to honour their written commitment and bring to an end the ongoing mutual recriminations, which only serve to undermine the process,” the Secretary-General stated.

The Council, by its resolution 1758 of 15 June 2007, expressing its full support for UNFICYP, extended its mandate through 15 December 2007. The Council also noted with concern the lack of progress on “the 8 July process”, calling upon all parties to immediately engage constructively with the UN efforts and demonstrate measurable progress in order to allow fully fledged negotiations to begin, and to cease mutual recriminations.

UNFICYP, May—November 2007

Reporting to the Council on 3 December 2007, the Secretary-General said that the situation along the ceasefire lines remained calm and stable, even though safety and stability in the buffer zone continued to be negatively affected by civilians seeking to exercise their property rights in the buffer zone. Also, there had been no progress on the implementation of the 8 July 2006 Agreement, although both parties continued to publicly support the principles contained therein, namely that a comprehensive settlement will be based on a bizonal, bicommunal federation and political equality.

Noting that the responsibility of finding a solution lies with the Cypriots themselves, the Secretary-General stated that the coming year may prove to be crucial in the search for a comprehensive settlement. Only the required political will, translated into concrete actions, would provide an opportunity for progress and possible new initiatives.

The Secretary-General’s recommended to the Security Council to extend UNFICYP until 15 June 2008. On 14 December, the Council, by its resolution 1789, extended the mandate of the 43-year-old peacekeeping mission accordingly.

 

Source - United Nations

 

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