November 25, 2017

S/2013/392 – Report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Operation in Cyprus

United Nations

S/2013/392

Security Council Distr.: General 5 July 2013

Original: English

 

 

 

 Report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations operation in Cyprus

 

I.     Introduction

 1.       The present report on the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) covers developments from 16 December 2012 to 20 June 2013 and brings up to date, since the issuance of my report (S/2013/7) dated 7 January 2013, the record of activities carried out by UNFICYP pursuant to Security Council resolution 186 (1964) and subsequent Council resolutions, most recently resolution 2089 (2013).

2.       As at 20 June 2013, the strength of the military component stood at 859 for all ranks and the strength of the police component stood at 68 (see annex).


II.     Mission of good offices

3.       There have been no negotiations between the two leaders since March 2012. From April 2012 all through the period leading to the presidential elections held in the Republic of Cyprus in February 2013, the sides met instead at the level of the representatives in a process intended to reinvigorate the technical committees that had been established in 2008 to improve the daily lives of Cypriots through confidence-building measures. The Technical Committee on Cultural Heritage made important progress in the implementation of emergency measures for the protection of cultural heritage sites on both sides of the island. This included the establishment, in February, of a multi-donor partnership for the restoration of the Apostolos Andreas monastery under the auspices of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). On behalf of the two communities, two protocols were signed with the Church of Cyprus and the Evkaf Administration, marking an important milestone in the collaboration between Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots for the preservation of their common cultural heritage.

4.       Other positive steps included the implementation of a fire prevention campaign by the Technical Committee on the Environment and the activation of a communications mechanism in the event of an outbreak of a communicable disease by the Technical Committee on Health Matters. During the same period, the Crisis Management Committee undertook a joint firefighting exercise within the United Nations protected area. While the reinvigoration of the technical committees in the latter half of 2012 was a welcome development, their work does not constitute a substitute for substantive negotiations.

5.       The election of Nicos Anastasiades in the Republic of Cyprus on 24 February 2013 brought new hope and cautious optimism for constructive talks between the two communities. Mr. Anastasiades, as the new Greek Cypriot leader, has reiterated his commitment to solving the Cyprus problem and has indicated that he will dedicate time and effort to preparing fully for the resumption of the negotiation process. Following the February 2013 elections, the Turkish Cypriot leader, Derviş Eroğlu, also reiterated his readiness to resume the negotiations as soon as possible and has indicated that his team has begun detailed preparations to engage with its Greek Cypriot counterparts. On 30 May 2013, Mr. Anastasiades and Mr. Eroğlu met for the first time as leaders of their respective communities in a convivial atmosphere at a dinner hosted by my Special Adviser on Cyprus, Alexander Downer, and my Special Representative and Chief of Mission, Lisa M. Buttenheim.


III.     Activities of the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus

6.       UNFICYP aims first and foremost to prevent a recurrence of fighting and contribute to the maintenance of law and order and a return to normal conditions. Its mandate requires reconciling, as far as possible, security considerations and the maintenance of the military status quo while allowing Cypriots who live and work in the buffer zone to pursue civilian activities and enjoy full and productive lives. Such an approach, when successful, builds confidence between the communities and contributes to the overall United Nations effort in support of the peace process.

A.     Prevention of a recurrence of fighting and the maintenance of the military status quo

7.       During the reporting period, UNFICYP continued to maintain the integrity and stability of the buffer zone. Despite the ongoing low level of military violations committed by the opposing forces, which resulted in occasional altercations with UNFICYP, cooperation between UNFICYP and the opposing forces continued to be generally positive. The mission continued to maintain working relations with the Turkish forces, Turkish Cypriot security forces and the National Guard, at all levels of command. However, the non-recognition by the opposing forces of the aide-memoire of 1989 and incidents that challenge UNFICYP authority in the buffer zone continue to be problematic.

8.       On a number of occasions over the reporting period, the opposing forces, in particular the Turkish forces, have questioned the United Nations delineation of the ceasefire lines and, consequently, the extent of the buffer zone in certain areas. This has led to unauthorized construction of roads and infrastructure works, such as those undertaken recently by the Turkish Cypriot side at Avlona and on the Pyla plateau, all inside the buffer zone. While such actions are civilian-led, they received the support of the Turkish forces.

9.       Following the move forward by the Turkish forces in the buffer zone near the village of Avlona last November, which was aimed at preventing unauthorized civilian activity close to their ceasefire line (see S/2013/7, para. 7), the area remained generally stable. Regular UNFICYP patrolling and observation in the area, together with the re-establishment of an UNFICYP standing presence and constant liaison with the Turkish forces, had seemed to allay concerns, to the extent that in mid-June UNFICYP restored the status quo ante by removing a line of barrels it had placed there in November 2012. Disappointingly, despite the provision by UNFICYP of improved security in the area, Turkish forces immediately moved forward into the buffer zone and reinstalled a fence in the area. The UNFICYP Force Commander met with his counterpart in an attempt to return the area to the status quo ante, and these efforts continue.

10.     In addition to these specific challenges, the opposing forces maintained attempts to effect low-level changes to the military status quo across the buffer zone. Through its liaison role, UNFICYP resisted such attempts to the extent possible and, in reaffirming its authority, continued to play a critical part in building confidence between the opposing forces. The mission’s observation, reporting and liaison infrastructure, underpinned by regular patrolling, has enabled issues to be resolved at the lowest appropriate level and remains an important element in maintaining confidence and stability.

11.     Previously reported military positions established by both opposing forces inside the buffer zone that violate the status quo remain in place. The Turkish forces frequently overmanned the liaison post at Strovilia in violation of the military status quo. The United Nations continues to hold the Government of Turkey responsible for the status quo in Varosha.

12.     During the reporting period, patrolling by UNFICYP military forces along the Green Line in the sensitive Nicosia old town was somewhat restricted for safety reasons. Neglect and adverse weather conditions over many years have rendered a number of buildings in that area unsafe. A joint approach by the mission’s military and civil affairs components, together with the Nicosia master plan — a bicommunal mechanism established in 1979 to address urban issues in old town Nicosia — is aiming at developing the most effective means of mitigating this danger.

13.     Tensions related to exploration for natural resources within the exclusive economic zone of Cyprus continued during the reporting period. Drilling activities continued in order to verify the presence and extent of hydrocarbon resources within designated blocks to the south and south-east of the island. Turkey continued to protest the development. Following the start of a second phase of drilling activities, on 14 June, Turkey issued a statement confirming its position in support of Turkish Cypriot objections that such actions prejudge the rights of the Turkish Cypriot community. The statement indicated Turkey’s intention to provide assistance for the exploration for natural resources by the Turkish Cypriots to the south of the island. In response, on 17 June, Cyprus issued a statement in defence of its sovereign right to explore and exploit natural resources in its exclusive economic zone. The statement condemned Turkey’s intention to provide support for exploration for natural resources by the Turkish Cypriots, noting that such a development would increase tension in the area.

B.     Demining

14.     The two sides continue to withhold access for demining to the four remaining mined areas in the buffer zone. One area is located south of Varosha and is under the control of the Turkish Forces; three areas are in the Louroujina pocket and are under the control of the National Guard.

15.     There has been no progress in terms of fulfilling the Security Council’s call upon the parties to extend demining operations outside the buffer zone. Concerns persist, in particular with regard to mined areas adjacent to the buffer zone, where severe wet weather may have displaced mines into the buffer zone. In conjunction with the United Nations Mine Action Service, UNFICYP is seeking to address this hazard as soon as possible. I strongly recommend that minefields adjacent to the buffer zone be removed, as both a safety and confidence-building measure.

C.     Restoration of normal conditions and humanitarian functions

16.     UNFICYP approved all 17 civilian project proposals received during the reporting period, which were half the usual number and included very few proposals for new construction projects. As part of its ongoing support for such activities, UNFICYP continued to monitor the provision of basic services to both communities and to facilitate the maintenance of essential infrastructure for public utilities and services in the buffer zone. There were no instances of joint cooperation between the two sides on such technical work during the reporting period.

17.     In line with its mandate to contribute to a return to normal conditions, UNFICYP continued to encourage authorities, local community leaders and civilians to cooperate with the mission by providing relevant information on civilian projects in the buffer zone, in compliance with the UNFICYP permit system. In this regard and in order to promote cooperation with the mission, as well as intercommunal dialogue among community leaders in the buffer zone, UNFICYP hosted a meeting in March of mayors and muchtars from both communities. Despite these efforts, UNFICYP continued to face challenges to its authority by contractors and individuals carrying out unauthorized activities, on occasion in a manner that increased tensions in the buffer zone, which adversely affected the military status quo and required intensive liaison to resolve. The recent unauthorized laying of pipes by the Turkish Cypriot side on the Pyla plateau in the buffer zone is a case in point.

18.     During the reporting period, the university which opened in Pyla — the only mixed village in the buffer zone — in October 2012 (see S/2013/7, para. 15) continued to operate without UNFICYP authorization. UNFICYP remains concerned about the potential impact that any influx of students may have on the delicate demographic balance in the village. So far, the student body, the vast majority of which is Greek Cypriot, has remained low at about 145 students. Without agreement between UNFICYP and all parties concerned regarding security, policing and other arrangements, further expansion may have a destabilizing effect on law and order in the area.

19.     Regarding outstanding cases of assault in the buffer zone by Greek Cypriots on UNFICYP personnel and damage to United Nations property, the mission urged the relevant authorities to take prompt action. Occasional restrictions on United Nations staff members of Greek Cypriot origin seeking to undertake their duties in the north also remained in place.

20.    Beyond the buffer zone, UNFICYP continued to address day-to-day humanitarian and welfare issues faced by Greek Cypriots and Maronites residing in the north and by Turkish Cypriots residing in the south. Twenty home visits were conducted during the reporting period. Despite continued voicing of concerns over the deteriorating health of elderly Greek Cypriots and Maronites in the north, requests for Greek-speaking doctors to treat these patients continued to be denied. The transfer of a defibrillator to assist one of the patients was also denied. As to the Turkish Cypriots in the south, UNFICYP continued to monitor their access to health and welfare support.

21.     UNFICYP welcomed the decision by the Greek Cypriot side in April to allow the transfer of new carpets from the north to the Hala Sultan Tekke Mosque in Larnaca, although some restrictions to religious worship in the mosque remained in place. There were no new developments regarding the establishment of a Turkish language school in Limassol. UNFICYP also facilitated 11 religious and commemorative events, involving more than 1,100 individuals, which were held in the buffer zone or required crossings to either side. The Greek Cypriot, Maronite and Armenian communities continued to conduct religious services in the north according to the practice of previous years, but no new sites were opened for worship.

22.     UNFICYP continued its weekly delivery of humanitarian assistance to 347 Greek Cypriots and 124 Maronites in the north. It also continued to observe the functioning of the Greek Cypriot schools in the Karpas peninsula. Two requests by a Greek Cypriot family and a Greek Cypriot woman to return to the Karpas region are pending. UNFICYP assisted in addressing the legal and humanitarian issues surrounding the imprisonment and temporary detention of four Turkish Cypriots in the south and five Maronite and Greek Cypriots in the north. It conducted regular visits and facilitated family visits to inmates at detention facilities in the other community to ascertain the conditions and welfare of those serving sentences. The mission attended 14 court hearings to enhance confidence in the judicial proceedings.

23.     UNFICYP continued to support civil society initiatives that foster bicommunal cooperation and reconciliation. It facilitated 86 bicommunal events, in which almost 3,000 individuals participated, in cooperation with international and local partners. The events included regular meetings between Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot political party leaders and representatives under the auspices of the Embassy of Slovakia, as well as sporting, cultural and educational events.

24.     UNFICYP lent support to a variety of bicommunal projects in the buffer zone implemented by UNDP and its local partners. In May the Cyprus Community Media Centre, whose premises are in the buffer zone next to the Ledra Palace Hotel in Nicosia, launched the island’s first bicommunal Internet broadcasting facility. The multimedia studio aims at providing Cypriots with a neutral source of news and information on issues concerning peace and reconciliation, and developments in the two communities.

25.     UNFICYP police continued to assist and facilitate a number of investigations conducted by the respective police services into criminal matters that had occurred within the buffer zone. It did so through joint patrols to intercept poachers and smugglers, and to address increased incidents of theft and environmental cases of illegal tree felling, pollution and dumping. Of particular significance was its intervention, together with local environmental officers, at a pig farm where unregulated discharge of effluent risked polluting water sources through the buffer zone to the north, aggravating intercommunal relations and, potentially, the security situation.

26.     The Technical Committee on Crime and Criminal Matters, facilitated by UNFICYP police, met four times during the reporting period. Discussions included plans for a bicommunal seminar on domestic crime issues, to be held on the island in 2013, joint attendance at a workshop held at a university in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and ways in which to improve respective investigations through the possible exchange of evidence and wanted persons. The Joint Communications Room continued to provide a forum for enhanced cooperation between the two sides through the exchange of information on criminal matters. During the reporting period, 19 new information requests were received and 49 further exchanges were recorded, in equal measure from each side, either in response to requests or offering unsolicited information. As a result of this cooperation and goodwill, including shortened response times, eight criminal cases have been opened, four of which are currently in court, including instances of organized crime throughout the buffer zone. In January the Joint Communications Room also helped to defuse tension following the vandalism of a mosque in Dhenia, which was in the very early stages of restoration by UNDP.

27.     UNFICYP police continued to provide escorts for convoys with Turkish Cypriot civilians and humanitarian supplies in accordance with the leaders’ agreement of October 2010 that was reached upon the opening of the Limnitis/Yeşilırmak crossing. While civilian traffic over the crossing continued to flow reasonably unimpeded, the Turkish Cypriot side continued to increase its requests for formal escorts above the agreed number and the Greek Cypriot side denied access to a Turkish Cypriot convoy on 3 June. To ensure smooth operating of the crossing, UNFICYP has reminded both sides of their obligations stemming from their agreements of June 2009 and October 2010.

28.    The Committee on Crossings, which was tasked by the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot leaders in December 2010 to reach an agreement on new crossing points, did not meet during the reporting period. Despite UNFICYP engagement with both sides, their positions on the locations of new crossing points remained irreconcilable.

29.     From 7 December 2012 to 12 June 2013, about 610,000 official crossings were recorded through the buffer zone. From November to April 2013, goods worth €440,000 crossed from the south to the north, while goods amounting to about
€2 million moved in the opposite direction. These figures reflect a broadly downward trend in both people crossing and trade between the communities in recent years.


IV.     Committee on Missing Persons

30.    During the reporting period, the Committee on Missing Persons continued to carry forward its bicommunal project on the exhumation, identification and return of the remains of missing persons. As at June 2013, the Committee’s bicommunal teams of archaeologists had exhumed the remains of 978 individuals on both sides of the island. To date, the remains of 407 individuals have been returned to their respective families, including 71 during the reporting period. The sharp rise in the return of remains is largely attributable to the successful transition to the genetic laboratory of the International Commission of Missing Persons in Bosnia and Herzegovina for the sample testing of DNA and in-house final identifications made by the Committee’s own recently created genetic unit. In recent years the Committee has been granted access to unfenced military areas in the north on a case-by-case basis. In a positive development during the reporting period, the Committee for the first time also requested access to a fenced military area in the north and was granted permission.


V.     Financial and administrative aspects

31.     As indicated in my last report, the General Assembly, by its resolution 66/268, appropriated the amount of $54.6 million gross for the maintenance of UNFICYP for the period from 1 July 2012 to 30 June 2013, inclusive of the voluntary contribution of one third of the net cost of the Force, equivalent to $17.5 million from the Government of Cyprus and the voluntary contribution of $6.5 million from the Government of Greece. I invite other countries and organizations to do likewise, with a view to reducing the portion of the cost of UNFICYP covered by assessed contributions.

32.     My proposed budget for the maintenance of the Force for the period from
1 July 2013 to 30 June 2014 is currently under consideration by the General Assembly. Should the Security Council decide to extend the mandate of UNFICYP for a further period of six months, as recommended in paragraph 46 below, the cost of maintaining the Force would be limited to the amount approved by the Assembly.

33.     As at 20 June 2013, the total outstanding assessed contributions to the special account for UNFICYP for the period from 16 June 1993 to 20 June 2013 amounted to $15.9 million. The total outstanding assessed contributions for all peacekeeping operations as at the same date amounted to $1,254.2 million.

34.     Reimbursement of troop and contingent-owned equipment costs has been made only for the periods up to 30 April 2012 and 30 June 2010, respectively, owing to the delay in the receipt of assessed contributions.

VI.     Observations

35.     During the reporting period, the situation along the ceasefire lines remained mostly calm and stable, with a low level of military violations. The opposing forces should build on this positive trend and engage with UNFICYP on military confidence-building measures. In this context, I welcome the engagement of the UNFICYP Force Commander with the commanders of the opposing forces on this issue and hope that it may eventually result in meaningful discussions on the implementation of military confidence-building measures.

36.     In the first instance, I encourage both sides to desist from challenging the United Nations delineation of the ceasefire lines and, consequently, the demarcation of the buffer zone, which only increases tensions. I reiterate my belief that the overall situation would improve if both sides formally accepted the aide-memoire of 1989, which the United Nations has used for the past 24 years to regulate activities in the buffer zone.

37.     Safety and stability in the buffer zone continued to be negatively affected by unauthorized civilian activity. Civilian activities in the buffer zone are a natural consequence of an increased sense of overall security by the local population. Such activities, however, will only promote trust between the communities if they are undertaken in accordance with UNFICYP procedures. I call upon the respective authorities to act decisively towards individuals, as well as entities, who engage in such unauthorized activities, thus showing respect for UNFICYP authority in the buffer zone and support for the mission’s ability to implement its mandate.

38.    In this regard, the maintenance of essential infrastructure for public utilities in the buffer zone is becoming increasingly contentious. Given that both communities have availed themselves of such utilities for decades and will continue to do so, it is important that neither side seeks exclusive control of those shared resources but that each side instead works closely with the mission according to agreed procedures. UNFICYP stands ready, as it has done in the past, to assist the sides to engage in joint technical cooperation on such issues.

39.     I am concerned that the financial and economic crisis affecting Cyprus has the potential to negatively impact intercommunal contacts and relations. In this context, the downward trend in the movement of persons and the trade in goods is regrettable. I call upon both leaders to exert efforts, in both word and deed, towards creating a climate conducive to the widening and deepening of such contacts, including encouraging trade, where possible, so critical to building trust. In this regard, I welcome the recent establishment of a bicommunal radio station as an important step towards promoting a better understanding of the perspective of the other side and the effective involvement of civil society in the debate about the peace process.

40.    I continue to believe that the development of economic, social, cultural, sporting or similar ties and contacts will have a positive impact on the negotiations and the broader climate. Such contacts promote trust between the communities and help to address the concerns of isolation expressed by the Turkish Cypriots. Moreover, greater economic and social parity between the sides will make an eventual reunification easier and more likely. In the context of an internationally sanctioned peace process, efforts in the opposite direction can only be counterproductive.

41.     I thus encourage the parties to move forward on future possible crossings, which would result in greater social and economic interaction between the communities. As we witnessed with the opening of the Ledra Street crossing in 2008, progress on this front will help to improve the overall confidence between the communities. I urge the parties to adopt a pragmatic and results-oriented approach to the issue and to do so quickly.

42.     Another significant measure to build confidence between the sides would be to address the existing minefields both in and outside the buffer zone, which continue to pose a danger to both civilians and patrolling military personnel. I call upon the parties to facilitate, without delay, access to all remaining mined areas in and outside the buffer zone, in line with Security Council resolution 2089 (2013). Such a move can be made unilaterally and does not require mutual agreement. The United Nations stands ready to assist the parties in their aspiration to achieve a mine-free Cyprus.

43.     With regard to the exploitation of natural resources around Cyprus, I once again call upon all parties to make every effort to avoid raising tensions, which may have a negative impact on the security situation, including in the buffer zone. It is important to ensure that any new-found wealth, which belongs to all Cypriots, will benefit both communities. Without doubt, the discovery of offshore gas reserves constitutes a strong incentive for all parties to find a durable solution to the Cyprus problem. It is my hope that the discovery may engender deeper cooperation for the benefit of all stakeholders in the region.

44.     The United Nations remains committed to supporting the critical work being done on behalf of the families of victims through the Committee on Missing Persons. I count on the support of all parties to preserve the non-political and bicommunal character of the work of the Committee. While increased access to a fenced military area in the north is a positive development which I welcome, I once again urge all parties to be more accommodating of the Committee’s exhumation requirements throughout the entire island.

45.     Regrettably, restrictions continue on the movement of locally employed United Nations personnel. Freedom of movement for all United Nations personnel is a matter of principle for the Organization and an operational requirement for UNFICYP. I call upon the Turkish Cypriot authorities to respect that principle.

46.     UNFICYP continues to play an essential role on the island by exercising authority in the buffer zone and contributing to keeping the calm and resolving various issues that affect the everyday lives of individuals in both communities. However, its ability to play this role depends by and large on the commitment of the sides to refrain from challenging the authority and legitimacy of UNFICYP in the buffer zone. In the hope that both sides will continue to cooperate with UNFICYP in good faith, I recommend that the mandate of the mission be extended for a period of six months, until 31 January 2014.

47.     UNFICYP maintains close collaboration with my mission of good offices, led by my Special Adviser, and other United Nations actors on the island. In line with relevant Security Council resolutions, most recently resolution 2089 (2013), the mission will remain engaged in contingency planning in relation to the settlement. The planning will continue to be guided by developments in the negotiations and views of the parties on the possible role of the United Nations in this respect.

48.    At the same time, I shall continually keep the operations of UNFICYP under close review, taking into account developments on the ground and the views of the parties, and shall revert to the Council with recommendations, as appropriate, for further adjustments to the UNFICYP mandate, force levels and concept of operations as soon as warranted.

49.     In conclusion, I would like to express my gratitude to my Special Representative and Chief of Mission, Lisa M. Buttenheim, to the Force Commander, Major General Chao Liu, and to the men and women serving in UNFICYP for the efficiency and commitment with which they have discharged the responsibilities entrusted to them by the Security Council.

Annex

 

                            Countries providing military and police personnel to
the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus
(as at 20 June 2013)

 

 

Country

Military personnel

 

 

Argentinaa

294

Austria

4

Canada

1

China

2

Hungaryb

84

Slovakiac

200

United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

274

      Total

859

 

 

Country

United Nations police

 

 

Australia

15

Bosnia and Herzegovina

7

Croatia

4

India

8

Ireland

12

Italy

4

Lithuania

2

Montenegro

4

Serbia

2

Slovakia

2

Ukraine

8

      Total

68

 

   a  The Argentinian contingent includes soldiers from Brazil (1), Chile (14) and Paraguay (14).

   b  The Hungarian contingent includes soldiers from Serbia (7).

   c  The Slovakian contingent includes soldiers from Croatia (2) and Serbia (39).

 

 

 


 

 

 

S/2013/7 – Report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations operation in Cyprus

United Nations

S/2013/7

Security Council Distr.: General 7 January 2013Original: English

 

 

 

 

 

Report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations operation in Cyprus

I.   Introduction

1.       The present report on the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) covers developments from 21 June to 15 December 2012 and brings up to date, since the issuance of my report (S/2012/507) dated 29 June 2012, the record of activities carried out by UNFICYP pursuant to Security Council resolution 186 (1964) and subsequent Council resolutions, most recently resolution 2058 (2012). A separate report on my mission of good offices toCypruswill be presented to the Council in March 2013.

2.       As at 15 December 2012, the strength of the military component stood at 860 for all ranks and the strength of the police component stood at 65 (see annex).

II.   Activities of the United Nations Peacekeeping Force
in Cyprus

3.       UNFICYP aims first and foremost to prevent a recurrence of fighting and contribute to the maintenance of law and order and a return to normal conditions. Its mandate requires reconciling, as far as possible, security considerations and the maintenance of the military status quo while allowing Cypriots who live and work in the buffer zone to pursue civilian activities and enjoy full and productive lives. Such an approach, when successful, helps build confidence between the communities and contributes to the overall United Nations effort in support of the peace process.

A.    Prevention of a recurrence of fighting and the maintenance of the military status quo

4.       During the reporting period, UNFICYP continued to maintain the integrity and stability of the buffer zone. The period was marked by the continuance of a low level of military violations committed by the two opposing forces. Cooperation between UNFICYP and the opposing forces continued to be characterized by a positive relationship with the respective chains of command. Good working relations have been established with the incoming commanders of the Turkish forces and Turkish Cypriot security forces; good working relations have been maintained with the Commander of the National Guard.

5.       However, the non-recognition by the opposing forces of the 1989 aide-memoire continues to be problematic. Previously reported military positions established by both opposing forces inside the buffer zone that violate the status quo remain in place. Turkish forces retained the checkpoint in the Louroujina pocket. They also conducted regular inspections of the liaison post at Strovilia and repeatedly overmanned the position, in violation of the military status quo. The United Nations holds the Government of Turkey responsible for the status quo in Varosha.

6.       As in recent years, the opposing forces refrained from conducting major exercises during the reporting period. In line with the practice in place since 2008, both the National Guard and the Turkish forces announced the cancellation of annual exercises code-named “Nikiforos” and “Toros”, respectively. In the same vein, the United Nations mission remains committed to reducing tensions along the buffer zone through the implementation of military confidence-building measures. To this end, the UNFICYP Force Commander has engaged in dialogue with the commanders of both opposing forces. While there have been no concrete outcomes in this important area, these engagements do allow for meaningful discussion on future activities.

7.       With a view to preventing the escalation of tensions, UNFICYP continued to resist regular attempts by both opposing forces to effect low-level changes to the military status quo across the buffer zone. A robust observation, reporting and liaison infrastructure, underpinned by regular patrolling, enabled issues to be resolved at the lowest appropriate levels and is an important element in maintaining confidence and stability. Through its liaison role, UNFICYP continues to play a critical part in building confidence between the opposing forces.

8.       On 12 November, however, Turkish forces erected, without prior consultation with UNFICYP, a fence in the buffer zone near the town ofAvlonawith a view to preventing unauthorized civilian activity close to its ceasefire line. On 30 November, the mission removed the structure. In response, some 100 armed soldiers of the Turkish forces entered the buffer zone and reinstalled the fence, confronting members of an UNFICYP military contingent in the process. UNFICYP strongly protested this serious violation and the Turkish forces withdrew. Subsequently, a solution was negotiated by which the structure was dismantled and UNFICYP made alternative arrangements to address Turkish concerns.

9.       In late September, tensions increased significantly between the two sides when three armed Cypriot police officers crossed through the buffer zone near thevillageofLouroujinain pursuit of a Turkish Cypriot vehicle for alleged traffic offences and were arrested by Turkish Cypriot police. UNFICYP determined the status and welfare of the officers within hours using its police, civilian and military liaison channels, attended the military and civil court hearings two days later, and facilitated the handover of the police officers inNicosiathat evening. The officers were charged with minor offences and released. While the joint communications room proved incapable of resolving the issue at the time, negotiations under its auspices for the return of the Cypriot police vehicles continue.

10.     Tensions related to exploration for natural resources off the shores ofCypruscontinued during the reporting period. In November,Cyprusopened negotiations with several international companies interested in exploiting potential resources within four designated blocks to the south and south-east of the island.Turkeyprotested the development and called on companies to withdraw from the tender or face exclusion from new energy projects inTurkey. The statement confirmedTurkey’s position in support of Turkish Cypriot objections that such actions prejudge the rights of the Turkish Cypriot community. In reply,Cyprusissued a statement in defence of its inalienable and sovereign right to exploit hydrocarbons in its exclusive economic zone, but reiterated that Turkish Cypriots would benefit from the exploitation through a solution to theCyprusproblem.

B.    Demining

11.     The two sides continue to withhold access for demining to the four remaining mined areas in the buffer zone. One is located south of Varosha and is under the control of the Turkish forces; three are in the Louroujina pocket and are under the control of the National Guard. During the reporting period, the National Guard completed the removal of anti-personnel mines from one of those mined areas in the buffer zone, with a view to complying with the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-personnel Mines and on Their Destruction. At the same time, the National Guard left its anti-tank mines in place.

12.     There has been no progress in terms of fulfilling the Security Council’s call on the parties to extend demining operations outside of the buffer zone. Concerns persist, in particular with regard to mined areas adjacent to the buffer zone along the respective ceasefire lines. In October, severe flooding raised concerns over the potential displacement of mines from a minefield of the Turkish forces into the buffer zone. While UNFICYP, with the assistance of the Mine Action Service, took steps to contain the danger, the issue remains unresolved. It is strongly recommended that minefields adjacent to the buffer zone be removed, as both a safety and confidence-building measure.

C.    Restoration of normal conditions and humanitarian functions

13.     During the reporting period, UNFICYP approved 35 of 40 civilian projects in the buffer zone for both communities, mainly for the construction of houses and commercial ventures such as photovoltaic parks. To support such activities, UNFICYP regularly facilitated the provision of basic services to both communities and the improvement and maintenance of essential infrastructure for public utilities and services in the buffer zone. Instances of joint cooperation on such technical work, as recorded in my last report, were few during the current reporting period.

14.     While UNFICYP supports cooperation and other civilian projects in the buffer zone, it is firmly opposed to unauthorized civilian activities, particularly when such activities may increase tensions in the buffer zone and thus adversely affect the military status quo. Cooperation with UNFICYP should also extend to the prompt addressing, by the courts, of outstanding cases of assault on UNFICYP personnel and damage to United Nations property. Three judicial cases resulting from such incidents involving Greek Cypriots are pending. Occasional restrictions on United Nations staff members of Greek Cypriot origin seeking to perform their duties in the north remained in place.

15.     In October, a new university opened in the bicommunal buffer zonevillageofPyla. While the initial student body numbers no more than 145, the vast majority of whom are Greek Cypriot, the university could see its enrolment grow to over 2,500 students. Such numbers could double the local population and threaten the delicate demographic balance in the village. Neither side is permitted to maintain a full-time police presence in Pyla. As the first point of contact for law and order issues, UNFICYP remains concerned about the impact of the university on the security situation in this sensitive area of the buffer zone. UNFICYP considers the project unauthorized until all security, law-and-order and civilian concerns are addressed.

16.     UNFICYP continued to address day-to-day humanitarian and welfare issues faced by Greek Cypriots and Maronites residing in the north and by Turkish Cypriots residing in the south. Nineteen home visits were conducted during the reporting period. Concerns over the deteriorating health of elderly Greek Cypriots and Maronites and over the absence of Greek-speaking doctors to treat these patients were voiced repeatedly. For the Turkish Cypriots in the south, welfare and impediments to religious worship were the issues of concern. There were no new developments regarding the establishment of a Turkish language school in Limassol. UNFICYP also facilitated 25 religious and commemorative events, involving more than 5,000 people, which were held in the buffer zone or required crossings to either side.

17.     UNFICYP continued its weekly delivery of humanitarian assistance to 347 Greek Cypriots and 126 Maronites in the north. UNFICYP also continued to observe the functioning of the Greek Cypriot schools in the Karpas peninsula. UNFICYP facilitated the supply of textbooks and teaching aids to the schools, although some delay in Turkish Cypriot approvals meant that this was completed after the commencement of the school year.

18.     UNFICYP assisted in addressing the legal and humanitarian issues surrounding the imprisonment of 13 Turkish Cypriots in the south and 7 Maronite and Greek Cypriots in the north and the temporary detention of individuals on both sides. UNFICYP conducted weekly visits and facilitated family visits to inmates at detention facilities in the other community to ascertain the conditions and welfare of those serving sentences. It attended 11 court hearings to enhance confidence in the judicial proceedings.

19.     UNFICYP continued to support civil society initiatives that foster bicommunal cooperation and reconciliation. It facilitated 83 bicommunal events, in which more than 2,778 people participated, in cooperation with international and local partners. The events included regular meetings between Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot political party leaders and representatives under the auspices of the Embassy of Slovakia, as well as sporting, cultural and educational events. UNFICYP, the good offices team and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) also facilitated the participation of civil society organizations in discussions on women, peace and security.

20.     UNFICYP lent support to a variety of bicommunal projects in the buffer zone implemented by UNDP and its local partners. In October, UNFICYP supported an interregional civil society conference that took place over four days in the buffer zone between the Ledra Palace Hotel crossing points. Organized by a Cypriot civil society network and funded by the United States Agency for International Development, the event brought together 200 civil society delegates from 28 countries working on reconciliation in Central and Eastern Europe, the Middle East and North Africa, andCyprus.

21.     UNDP supported, with European Union funding, the Technical Committee on Cultural Heritage for the renovation of cultural heritage sites on both sides of the island. In collaboration with UNFICYP, UNDP completed the stabilization of the buildings at the Ledra Street/Lokmaçı crossing point. On 22 November, the European Commission announced a €27.2 million annual programme of assistance aimed at the social and economic development of the Turkish Cypriot community, building on significant assistance delivered since 2006. The programme will focus on promoting the economic integration of the island, the overall objective being to help prepare for its reunification.

22.     UNFICYP police continued to assist and facilitate a number of investigations by the respective police services into criminal matters that occurred within the buffer zone. It did so by conducting joint patrols with local authorities to intercept smuggling, hunting and burglaries. During the reporting period, there were 14 reported thefts and 21 investigations; a search warrant was executed for a narcotic-related matter in the bicommunalvillageofPyla. Of particular significance was the facilitation of the transfer, from the north to the south, of four persons arrested for criminal charges, three of whom were wanted on European arrest warrants.

23.     UNFICYP police facilitates both the Technical Committee on Crime and Criminal Matters and the joint communications room. The Technical Committee continued to meet on a regular basis, holding five meetings during the reporting period. Discussions included the bicommunal confidence-building measures, such as a planned outreach project to the higher education sector in both communities to raise awareness of law-and-order issues within the buffer zone and concerning Cypriots arrested in the other community. The joint communications room continued to provide a forum for the two sides to cooperate and share information on criminal matters. A total of 35 new information requests were received and 74 responses were given.

24.     UNFICYP police continue to provide escorts for convoys with Turkish Cypriot civilians and humanitarian supplies in accordance with the October 2010 leaders’ agreement upon the opening of the Limnitis/Yeşilırmak crossing. While civilian traffic over the crossing continues to flow reasonably unimpeded, the Turkish Cypriot side has increased requests for more formal escorts than had been agreed, from one escort three times a week to as many as six escorts a week, sometimes twice daily. While the majority of these requests are facilitated, UNFICYP has declined some because they fall outside the original agreement and because of a lack of resources.

25.     The Committee on Crossings, which was tasked by the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot leaders in December 2010 to reach an agreement on new crossing points, met once during the reporting period. The Committee remained in a deadlock as the sides were unable to agree on the location of the next new crossing point.

26.     During the period from June to November 2012, UNFICYP recorded more than 660,000 official crossings through the buffer zone, a rate comparable to that of previous periods. From May to October 2012, goods for a worth of almost €0.5 million crossed from the south to the north, down some 60 per cent from the previous reporting period. Goods moving in the opposite direction amounted to some €2.1 million, representing a 75 per cent decrease from the previous report’s figures, as the provision of electricity had ceased.

III.   Committee on Missing Persons

27.     During the reporting period, the Committee on Missing Persons continued to carry forward its bicommunal project on the exhumation, identification and return of the remains of missing persons. As at December 2012, the Committee’s bicommunal teams of archaeologists had exhumed the remains of over 900 individuals on both sides of the island. The Committee is determined to keep its genetic analysis at the highest level of international best practices. To this end, in July 2012 the Committee engaged the genetic laboratory of the International Commission of Missing Persons (ICMP) inBosnia   and Herzegovinafor the sample testing of DNA. To date, the Committee has sent over 780 samples to be tested at ICMP. The final identifications are done by the Committee’s own bicommunal genetic unit at the Committee’s bicommunal anthropological laboratory in the United Nations protected area inNicosia. To date, the remains of 336 individuals have been returned to their respective families, including 16 during the reporting period.

 IV.   Financial and administrative aspects

28.     The General Assembly, by its resolution 66/268, appropriated the amount of $54.6 million gross for the maintenance of UNFICYP for the period from 1 July 2012 to 30 June 2013, inclusive of the voluntary contribution of one third of the net cost of the Force, equivalent to $17.5 million from the Government of Cyprus and the voluntary contribution of $6.5 million from the Government of Greece. I invite other countries and organizations to do likewise, with a view to reducing the portion of the cost of UNFICYP covered by assessed contributions.

29.     Should the Security Council decide to extend the mandate of UNFICYP for a further period of six months, as recommended in paragraph 42 below, the cost of maintaining the Force would be limited to the amount approved by the General Assembly.

30.     As at 20 December 2012, the total outstanding assessed contributions to the special account for UNFICYP for the period from 16 June 1993 to 20 December 2012 amounted to $13.9 million. The total outstanding assessed contributions for all peacekeeping operations as at the same date amounted to $1,455.9 million.

31.     Reimbursement of troop- and contingent-owned equipment costs has been made only for the periods up to 29 February 2012 and 30 June 2010, respectively, owing to the delay in the receipt of assessed contributions.

V.   Observations

32.     During the reporting period, the situation along the ceasefire lines remained mostly calm and stable. The opposing forces extended cooperation to UNFICYP and generally refrained from actions that could compromise the resumption of political negotiations. The continued low number of military violations and the cancellation of the annual exercises on both sides were welcome developments. The opposing forces should build on this positive trend and engage with UNFICYP on military confidence-building measures.

33.     The events in Avlona in November, however, were regrettable and speak to the important need to avoid unilateral actions. When concerns arise, the parties should take advantage of existing liaison mechanisms with UNFICYP, as doing so will serve to build confidence between the sides. I reiterate my belief that the situation would improve if both sides formally accepted the 1989 aide-memoire used by the United Nations for the past 23 years to regulate activities in the buffer zone.

34.     The arrest of armedCypruspolice officers by their Turkish Cypriot counterparts in September demonstrates not only the porous nature of the buffer zone but the challenges faced by UNFICYP in monitoring the full length of the zone with current resources. It also speaks to the need for the sides to show restraint. The transparent and swift manner in which the Turkish Cypriot side addressed the issue allowed tensions to subside. I commend this approach, as well as the constructive role played by UNFICYP. I urge the parties to make greater use of the joint communications room to strengthen their ability to manage incidents of this nature.

35.     Safety and stability in the buffer zone continued to be negatively affected by unauthorized civilian activity. It is essential that the authority of UNFICYP to approve or deny activities within the buffer zone be respected by the local population and authorities. The university in Pyla is an example of an activity that threatens to create a fait accompli on the ground, and is of concern. I call on the respective authorities to act decisively towards individuals, as well as entities, who engage in unauthorized activities in the buffer zone and thereby challenge the authority of UNFICYP and its ability to assist both sides in abiding by the ceasefire arrangement.

36.     I remain of the view that the establishment of economic, social, cultural, sporting or similar ties and contacts will have a positive impact on the negotiations and the broader climate. Such contacts nurture trust between the communities and help address the concerns of isolation expressed by the Turkish Cypriots. Further, greater economic and social parity between the sides will make an eventual reunification not only easier but also more likely. In the context of an internationally sanctioned peace process, efforts in the opposite direction can only be counterproductive.

37.     Tensions and rhetoric in and aroundCyprusrelated to the exploitation of natural resources continue, and are of concern. Once again, I call on all parties to make every effort to avoid raising tensions, which may have a negative impact on the security situation, including in the buffer zone. It is important to ensure that any new-found wealth, which belongs to all Cypriots, will benefit both communities. Developments during the reporting period have only served to confirm my view that the discovery constitutes a strong incentive for all parties to find a durable solution to theCyprusproblem. It is my hope that it may engender a deeper cooperation for the benefit of all stakeholders in the region.

38.     The United Nations remains committed to supporting the critical work being done on behalf of the families of victims through the Committee on Missing Persons. I count on the support of all parties to preserve the non-political and bicommunal character of the work of the Committee. I once again urge all parties to be accommodating of the exhumation requirements of the Committee throughout the island. I commend the financial support of individualMemberStatesand the European Union to the bicommunal efforts of the Committee.

39.     While a partial clearance by the National Guard of one mined area in the buffer zone was completed, mine fields both in and outside the buffer zone remain on the island. The October flooding is a reminder of the danger such mines pose, not only for patrolling military personnel but also for civilians. I call upon the parties to facilitate, without delay, access to the remaining mined areas in and outside the buffer zone, in line with Security Council resolution 2058 (2012). The United Nations stands ready to assist the parties in their aspiration to achieve a mine-freeCyprus.

40.     I encourage the parties to continue efforts to achieve further progress with regard to future possible crossings. Progress on this front will help improve the overall confidence between the communities. I urge the parties to seek, through pragmatic and results-oriented discussions, mutually beneficial agreements resulting in greater social and economic interaction between the two communities.

41.     Regrettably, restrictions continue on the movement of locally employed United Nations personnel. Freedom of movement for all United Nations personnel is a matter of principle for the Organization and an operational requirement for UNFICYP. I call upon the Turkish Cypriot authorities to respect that principle.

42.     UNFICYP continues to play an essential role on the island by exercising authority in the buffer zone and contributing to keeping the calm and to the resolution of various issues affecting the everyday lives of both communities. However, its ability to play this role depends on the commitment of the sides to refrain from challenging the authority and legitimacy of UNFICYP in the buffer zone. UNFICYP maintains close collaboration with my mission of good offices, led by my Special Adviser, and other United Nations actors on the island. I recommend that the mandate of UNFICYP be extended for a period of six months, until 31 July 2013.

43.     In line with relevant Security Council resolutions, most recently resolution 2058 (2012), the Secretariat will remain engaged in contingency planning in relation to the settlement. The planning will continue to be guided by developments in the negotiations and views of the parties on the possible role of the United Nations in this respect.

44.     At the same time, I shall continually keep the operations of UNFICYP under close review, taking into account developments on the ground and the views of the parties, and shall revert to the Council with recommendations, as appropriate, for further adjustments to the UNFICYP mandate, force levels and concept of operations as soon as warranted.

45.     In conclusion, I would like to express my gratitude to my Special Representative and Chief of Mission, Lisa M. Buttenheim, and to the Force Commander, Major General Chao Liu, and to the men and women serving in UNFICYP for the efficiency and commitment with which they have discharged the responsibilities entrusted to them by the Security Council.

Annex

Countries providing military and police personnel to the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus
(as at 15 December 2012)

 

 

Country

Military    personnel

Argentinaa

295

Austria

4

Canada

1

Chinab

2

Hungary

77

Slovakiac

207

United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern   Ireland

274

      Total

860

 

 

Country

United Nations    police

Australia

15

Bosnia     and Herzegovina

8

Croatia

4

El     Salvador

1

India

8

Ireland

12

Italy

4

Montenegro

3

Serbia

2

Ukraine

8

      Total

65

 

a  The Argentinean contingent includes soldiers fromBrazil (1),Chile (15) andParaguay (14).

b China is using one vacant Canadian and one British post at UNFICYP headquarters.

c  The Slovakian contingent includes soldiers fromCroatia (2) andSerbia (46).

 

 

 

 

 

S/2012/507 – Report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations operation in Cyprus

United Nations

S/2012/507

  Security Council Distr.: General29 June 2012

Original: English

 


REPORT OF THE SECRETARY-GENERAL ON THE UNITED NATIONS
OPERATION IN CYPRUS

I. Introduction

1.       The present report on the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) covers developments from 21 November 2011 to 20 June 2012 and brings up to date, since the issuance of my report (S/2011/746) dated 30 November 2011, the record of activities carried out by UNFICYP pursuant to Security Council resolution 186 (1964) and subsequent Council resolutions, most recently resolution 2026 (2011).

2.       As at 15 June, the strength of the military component stood at 858 for all ranks and the strength of the police component stood at 68 (see annex).

II.   Mission of good offices

3.       Since late January 2012, when another round of high-level talks was held at the Greentree Estate inNew York, intensive bilateral meetings with each side have taken place focusing on property, territory and governance, and power-sharing. Despite evident commonalities in positions on property, no convergences were reached. In the area of governance and power-sharing, significant differences between the sides persisted on the issue of the election of the executive. At the end of March, my Special Adviser provided an assessment of progress in the talks and I met with him in mid-April to discuss the way forward. I concluded that there had not yet been sufficient progress on core issues to call a multilateral conference and informed both leaders of that conclusion. Both Demetris Christofias and Derviş Eroğlu indicated that they were willing to continue to strive for a solution. However, on 26 April, during a visit by my Special Adviser, the Turkish Cypriot side indicated that they would only continue with discussions on matters of substance if there was a binding time frame culminating in a multilateral conference. At the same time, the Greek Cypriot side expressed its readiness to continue discussions but rejected the notion of any binding timelines, and said it would only agree to a multilateral conference once all internal issues have been resolved. On 14 May, Mr. Christofias officially announced that he would not seek re-election to the presidency ofCyprusin 2013, citing lack of progress in the negotiations as a key factor in his decision.

4.       Until the sides reach an agreement on how to proceed with the substantive negotiations, the focus will be on continuing the work of the technical committees. The sides have committed to reinvigorating the committees, established in 2008 during the preparatory phase of the talks with the objective of “improving the daily lives of Cypriots”. The committees cover areas such as crime and criminal matters, economic and commercial matters, cultural heritage, crisis management, humanitarian matters, health and the environment. Consideration is also being given to reviving the committees on the opening of new crossings and broadcasting and to formulating proposals on additional technical committees and other possible confidence-building measures.

III.   Activities of the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus

5.       UNFICYP aims first and foremost to prevent a recurrence of fighting and contribute to the maintenance of law and order and a return to normal conditions. Its mandate requires reconciling, as far as possible, security considerations and the maintenance of the military status quo while allowing Cypriots who live and work in the buffer zone to pursue civilian activities and enjoy full and productive lives. Such an approach, when successful, builds confidence between the communities and contributes to the overall United Nations effort in support of the peace process.

A.    Prevention of a recurrence of fighting and the maintenance of the military status quo

6.       During the reporting period, UNFICYP continued to maintain the integrity and stability of the buffer zone. The downward trend of military violations committed by the two opposing forces has continued. Cooperation between UNFICYP and the opposing forces continued to be characterized by goodwill and mutual respect that enabled a positive relationship with the respective chains of command.

7.       The opposing forces did not carry out any major exercises during the reporting period. At the same time, the active daily interventions of UNFICYP through observation, reporting and liaison remained important in preventing low-level activities that might provoke reactions from either side. Such activities occurred mostly in areas aroundNicosia, where the opposing forces are deployed in close proximity to each other, and are predominantly related to ill discipline. TheMissioncontinued to engage the opposing forces with regard to military confidence-building measures, such as the unmanning and/or closing of observation posts in such areas.

8.       At the same time, challenges to the authority of UNFICYP posed by civilian activities continued to persist, now accounting for the majority of incidents across the buffer zone. In particular, unauthorized farming on contested land and hunting close to the ceasefire lines of the opposing forces and United Nations patrols continued to cause tensions in the buffer zone. UNFICYP has worked closely with the authorities on both sides to resolve such issues.

9.       Previously reported military positions established by both opposing forces in the Dherinia area that violate the status quo remained in place. The Turkish forces retained the checkpoint in the Louroujina pocket. They also conducted regular inspections of the liaison post at Strovilia and repeatedly overmanned the position, in violation of the military status quo. The United Nations holds the Government of Turkey responsible for the status quo in Varosha.

10.     Tensions related to exploration for natural resources within the exclusive economic zone of Cyprus continued during the reporting period. In February, following the confirmation of significant natural gas reserves off the southern coast of the island,Cypruslaunched an international tender for offshore hydrocarbon exploration, in which a number of international companies have since expressed an interest. In response, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkey issued two statements, considering such actions to prejudge the rights of the Turkish Cypriot community and claiming that some of the areas to be involved in exploration overlapped with its own continental shelf. The matter has also been publicly protested by the Turkish Cypriot side.

B.    Demining

11.     During the reporting period, the sides continued to withhold access to the four remaining mined areas in the buffer zone for the purposes of demining, namely, one located south of Varosha under the control of the Turkish Forces and three in the Louroujina pocket under the control of the National Guard. No agreement has been reached to extend demining to areas outside the buffer zone, as called for by the Security Council. As a consequence, the mine clearance operation remained suspended.

12.     On 4 April, in observance of the International Day for Mine Awareness, UNFICYP and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), with support from the United Nations Mine Action Service and the European Commission, inaugurated a panel exhibit at the Home for Cooperation in the downtownNicosiabuffer zone. The event featured a UNDP-produced video clip and brochure highlighting the continued threat of mines inCyprusand received wide media coverage on both sides of the island.

13.     In late May, under the observation of UNFICYP, the National Guard started to remove anti-personnel mines from one of its mined areas in the buffer zone, with a view to complying with the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on Their Destruction. At the same time, the National Guard decided to not remove its anti-tank mines.

C.    Restoration of normal conditions and humanitarian functions

14.     The buffer zone continued to see a steady increase in the number of civilian projects proposed by members of both communities and approved by UNFICYP, including farming, housing construction and commercial ventures, as well as “green” initiatives, such as organic farming and solar energy projects. In order to support such activities, including enabling greater access to agricultural land, UNFICYP routinely facilitated the provision of basic services and the maintenance of essential infrastructure in the buffer zone, such as roads, waterways and electricity supply. Both communities demonstrated a willingness to cooperate on such issues at the technical level.

15.     UNFICYP in principle supports civilian projects in the buffer zone in line with its mandate to contribute to a return to normal conditions. During the reporting period, theMissionauthorized 34 civilian projects out of 41 applications received. However, theMissionis firmly opposed to unauthorized civilian activities, including construction, which may give rise to an increase in tension in the buffer zone. TheMissionhas urged the relevant authorities on both sides to provide their fullest support in ensuring that individuals and organizations abide by the UNFICYP permit system and that the courts take prompt action on outstanding cases of assault on UNFICYP personnel and damage to United Nations property.

16.     The unauthorized construction adjacent to thevillageofPylaof a university campus was of particular concern during the reporting period. As Pyla is the only mixed village in the buffer zone, UNFICYP has long maintained efforts to build trust and confidence between the two communities, including overseeing unique security arrangements. However, the projected influx of up to 2,000 Cypriot and foreign students, which could double the current population of Pyla, has raised concerns with regard to security, and law and order. Neither side maintains a full-time police presence in Pyla, where UNFICYP is the first point of contact for both communities on law and order issues. Discussions between UNFICYP and the interested parties continue towards determining the arrangements required for the campus to be allowed to open.

17.     Beyond the management of the buffer zone, UNFICYP continued to deliver weekly humanitarian assistance to 347 Greek Cypriots and 126 Maronites in the north, and to facilitate solutions for their long-term medical and health-care needs, which remain a challenge despite theMission’s continued engagement on the matter. UNFICYP continued to monitor the welfare of Turkish Cypriots in the south, including with regard to access to places of worship, such as the Hala Sultan Tekke mosque near Larnaca. There were no new developments regarding the establishment of a Turkish language primary school in Limassol. UNFICYP did not receive an answer from the Turkish Cypriot authorities on the request submitted by nine Maronite families and two Greek Cypriots for permanent residence in their traditional villages in the north.

18.     UNFICYP assisted in addressing the legal and humanitarian issues in connection with the imprisonment of seven Turkish Cypriots in the south and one Maronite in the north and the temporary detentions of individuals on both sides. TheMissionconducted visits to detention facilities to ascertain the conditions and welfare of the individuals serving sentences in the other community. It also facilitated visits by family members and access to legal representation and interpretation and was present during court hearings to ensure confidence in the judicial proceedings in the other community.

19.     UNFICYP continued to support civil society initiatives aimed at fostering bicommunal cooperation. During the reporting period, theMissionfacilitated 93 bicommunal events, with the participation of more than 3,000 people, in cooperation with international and local partners. Regular meetings were held between Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot political party leaders and representatives under the auspices of the Embassy of Slovakia at the Ledra Palace Hotel. Other events included sporting gatherings, cultural festivals, educational events on water saving and environmental awareness and meetings on specific issues of concerns at the level of local community leaders. During the reporting period, UNFICYP facilitated 11 religious and commemorative events, involving approximately 1,850 people, which were held in or required the crossing of the buffer zone.

20.     UNFICYP lent its support to a variety of bicommunal projects in the buffer zone implemented by UNDP and its local partners, with funding from the United States Agency for International Development and the European Union. In March, the Association for Historical Dialogue and Research, a bicommunal civil society organization whose office is located in the buffer zone between the Ledra Palace Hotel crossing points, published educational materials intended to foster a
multi-perspective approach to teaching the island’s history in schools in both communities. UNDP also supported the Technical Committee on Cultural Heritage for the renovation of cultural heritage sites on both sides of the island. Collaboration between UNFICYP and UNDP also continued on the stabilization of the buildings at the Ledra Street/Lokmaçı crossing point.

21.     During the reporting period, the role of UNFICYP police was instrumental in facilitating a number of investigations by the respective police services into criminal incidents that occurred within the buffer zone. The Joint Communications Room continued to facilitate the exchange of information and cooperation between the two sides on criminal matters, with a total of 43 requests for information and 27 responses exchanged. The sides are also discussing the establishment of a joint database on crime, which would be maintained in the Joint Communications Room.

22.     The Technical Committee on Crime and Criminal Matters, facilitated by UNFICYP police, held five meetings during the reporting period. The Committee has agreed to a series of initiatives for the remainder of 2012, including a bicommunal festival aimed at sensitizing youth on both sides of the island to the dangers of drugs and alcohol abuse.

23.     During the period from 22 October 2011 to 14 May 2012, UNFICYP recorded over 740,000 official crossings through the buffer zone, comparable to previous periods. From December to May 2012, goods worth approximately €1,255,576 crossed from the south to the north, up some 57 per cent from the previous reporting period. Goods moving in the opposite direction amounted to €8,857,448, which remained higher than usual due to the provision of electricity to help cover shortfalls in the south.

24.     The overall assessment of the functioning of the crossings has been positive. Nonetheless, during the reporting period there were a number of instances of restrictions on crossings by Turkish Cypriots and foreign tourists from the north to the south, which the Turkish Cypriot side claimed to be harming its economy, and on crossings of people in the opposite direction. However, those instances were few and did not appear to reflect a deliberate policy.

25.     The Committee on Crossings, which was tasked by the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot leaders in December 2010 to reach an agreement on new crossing points, did not meet during the reporting period. Despite the engagement by UNFICYP with the sides, their positions on the locations of new crossings remained irreconcilable.

26.     UNFICYP police continued to provide escorts for convoys of Turkish Cypriot civilians and humanitarian supplies through the buffer zone to Kokkina/Erenköy, as agreed by the two leaders in October 2010. While civilian traffic at the crossing remained unaffected, there were a number of requests by the Turkish Cypriot side for formal escorts over and above the agreed frequency, to as many as six in one week, sometimes twice daily.

27.     Beginning in late 2011, a group of protesters had occupied theLedra Street/ Lokmaçı crossing in downtownNicosia. While the protest waxed and waned during the reporting period, the encampment posed a security risk and a safety and public health hazard. UNFICYP closely monitored the situation and liaised with the sides to ensure that the presence of protesters did not undermine the security situation or the smooth functioning of the crossing point. In June, the departure of the last protesters allowed the area to be restored to normality.

28.     Occasional restrictions on United Nations staff members of Greek Cypriot origin seeking to undertake their duties in the north remained in place.

IV.   Committee on Missing Persons

29.     During the reporting period, the Committee on Missing Persons continued to carry forward its bicommunal project on the exhumation, identification and return of the remains of missing persons. As at June 2012, the Committee’s bicommunal teams of archaeologists had exhumed the remains of over 850 individuals on both sides of the island. The remains of over 700 missing persons had undergone examination at the Committee’s bicommunal anthropological laboratory in the United Nations Protected Area inNicosia. Following genetic analysis of some 1,500 samples, the remains of over 320 individuals have been returned to their respective families to date, including 21 during the reporting period. The Committee is committed to keeping its genetic analysis at the highest level of international best practices. For that purpose, it is in the process of finalizing a contract for DNA analysis with the genetic laboratory of the International Commission on Missing Persons inBosnia and Herzegovina. During the reporting period, the Committee’s access to military areas in the north continued to be circumscribed.

V.   Financial and administrative aspects

30.     As indicated in the previous report, the General Assembly, by its resolution 65/295, appropriated the amount of $56.5 million gross for the maintenance of UNFICYP for the period from 1 July 2011 to 30 June 2012, inclusive of the voluntary contribution of one third of the net cost of the Force, equivalent to $18.0 million, from the Government of Cyprus and the voluntary contribution of $6.5 million from the Government of Greece. I invite other countries and organizations to do likewise, with a view to reducing the portion of the cost of UNFICYP covered by assessed contributions.

31.     The Fifth Committee, during the second part of the resumed sixty-sixth session of the General Assembly, approved the budget in the amount of $54.6 million gross for the maintenance of UNFICYP for the period from 1 July 2012 to 30 June 2013, for which the Assembly is yet to take a decision.

32.     Should the Council decide to extend the mandate of UNFICYP for a further period of six months, as recommended in paragraph 42 below, the cost of maintaining the Force would be limited to the amount approved by the General Assembly.

33.     As at 12 June 2012, the total outstanding assessed contributions to the special account for UNFICYP for the period from 16 June 1993 to 8 June 2012 amounted to $15.8 million. The total outstanding assessed contributions for all peacekeeping operations as at the same date amounted to $1.36 billion.

34.     Reimbursement of troop and contingent-owned equipment costs has been made only for the periods up to 29 February 2012 and 1 June 2010, respectively, owing to the delay in the receipt of assessed contributions.

VI.   Observations

35.     The continued decrease in the overall number of military violations is welcome. The opposing forces should build on that positive trend and engage with UNFICYP on military confidence-building measures. It is also essential that the authority of UNFICYP be respected by the local population and authorities. Civilian activities in the buffer zone are a natural consequence of an increased sense of overall security. Such activities, however, will only contribute to the reconciliation process if they are managed in a manner that fosters trust and cooperation. I therefore call upon the respective authorities to provide their fullest support to UNFICYP in implementing its mandate.

36.     The ongoing tensions and rhetoric aroundCyprusrelated to the exploitation of natural resources are of concern. In that context, I call upon all parties to make every effort to avoid raising tensions, which may have a negative impact on the security situation on or around the island, including in the buffer zone. It is important to ensure that any newfound wealth from natural resources, which belong to all Cypriots, will benefit both communities. Such development constitutes another strong incentive to finding a durable solution to theCyprusproblem, and it is my hope that it may engender a deeper cooperation for the benefit of all stakeholders in the region.

37.     Restrictions on the movement of locally employed United Nations personnel regrettably continue. Freedom of movement for all United Nations personnel is a matter of principle for the Organization and an operational requirement for UNFICYP. I call upon the Turkish Cypriot authorities to respect that principle.

38.     I remain of the view that the establishment of economic, social, cultural, sporting or similar ties and contacts will have a positive impact on the negotiations. Such contacts nurture a sentiment of trust between the communities and help address the concerns of isolation expressed by the Turkish Cypriots. Furthermore, greater economic and social parity between the sides will make an eventual reunification not only easier but also more likely. In the context of an internationally sanctioned peace process, efforts in the opposite direction can only be counterproductive.

39.     The United Nations is pleased to continue its support to the critical work on behalf of the families of victims, through its support of the Committee on Missing Persons. Given the current challenges facing the Committee, I count on the support of all parties to preserve the non-political and bicommunal character of the work of the Committee and to allow it to discharge its mandate in compliance with international standards. I furthermore urge all parties, once again, to ensure that the Committee is able to meet its exhumation requirements throughout the island, by providing unrestricted access, including in military-controlled areas in the north.

40.     While a partial clearance by the National Guard of one mined area in the buffer zone is under way, mine fields, both in and outside the buffer zone, remain on the island. I call upon the parties to facilitate, without delay, access to the remaining mined areas in and outside the buffer zone, in line with Security Council resolution 2026 (2011). The United Nations stands ready to assist the parties in their aspiration to achieve a mine-freeCyprus.

41.     As I reported over a year ago regarding new crossings, the two sides were positively disposed to a crossing south of Apliki/Aplıç in the Lefka/Lefke area. At that time, I called upon the parties to take a pragmatic and results-oriented approach, with a view to enabling further social and economic interaction between the two communities. I am disappointed that, despite the stated readiness by the parties to open more crossings, no progress has since been achieved.

42.     UNFICYP continues to play an important role on the island by maintaining the buffer zone and contributing to the calm and resolution of various issues affecting the everyday lives of both communities. It performs its activities in close collaboration with my mission of good offices, led by my Special Adviser, and other United Nations actors on the island. I recommend that the mandate of UNFICYP be extended for a period of six months, until 19 January 2013.

43.     As mentioned above, a stage in the negotiation process has once again been reached where it is incumbent on the sides to agree to and proceed with a way forward for the talks. In that regard, I would encourage both sides to work closely with my Special Adviser and his team, who remain at their disposal. I furthermore continue to encourage political leaders inCyprusto fully embrace the concept and practice of a more inclusive dialogue which ensures that civil society actors can have a meaningful role in the peace process.

44.     In line with relevant Security Council resolutions, most recently resolution 2026 (2011), the Secretariat will remain engaged in contingency planning in relation to the settlement. The planning will continue to be guided by developments in the negotiations and the views of the parties on the possible role of the United Nations in that respect.

45.     At the same time, I shall continually keep the operations of UNFICYP under close review, taking into account developments on the ground and the views of the parties, and shall revert to the Council with recommendations, as appropriate, for further adjustments to the UNFICYP mandate, force levels and concept of operations as soon as warranted. As I informed the Council in my report dated 30 November 2011 (S/2011/746) regarding the broader assessment of the United Nations presence inCyprus, internal discussions continue as to the potential scope and timing of such an exercise.

46.     In conclusion, I would like to express my gratitude to my Special Representative and Chief of Mission, Ms. Lisa M. Buttenheim, to the Force Commander, Major General Chao Liu, and to the men and women serving in UNFICYP for the efficiency and commitment with which they have discharged the responsibilities entrusted to them by the Security Council. I also express my gratitude to my Special Adviser, Alexander Downer, and the good offices team.

 

Annex

Countries providing military and police personnel to the United Nations Peacekeeping Force inCyprus(as at 15 June 2012)

 

Country

Military personnel

Argentinaa

295

Austria

4

Canada

1

Chinab

2

Hungary

84

Slovakiac

200

United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

272

      Total

858

Country

United Nations police

Australia

15

Bosnia and Herzegovina

9

Croatia

4

El Salvador

1

India

6

Ireland

17

Italy

4

Montenegro

4

Serbia

2

Ukraine

6

      Total

68

 

a The Argentinean contingent includes soldiers fromBrazil (1),Chile (15) andParaguay (14).

bChina is using one vacant Canadian and one British post at UNFICYP headquarters.

c The Slovakian contingent includes soldiers fromCroatia (2) andSerbia (46).

 

 

S/2011/746/Corr.1 – Report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations operation in Cyprus

United Nations S/2011/746/Corr.1
  Security Council Distr.: General

5 December 2011

Original: English

 


REPORT OF THE SECRETARY-GENERAL ON THE UNITED NATIONS
OPERATION IN CYPRUS

Corrigendum

Annex, column headed “Military personnel”

The entry for Argentina should read 295

The entry for Slovakia should read 206

 

—————————————————————-

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Original: English

 


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