January 16, 2018

Archives for November 1998

Statement by the Representative of Cyprus Ambassador Andreas J. Jacovides at the Plenary Meeting of the 53rd Session of the United Nations General Assembly – Oceans and the Law of the Sea

Mr. President,

Since Cyprus has been associated with the position of the European Union on this subject, as expressed this morning in the statement delivered by the distinguished representative of Austria, I shall confine the present statement to certain aspects of the Law of the Sea which are of particular interest and importance to us. [Read more…]

Statement by the Permanent Representative of Cyprus Ambassador Sotos Zackheos to the 53rd Session of the General Assembly – Agenda Item 157: Bethlehem 2000

Mr. President,

My Government has aligned with the statement made by the distinguished representative of Austria on behalf of the European Union. [Read more…]

Statement by the Representative of Cyprus to the 6th Committee Ambassador Andreas J. Jacovides – Agenda Item 149: United Nations Decade of International Law

Mr. Chairman,

Since Cyprus has associated itself with the statement of the European Union on this subject, delivered by the distinguished representative of Austria, I shall confine my statement to certain aspects which are of particular interest and importance to us. [Read more…]

The Cyprus Problem and the United Nations

The Cyprus Problem and the United Nations

Andreas J. Jacovides

Deputy Permanent Representative

of the Republic of Cyprus to the United Nations

 Year: 1976


When I was first approached with the request that I participate in this Seminar to present a paper on the Cyprus problem and the United Nations, my first question was how long that paper was expected to be. A conscientious researcher, in order to do justice to the subject, could easily fill many bulky volumes on the basis of the available material. To give just two examples, the late Professor Xydis produced two books of over one thousand pages (entitled Cyprus: Conflict and Conciliation and Cyprus: The Reluctant Republic) to cover solely the early stage of the subject and I myself remember writing a never-published more than a hundred-page confidential memorandum, for the purposes of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic, with the Cyprus recourse to the General Assembly in 1965 alone. The unquestionable fact is that the Cyprus problem, in its various aspects and phases of evolution, has been inextricably linked with the history and evolution of the United Nations over the past twenty-three year period.

What I propose to do, for the purposes of to-day’s presentation, is to identify four phases corresponding, respectively to (I) the period before the independence of Cyprus; (ii) the period of 16 August 1960 to December 1962; (iii) the period of December 1963 to July 1974; and (iv) the period from July 1974 to the present date. In view of the limitation of time, I will not even attempt to deal now with the first period and I shall briefly touch upon the second, thus making it possible to concentrate more on the remaining two periods.

When Cyprus, as an independent state, was unanimously admitted to membership of the United Nations on 20 September 1960, it started with a clean slate. It was hoped that the traumatic experiences of the years immediately preceding would be forgotten and that, despite its small size and population, it would be able to play a modest but constructive role in international affairs by taking positions on issues before the Organization not mechanically and on the basis of allegiance to military alliances but on the merits of each issue in relation to the principles of the Charter. More specifically, in its geographical region and being located between three continents, it aspired to transform its role from being a bone of contention and a source of discord to serving as a bridge of peace and cooperation among its immediate neighbors. This position was authoritatively stated by H.B. Archbishop Makarios, President of the Republic, in his address to the General Assembly on 7 June 1962.

The international climate of the time was conducive to that end. It will be recalled that this was the time of the emergence from colonial rule of many new states, mainly in Africa, which upon independence joined the United Nations thus transforming its composition and voting patterns. It was the time when the concept of Non-Alignment was first elaborated upon through the Belgrade Conference of 1961 and became a sizable moral and political force in world affairs. And it was the time when, under President Kennedy and Chairman Kruschev, respectively, the United States and the Soviet Union were eagerly competing for influence among the non-aligned and newly independent states. In short, the circumstances were propitious and the delegation of Cyprus had the opportunity, through active participation on issues before the various United Nations organs, of effectively playing a role considerably exceeding that which would be expected if one only took into account the country’s size and population. Whatever the issue, be it disarmament, decolonization, international law matters or, more specifically, questions such as that of Algeria, Palestine, South Tyrol, Korea, Cuba or the India-China situation, the Cyprus delegation was consulted, its assistance was sought and its positions, which were dictated by the basic considerations indicated earlier as a small, non-aligned, developing state, newly independent and having just emerged from colonial rule after a liberation struggle, were carefully listened to and given considerable weight. Put differently, even though somewhat immodestly, Cyprus was a factor to be reckoned with in United Nations affairs.

It should be remembered that the period of 1960 to the end of 1963, was the time, in fact the only time, when Cyprus was not laboring under a problem of its own.

During this formative period, Cyprus made the United Nations and the principles of the Charter central to its foreign policy and this had a significant and direct effect upon subsequent developments. In December 1963 when, following serious international difficulties the Republic of Cyprus was confronted by serious threats and acts of aggression by Turkey, it was natural that it should turn for protection to the United Nations in preference to other international Organizations or Alliances, and seek the application to its case also of the Charter principles for the application of which it has struggled in the cases of others. Correspondingly, the Organization through its political organs, notably the Security Council and the General Assembly, as well as the Secretariat, responded positively to this appeal. Thus, the good standing of Cyprus in the United Nations and its policy of commitment to the Charter principles, had a direct effect upon the positive response which was given by the Organizations to the plea for protection and support against the actions in violation of these same Charter principles.

It would be relevant to make clear that from 1964 onwards, and even more so since July/August 1974, the primary consideration determining the position of the Cyprus delegation on issues before the United Nations has been, of course, the Cyprus problem in its various facets. Nevertheless, both as a matter of principle and as a matter of national self-interest, every effort is being made consistently to continue playing an active role on as many other issues as possible and through active participation in as many United Nations bodies as are available, on the basis of the same considerations which guided our stand during these first four years.

The Cyprus problem was formally placed before the United Nations, for the first time since the pre-independence events, on 26 December 1963. On that day, the Cyprus Government, through a letter of its Permanent Representative in New York (S/5488) lodged a complaint to the Security Council charging Turkey with acts of aggression and intervention against the Republic in violation of Turkey’s obligations under the Charter. This was inscribed on the Council’s agenda and, as subsequently supplemented, has been the basis of the item during the whole of this period of 1963-1974 to which I would now turn.

As stated earlier, it would be beyond the pale of practical possibility to give a detailed chronological account of all the developments concerning the examination of the Cyprus problem by the United Nations and, still less, of the corresponding actions taken and resolutions adopted by other international forums such as the Commonwealth and Non-Aligned Conferences, although it is significant to bear in mind that, in view of the overlapping involved, the United Nations developments directly affect such other actions and resolutions and vice versa. Nor will it be possible to deal with developments concerning the Cyprus problem in the UNDP or in such Specialized Agencies of the United Nations as UNESCO, ILO, WHO, etc., even though they too had an involvement directly or indirectly with it regarding matters falling within their range of activities.

What I intend to do is to provide an account, in general terms, of the main developments and to refer, for additional background and details, those who are particularly interested to such useful reference material as the publications of the Public Information Office (Cyprus – The Problem in Perspective, 1967 and subsequent editions; The Functions of the United Nations Force in Cyprus, 1967 and The Cyprus Problem, 1975, etc.) other books and publications and, of course, the relevant United Nations records.

The Cyprus Government’s complaint was examined in an emergency session of the Security Council on 27 December 1963, in the light of information received of naval movements and other preparations for a Turkish invasion in the context of the intercommunal troubles. This meeting was adjourned after a debate which served its purpose but without a formal conclusion and, after the failure of the London Conference and certain NATO initiatives and the further aggravation of the situation, the question was considered by the Council extensively during its meetings of February and March 1964, General Gyani (India) as his Personal Representative in order to follow developments on the Island.

The result of the Security Council’s deliberations was the unanimous adoption on 4 March 1964, after protracted negotiations, of its landmark Resolution 186 (1964), which has since been repeatedly re-affirmed and which throughout the period under review has provided the basic framework of the Security Council’s action. Resolution 186 (1964) was based on the premise that, under Article 2 (4) of the Charter,all Members of the United Nations shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state.

In its three main elements, it provided (i) that the above principle should be respected with regard to Cyprus; (ii) that a United Nations Peace-Keeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) be set up, with the consent of the Government of Cyprus, and laid down its mandate and modalities; and (iii) that a United Nations mediator be appointed for the purpose of promoting a peaceful solution and an agreed settlement of the problem confronting Cyprus in accordance with the Charter. While the Council took no clear position as to the validity or invalidity of the Treaty of Guarantee, by calling for the respect of the principle cited in Article 2 (4) above, it indirectly vindicated the Cyprus Government’s claim that the Treaty conferred no right to use military force against Cyprus in violation of this peremptory norm (jus cogens) of international law which prevails over any treaty which is in conflict with it.

Let us now consider how this Resolution was implemented. In so far as element (i) was concerned, Turkey continued the threat and use of force sessions, such as that in August 1964. Regarding element (ii), UNFICYP was set up and it is generally acknowledged that it has been discharging its functions, as set out in the Resolution and interpreted from time to time in the light of factual developments by the Secretary-General, in a commendable manner. While it was set up originally for three months only, it has proven necessary for the Security Council on the recommendation of the Secretary-General, to renew its mandate time and again in six-monthly intervals as its presence is still considered indispensable. As for element (iii) in Resolution 186, the Secretary-General designated as United Nations Mediator originally Mr. Tuomioja (Finland) and after his sudden death in August 1964, Dr. Galo Plaza (Ecuador). Dr. Plaza’s Report, which he submitted to the secretary-General on 26 march 1965, was a closely reasoned and constructive document which was fully consistent with his mandate under para. 7 of the Resolution 186 and, in the opinion of all impartial observers, both at the time of its issue and in retrospect, could have formed the basis of a fair, just and viable solution to the Cyprus problem.

In some of his observations, Dr. Plaza proved prophetic when one looks at his Report now in the light of the intervening developments and with the benefit of hindsight. Thus, referring to the Turkish proposals for federation, he wrote “it seems to require a compulsory movement of the people concerned – many thousands on both sides – contrary to all enlightened principles of the present time, including those set forth in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.” He also wrote:

In fact, the arguments for the geographical separation of the two communities under a federal system of government have not convinced me that it would not inevitably lead to partition; and further that the physical division of the minority from the majority should be “considered a desperate step in the wrong direction”. Despite the fact that the Secretary-General supported Dr. Plaza’s interpretation of his mandate, his Report was flatly rejected by Turkey on the spurious ground that he exceeded his mandate, and this caused the subsequent resignation of the mediator. Even though certain quasi-mediational functions were conferred by the Secretary-General upon his Special Representative in Cyprus in 1966 and the latter exercised his good offices in this regard, the United Nations mediation system under para. 7 of Resolution 186 has remained dormant since that time.

The Security Council continued to be seized of the item on Cyprus throughout the period under review, to receive the Reports of the Secretary-General and communications from the parties concerned regarding the situation, to hold periodic debates on the occasion of the renewal of UNFICYP’s mandate as well as emergency sessions such as those during the November-December 1967 crisis, in which the Secretary-General also played a very active and constructive role, and to re-affirm its basic Resolution 186 and subsequent resolutions. But, for a variety of reasons about which I shall say more later, it did not find it possible to proceed to more drastic action.

During the same period, the General Assembly was also seized of the situation in Cyprus at the initiative of the Cyprus Government. As a result of a request originally submitted to its Nineteenth Session (1964) and which was pursued during the Twentieth Session, the General Assembly, after fully debating all the aspects of the matter in the First Political Committee, adopted on 18 December 1965 its Resolution 2077 (XX), which amounted to a full vindication of the Cyprus Government’s position for the full sovereignty, complete independence, unity and territorial integrity of Cyprus and thus considerably strengthened our position. It included a reference not only to the Report of the United Nations Mediator (A/6017) but also to the Declaration of Intent and Memorandum of the Cyprus Government (A/6039), whereby it committed itself to the full application of human rights to all citizens of Cyprus, irrespective of race and religion, and to the ensuring of minority rights and in which the Government offered to adopt any appropriate machinery that the Secretary-General, on the advice of the Human Rights Commission, might recommend in order to ensure the practical observance of these rights.

This Resolution was also brusquely rejected by Turkey which totally ignored its provisions. It was followed by the Greek-Turkish dialogue and was left largely unutilized for reasons which go beyond the scope of this paper.

In subsequent sessions of the General Assembly, the Question of Cyprus though not placed as such on the agenda, was raised and briefly discussed both in the course of the General Debate on the overall international situation which takes place every year, and in the context of specific items before the Main Committees of the General Assembly but was not actively pursued.

You will have noted that the 6-year period of 1968 to 1974 was one of relative quiet in so far as the Cyprus problem before the United Nations was concerned. The explanation lies of course in the fact that from June 1968, the local intercommunal talks on the constitutional aspect of the Cyprus problem were being held in Nicosia. These were initiated following a series of unilateral normalization measures carried out by the Cyprus Government and as a result of certain diplomatic initiatives. These talks were held within the framework of the good offices of the Secretary-General and, as was made clear by him and accepted by the Turkish side, on the basis of a unitary, independent and sovereign state in Cyprus. As you are also aware, these talks did not result in agreement and by early 1974, when rumblings were heard from the new Ankara Government which were inconsistent with this agreed basis of the talks, and due to certain other developments in Cyprus and Greece, prospects for an agreement were further dimmed. Nevertheless, this procedure was still in existence until it was brought to an abrupt end by the events of the summer of 1974.

This brings us to the last, and more current period under review, which is the Cyprus problem before the United Nations from the Turkish invasion of July/August 1974 until to-day.

I will not take your time by recapitulating the chronology of events which are well established and known to all.

The Turkish invasion, which began on 20 July 1974, using the criminal coup d’etat of five days earlier, as a pretext, led, through a combination of brute force, blackmail and deception to the completion of the Attila II and material destruction of which we are all too aware, to the aggressive uprooting of nearly two hundred thousand Greek Cypriots. This blatant aggression, and its sequel, the attempt to alter by force the demographic character of Cyprus by the massive importation of alien population from Turkey, coupled with the inhuman policy of expulsions of the remaining Greek Cypriots in the occupied areas, have combined to give the Cyprus problem infinitely more serious dimensions. In relation to the United Nations it has become a test case of the ability of the Organization to meet a challenge to its most basic tenets. The Turkish aggression in Cyprus has raised fundamental questions for the United Nations which affect not only Cyprus, which is the immediate victim, but also the very ability of the United Nations itself to survive after such gross violation of its principles.

In so far as the Cyprus Government is concerned, it has multiplied and intensified its efforts to project the problem in the international field and to obtain the maximum political and diplomatic support for its case. This effort has been particularly pursued before all available appropriate organs of the United Nations. In practical terms, this means the Security Council, the General Assembly, and its various Main Committees (especially the Third Committee which deals with humanitarian matters), the Commission on Human Rights, the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) but also, whenever the opportunity arises, before such bodies as the Economic and Social Council, the Committee on the Review of the Charter, etc. Appropriate representations are also made whenever necessary and contacts are maintained with the United Nations Secretariat. The importance of the role played by the Secretary-General should not be under-estimated, and his overall contribution and efforts should be duly appreciated. In addition, the United Nations provides the possibility for many contacts with the 144 Member States represented at the United Nations. These contacts are carried out both collectively, such as with the Coordinating Committee of 17 of the Non-Aligned and individually, especially bearing in mind our minimal possibilities of diplomatic representation on the bilateral level. In short, much of our diplomatic activity in projecting the Cyprus cause is performed through the United Nations. While the details of this activity do not, and ought not, as a rule become public knowledge, I believe it is right and fair that it should not be assumed that these possibilities are neglected.

I shall now proceed to give, as dispassionately and objectively as I can, a brief account of the main decisions taken by the United Nations regarding the Cyprus problem since the Turkish invasion. (Regarding the texts and other details I would again refer those interested to the Public Information Office Publication The Cyprus Problem, December 1975 edition, and to the relevant United Nations records).

During the early stages of the invasion and throughout the critical months of July and August 1974, the Security Council which was already in session on the Cyprus situation immediately following the coup at the instance both of the Permanent Representative of Cyprus and of the Secretary-General of the United Nations, passed a series of resolutions beginning with Resolution 353 (1974) adopted on 20 July 1974 in which inter alia, it called for a cease-fire and demanded an immediate end to foreign military intervention and followed this up by Resolutions 354 (1974). 355, (1974), 358 (1974), 359 (1974), 360 (1974), and 361 (1974). By December 13 of the same year, the Security Council, in addition to renewing UNFICYP’s mandate (Resolution 364 (1974)), unanimously adopted the important Resolution 365 (1974) by which it endorsed General Assembly Resolution 3213, adopted earlier by the General Assembly, thus vesting its provisions with the authority of the Security Council.

Following the unilateral declaration of 13 February 1975, purporting to create a so-called “federated Turkish state” in Cyprus, the matter was again referred to the Security Council by the Cyprus Government. After protracted deliberations, the Council adopted on 12 March 1975 Resolution 367 (1975) by which inter alia, it “regretted” the purported declaration, affirmed that such a declaration does not prejudge the final political settlement, called for the urgent and effective implementation of Resolution 3212 (XXIX) endorsed by its Resolution 3654 (1974) and requested the Secretary General to undertake a new mission of good offices under his personal auspices and direction towards comprehensive negotiations. In June and December 1975, the Security Council held two more debates on the Cyprus situation and passed two resolutions (S/RES/370 of 13 June 1975 and S/RES/383 of 13 December 1975 respectively) renewing UNFICYP’s mandate and re-affirming its earlier resolutions and, in the latter case, making reference also to General Assembly Resolution 3395 adopted on 20 November 1975.

During all this period, numerous letters from the Permanent Mission of Cyprus containing protests and denunciations against the Turkish actions and furnishing evidence of violations by Turkey of the principles of the Charter, the United Nations resolutions on Cyprus and the rules of international law, were submitted and circulated to all Members of the United Nations as Security Council documents, most recently S/12077 dated 17 May 1976, regarding the expulsions of the Greek Cypriots.

As far as the General Assembly’s action is concerned, every effort was also made to inform its members of the true facts in Cyprus and to enlist its support for a just solution. The President of Cyprus Archbishop Makarios himself delivered two major addresses as Head of State (the one on October 1, 1974 and the other on October 7, 1975 – A/PV.2251 and A/PV.2378) and major debates were held during the twenty-ninth and thirtieth sessions in 1974 and 1975 in the Plenary itself as well as in the Special Political Committee. After considerable preparatory work, in which the Non-Aligned played a major part, these debates resulted in General Assembly Resolution 3212 (XXIX) adopted unanimously on 1 November 1974 and of General Assembly Resolution 3395 (XXX) adopted on 20 November 1975, by a vote of 117 in favor with only Turkey voting against.

These can only be regarded as major diplomatic successes, both in terms of the overwhelming support they received and in terms of their provisions, which called inter alia for the respect of the sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity and non-alignment of the Republic of Cyprus; for the withdrawal without further delay of all foreign forces from it; for the voluntary return of all refugees to their homes as well as for meaningful and constructive negotiations.

The adoption of Resolution 3212 (XXIX), endorsed by Resolution 365 (1974) of the Security Council, was in turn helpful for the adoption by the Non-Aligned Coordinating Committee meeting at Ministerial Level in Havana in March 1975 of the declaration on Cyprus pledging in addition “full support to the Government of Cyprus” and declaring that “aggression against it constitutes an aggression against the whole body of non-aligned countries and a menace against their independence …” . In turn, the Lima Declaration of the Non-Aligned Foreign Ministers Meeting in September 1975, inter alia, also called for the “immediate and unconditional withdrawal of foreign troops”, for the “immediate return of the refugees” and condemned the purported declaration regarding the so-called “Turkish federated state”. The same can be said of the Kingston Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting of May 1975 which, in addition to expressing its solidarity with the Government and people of Cyprus and reiterating the call for the implementation of the provisions of the United Nations Resolution on Cyprus, decided also the setting-up of a Commonwealth Committee of 7 members in order to assist in every possible way to that end.

In addition, several communications were circulated to all United Nations members as General Assembly documents putting forward our case.

During the thirtieth session of the General Assembly, as a result of our delegation’s efforts and despite the strenuous opposition of Turkey, a separate resolution (A/RES/3450 (XXX) was adopted on 9 December 1975 requesting the Secretary-General to exert every effort in assisting the tracing and accounting of missing persons as a result of armed conflict in Cyprus and also to provide relevant information to the Human Rights Commission. In turn the Commission at its 32nd Session adopted on 27 February 1976 Resolution 4 (XXXIX) by which it referred to the General Assembly resolutions and stressed the humanitarian aspects of the return of all refugees and of the missing persons. This was considered by the ECOSOC which, in 12 May 1976 (E/SR 2002), noted with approval the Report of the Commission. The consideration of these items before these bodies also gave to our delegation the opportunity to stress the principles upon which the solution of the Cyprus problem should be based.

I have said earlier that I would give a brief factual account of the consideration of the Cyprus problem before the United Nations and in doing so I hope I did not bore you too much by the enumeration of the relevant resolutions and their provisions.

After all this is said, however, the question arises, and it is a legitimate question, where is all this leading to? Unanimous or near-unanimous resolutions are adopted by the General Assembly and are endorsed by the Security Council calling for the withdrawal of the Turkish troops, for the return of the refugees, for the respect of the sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity of Cyprus, for the cessation of all foreign interference in its affairs and for refraining from changing the demographic structure of Cyprus. And yet, nearly two years after the invasion, there has been no withdrawal of foreign troops, no return of the refugees, no cessation of foreign interference, no respect for the sovereignty, independence or territorial integrity of Cyprus. In fact, the colonization by alien population continues and more Greek Cypriots from occupied areas are daily rendered refugees despite not only these resolutions but also in flagrant violation of the specific humanitarian Vienna agreement of 2 August 1974 concluded under the auspices of the Secretary-General while the intercommunal talks have so far led nowhere owing to Turkish recalcitrance. Why is nothing effective being done by the United Nations in all these regards in order to restore justice as well as in order to see to its own resolutions being implemented?

These are in fact questions that we persistently also ask, orally and in writing, formally and informally, in urging effective United Nations action and not mere repetition of exhortations. By any criterion of justice and legality there is no justification for such lack of effective action. And I for one certainly do not see any justification.

However, what I believe I should do, in a scientific seminar intended to provide a better understanding of the situation, is to attempt to provide some explanation, as distinct from justification, for this apparent and real inaction.

In the first place, what appears on the face of it, and certainly to us, to be clear and unambiguous injunctions are interpreted by others as no more than conditional recommendations. Conditional in the sense that their implementation is tied to other provisions and recommendations in the sense that they are not considered as obligatory but as mere exhortations. Thus, the representatives of Turkey allege that they have no objection to the eventual withdrawal of the Turkish forces in Cyprus but this can only take place after a solution acceptable to them is reached through “agreement” as a result of the intercommunal negotiations or otherwise. And in any case, it is said, resolutions of the General Assembly and even of the Security Council so long as they do not come under Chapter VII of the Charter, are mere recommendations which they may or may not heed at their discretion. There exist of course strong legal and political arguments against such interpretations but those who wish to believe them, whether in good faith or out of a sense of loyalty and friendship towards Turkey, do accept them on their face value.

What is true is that in diplomacy some vagueness in wording is often intentionally employed so as to allow different parties to give different interpretations in order to save face and thus appear to reach a consensus upon which all can agree. In order to illustrate this point by a classic case in recent United Nations history, under Resolution 242 (1967) of the Security Council, Israel has been called upon to withdraw its armed forces from “territories occupied in the recent conflict” meaning the 1967 war. The word “the” does not appear in the English text of the Resolution which was at the time accepted by all and gave rise to great hopes for a solution of the Middle East problem. But these hopes, as we all know, did not materialize since there has since been interminable argument as to whether the wording used means all the territories or some territories occupied by Israel. Irrespective of the merits of the argument, and we have our own view of them, the fact is that no implementation has taken place and the situation in the Middle East remains, as it does in Cyprus, stalemated.

Why then, it may again be legitimately asked, cannot the United Nations give an authoritative and definite interpretation as to what these resolutions mean and, once this is done, why does not the United Nations take prompt and effective action to enforce compliance?

The answer to this lies in the understanding of the nature and composition of the United Nations. I trust that those among you who have United Nations experience or have been associated with it will bear me out: Unlike what is sometimes generally assumed, the United Nations is not a world government nor a superstate nor a court of law in the national sense which passes judgment and relies upon the executive organs of the state to enforce these judgments. It is an association of sovereign states and because of that it is no more than a reflection of the national positions of these sovereign states which, collectively, constitute the Organization. While in theory, the Charter has a fool-proof scheme for prompt and effective action in order to ensure compliance of decisions taken by the Security Council under Chapter VII, as well as the International Court of Justice whose decisions can also be enforced, due to political considerations to which I have alluded, the practice is considerably different and the existence of the veto provision, whether it is actually used or only threatened as a deterrent against a resolution directed against one of the Permanent Members of the Council or one of its allies or friends, has so far prevented the effective application of this theoretically fool-proof scheme. Suffice it to say that, with the exception of the Korean case (where there was no Soviet veto only due to the absence at the time when the vote was taken of the Soviet delegation from the Security Council) and the very limited, and inadequately enforced, case of sanctions against Rhodesia, no enforcement action involving sanctions has ever been taken in the history of the United Nations against any state. This includes two evident cases which are apartheid in South Africa, and the Middle East. In both of these cases, the overwhelming majority of member states strongly align themselves on one side and yet, due to the existence of the veto and the other political considerations involved, no enforcement action and no sanctions have been taken against South Africa or Israel for persistent non-compliance with General Assembly and Security Council resolutions overwhelmingly adopted.

In the second place, it has been correctly pointed out that often there is a great gap between declarations of principles and their implementation in practice, not only in the United Nations, but also in other forums where solemn declarations have been adopted. Political expediencies and narrow national interests too often combine to render inoperative in practice the theoretically accepted principles. This of course is not right but, however unsavory it may be, it is a political reality which cannot be ignored.

It is also a fact that many states, though by no means all, tend to concentrate on issues of immediate concern to themselves and, while paying lip service or even if they have some genuine sympathy for evident cases of injustice, such as the case of Cyprus, are basically indifferent or at most only theoretically interested in ensuring the application of the Charter principles to others, especially if they are geographically located far away. Even we ourselves, can we in good conscience say that, when approached by other countries with their problems and preoccupations, which they consider just as serious, important and meritorious as we consider ours, we have invariably shown the degree of understanding, interest and support which we expect of others?

This, of course, is a short-sighted attitude for in our interdependent world there is no room for narrow national interests and boundaries. Principles such as justice and peace are indivisible and their gross violation in one part of the world in the long term affects all in that it destroys the fibre of the whole international system. But this is an imperfect world and the United Nations is but a reflection of it.

In the third place, we cannot overlook the fact that Turkey is a cooperatively large country, a member of military alliances such as NATO and CENTO, geographically located in a sensitive part of the world (being close to the Middle East, bordering on the Soviet Union and controlling the Dardanelles). In the past several years, in fact since the outbreak of the Cyprus crisis in 1963-64, it has been making a systematic, if opportunistic, effort through its large and well endowed Foreign Services to get itself outside isolation and to cultivate relations with several groups of states and bilaterally, making use among other things of the fact that, as she has somehow belatedly discovered, she is an Islamic country. In the light of all this what is remarkable is more the fact that on the Cyprus problem Turkey found herself so isolated so often than anything she has achieved through these efforts. But these are factors which should also be taken into account in explaining why she has been able to defy the United Nations resolutions so far with impunity.

Well then, it might be asked, in the light of these facts are we to fold our arms, confess our impotence and capitulate in desperation? Certainly not. With initiative, imagination and systematic work in the international field, with perseverance and faith in our leadership, we can struggle to improve the odds especially since, we do have, on merit, a very good case and ask for no more than what is self-evidently warranted by even the most elementary principles of international justice and morality. Politics, as the saying goes, is the art of the possible. But if what is possible today is not acceptable because it is unjust and nonviable, we have no option but to strive in order to make possible tomorrow what is not possible today.

To this end, the United Nations, despite its limitations has an important role to end. Through its Charter principles and resolutions on Cyprus, it provides the framework for the solution of the Cyprus problem. If we get away from these, there is no alternative but total defeat and complete capitulation.

The United Nations is still the conscience of mankind and an important forum in which our case is heard and through which international public opinion can be mobilized further. Even though not a world government nor offering a panacea to all of the world’s problems, as its more enthusiastic supporters claim, neither is it a mere debating society or worse as its detractors allege. Within its limitations and potentialities it can be of considerable importance and this, in my view, is the only way to approach the matter if we are going to be neither disillusioned nor unduly pessimistic.

While free from illusions as to what we can realistically achieve, there is a very substantial scope for making the best use of the possibilities offered by the United Nations in internationally projecting our case in the appropriate light and dimensions. Much can be done through the Organization for obtaining essential diplomatic, political and moral support and sustenance to our just cause. We do have genuine friends and supporters in the international field and of course we always count upon the solidarity and support of Greece and its democratic Government in this field also. For the Cyprus problem, the United Nations within its limitations and potentialities has always been and can still be of considerable importance to Cyprus. For there is a great range of possibilities which can be usefully explored as to ways in which the United Nations can help us, and help itself, in promoting the implementation of its resolutions on Cyprus.

I would like to quote a brief passage from an interview given by the President of the Republic Archbishop Makarios to the Athens newspaper VRADYNI as recently as 6 May 1975, which aptly if cautiously indicates the correct attitude. I quote:

“And if the talks are not resumed or if they fail after resumption, I consider imperative a new recourse to the United Nations. I will not argue that the International Organization will definitely give a solution to the problem. It can, however, contribute to a solution and, if nothing else, it can help keep the Cyprus problem on the international scene and give it international dimensions.”

Allow me to conclude on a slightly personal note. I have had the honor and the privilege to be associated with the representation of Cyprus to the United Nations in one capacity or another since 1960 when I was a member of the first delegation of independent Cyprus upon joining the United Nations and during almost all of my working life, I happened to have been involved, not necessarily always by choice, with the United Nations and with the Cyprus problem. There is a lot of drama involved in this kind of work, a great deal of pressures and anxieties – the midnight overseas calls, the convening of and participating in emergency sessions of the Security Council, the all-night meetings in caucuses and Committees, the anticipation of procedural problems, the often rushed drafting of speeches and alternative texts of resolutions are all aspects of this work and a serious drain on any person. But there is also the very considerable satisfaction of doing work which you feel is important for more than just yourself and when the results are successful, this more than compensates for all the pressures and anxieties.

In addition, I have had the satisfaction of working under or with many distinguished, dedicated and brilliant persons who earned my affection and respect and to have enjoyed their friendship is also a great and lasting reward and source of satisfaction. Bearing in mind the old legal maxim expressio unius est exclusio alterius I will not mention any names since there are so many. In this paper I deliberately chose not to make the narration a personal one, even though it might have bored you less, as I felt that it would be more appropriate and useful to you to concentrate on giving the full picture by putting the emphasis on the facts rather than on personalities or value judgments. A future historian or a current politician might feel more at liberty to state his analysis of motives and policies, to highlight or downgrade the role played by individuals and to express conclusions as to whether things were handled well or badly at particular phases and generally. By contrast, a member of the Foreign Service ( who is not planning on retiring in the immediate future) might be better advised to refrain from expressing the public such opinions and value judgments as long as the problem is alive and he continues to be involved with it.

Message by Ambassador Zackheos on the Unilateral Declaration of Independence of the Turkish occupied part of Cyprus

Fifteen years have elapsed since the day the Turkish Cypriot leadership, with the active support of the Turkish government, went ahead with their plan to declare a so-called state in the areas of the Cyprus Republic occupied by the Turkish army. [Read more…]

Statement by the Deputy Permanent Representative of Cyprus Mr. James Droushiotis to the 4th Committee – United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees

Mr. Chairman,

At the outset I would like to express my deep appreciation to the Commissioner General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees in the Near East Mr. Peter Hansen for his comprehensive Report on the Agency’s activities during the past year and for his excellent introductory statement. [Read more…]

Statement by the Permanent Representative of Cyprus Ambassador Sotos Zackheos to the 3rd Committee of the General Assembly on Human Rights Questions

As we are preparing to celebrate the anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, reflecting on fifty years of a continuous multifaceted effort to forge a common approach, as provided for in the international human rights instruments, we should pause and examine our performance. [Read more…]

Statement by the Representative of Cyprus Ambassador Constantine Moushoutas at the Plenary Meeting of the 53rd Session of the United Nations General Assembly – Dialogue Among Civilizations

Mr. President,

My delegation wishes to express its appreciation and commend the delegation of Iran for the inscription to the 53rd Session of the General Assembly the important item “Dialogue Among Civilizations”. [Read more…]

Statement by the Deputy Permanent Representative of Cyprus Mr. James Droushiotis to the 4th Committee on Peacekeeping Operations

Mr. Chairman,

Allow me to take this opportunity to congratulate you and the other members of the Bureau on your unanimous election. [Read more…]