November 25, 2017

Archives for June 2008

S/RES/1818 (2008)

United Nations

S/RES/1818 (2008)

Security Council Distr.: General

13 June 2008

 

 


Resolution 1818 (2008)

Adopted by the Security Council at its 5911th meeting,
on 13 June 2008

The Security Council ,

Welcoming the report of the Secretary-General of 2 June 2008 (S/2008/353) on the United Nations operation in Cyprus,

Noting that the Government of Cyprus is agreed that in view of the prevailing conditions on the island it is necessary to keep UNFICYP beyond 15 June 2008,

Echoing the Secretary-General’s firm belief that the responsibility of finding a solution lies first and foremost with the Cypriots themselves, that there now exists an important window of opportunity to make decisive progress which must be fully utilized by all parties in the search for a comprehensive solution, and noting the primary role of the United Nations in assisting the parties to bring the Cyprus conflict and division of the island to a comprehensive and durable settlement,

Welcoming the agreement of 21 March and the Joint Statement of 23 May 2008 which, inter alia, have demonstrated a renewed political willingness to support and engage fully and in good faith with the United Nations efforts, reaffirmed the commitment of the leaders to a bicommunal, bizonal federation with political equality, as set out in the relevant Security Council resolutions, and to consider further civilian and military confidence-building measures,

Welcoming the opening of the Ledra Street crossing which has helped foster greater trust and interaction between the two communities; reaffirming the importance of continued crossings of the Green Line by Cypriots, and encouraging the opening of other crossing points,

Welcoming the intention of the Secretary-General to appoint a Special Adviser at the appropriate time and to keep the Council informed of further developments and progress,

Taking note of the assessment of the Secretary-General that the security situation on the island and along the Green Line remains generally stable, welcoming the decrease in the overall number of incidents involving the two sides, and urging both sides to avoid any action, including restrictions on UNFICYP’s movements, which could lead to an increase in tension,

Welcoming the coordination arrangements agreed with the United Nations to address unauthorized construction within the buffer zone, including large-scale commercial projects, and echoing the Secretary-General’s firm belief that the situation in the buffer zone would be improved if both sides accepted the 1989 aide-memoire used by the United Nations,

Welcoming the agreement with the Turkish forces to proceed with demining activities, but urging that further guidelines be agreed to permit such activities to take place in all outstanding minefields; noting with concern that funding for the Mine Action Centre beyond 2008 has not yet been secured but that this work will need to continue beyond that period,

Welcoming the progress and continuation of the important activities of the Committee on Missing Persons; expressing the hope that this process will promote reconciliation between the communities,

Agreeing that an active and flourishing civil society is essential to the political process and welcoming all efforts to promote bicommunal contacts and events, including, inter alia, on the part of all United Nations bodies on the island, and urging the two sides to promote the active engagement of civil society and the encouragement of cooperation between economic and commercial bodies and to remove all obstacles to such contacts,

Reaffirming the importance of the Secretary-General continuing to keep the operations of UNFICYP under close review while continuing to take into account developments on the ground and the views of the parties, and reverting to the Council with recommendations as appropriate for further adjustments to UNFICYP’s mandate, force levels and concept of operation as soon as warranted,

Welcoming the appointment of Tayé-Brook Zerihoun as the Secretary-General’s new Special Representative to Cyprus , and echoing the Secretary-General’s appreciation for the work of the previous Special Representative, Michael Moller,

Echoing also the Secretary-General’s gratitude to the Government of Cyprus and the Government of Greece for their voluntary contributions to the funding of UNFICYP, and his request for further voluntary contributions from other countries and organizations,

Welcoming and encouraging efforts by the United Nations to sensitize peacekeeping personnel in the prevention and control of HIV/AIDS and other communicable diseases in all its peacekeeping operations,

1. Welcomes the analysis of developments on the ground over the last six months in the Secretary-General’s report;

2. Urges the parties to build on the present momentum and continue their efforts to identify to the greatest possible extent areas of convergence and disagreement, while preparing options where feasible on the more sensitive elements, and to work to ensure that fully fledged negotiations can begin expeditiously and smoothly, in line with the agreement of 21 March and the Joint Statement of 23 May;

3. Reaffirms all its relevant resolutions on Cyprus , in particular resolution 1251 (1999) of 29 June 1999 and subsequent resolutions;

4. Expresses its full support for UNFICYP and decides to extend its mandate for a further period ending 15 December 2008;

5. Calls on both sides to continue to engage, as a matter of urgency and while respecting UNFICYP’s mandate, in consultations with UNFICYP on the demarcation of the buffer zone, and on the United Nations 1989 aide-memoire, with a view to reaching early agreement on outstanding issues;

6. Calls on the Turkish Cypriot side and Turkish forces to restore in Strovilia the military status quo which existed there prior to 30 June 2000;

7. Requests the Secretary-General to submit a report on implementation of this resolution by 1 December 2008 and to keep the Security Council updated on events as necessary;

8. Welcomes the efforts being undertaken by UNFICYP to implement the Secretary-General’s zero tolerance policy on sexual exploitation and abuse and to ensure full compliance of its personnel with the United Nations code of conduct, requests the Secretary-General to continue to take all necessary action in this regard and to keep the Security Council informed, and urges troop-contributing countries to take appropriate preventive action including the conduct of pre-deployment awareness training, and to take disciplinary action and other action to ensure full accountability in cases of such conduct involving their personnel;

9. Decides to remain seized of the matter.

 

S/2008/353 – Report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations operation in Cyprus

United Nations

S/2008/353

  Security Council Distr.: General

2 June 2008

Original: English

 


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

I. Introduction

 

1.       The present report on the United Nations operation in Cyprus covers developments from 16 November 2007 to 23 May 2008 and brings up to date the record of activities carried out by the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) pursuant to Security Council resolution 186 (1964) and subsequent Council resolutions, most recently resolution 1789 (2007).

2.       As at 15 May 2008, the strength of the military component stood at 853, including all ranks, and the strength of the police component stood at 69 (see annex I).

 

         II.   Good offices mission and other developments

 

3.       Since my previous report (S/2007/699 and Corr.1), a number of significant developments have taken place. The February 2008 elections in the Republic of Cyprus brought to power Demetris Christofias who, immediately upon assuming office, expressed his intention to reach out to the Turkish Cypriots and their leadership. For his part, Mehmet Ali Talat, the Turkish Cypriot leader, congratulated Mr. Christofias and expressed hope for the start of a new era in Cyprus.

4.       On 21 March, only three weeks after Mr. Christofias’ inauguration, the two leaders met in the presence of my then Special Representative and agreed on a path towards a comprehensive settlement (see annex II). The agreement entailed the establishment of a number of working groups, to consider the core issues pertaining to an eventual settlement plan, and of technical committees, to seek immediate solutions to everyday problems arising from the division of the island. They also agreed to meet again in three months to review the work of the working groups and the technical committees and, using their results, to start full-fledged negotiations under United Nations auspices. In addition, the leaders agreed to meet as and when needed prior to the commencement of full-fledged negotiations. Moreover, they decided to open a crossing at Ledra Street in the centre of old town Nicosia, which had for many years been a symbol of the division of Cyprus.

5.       On 26 March, representatives of the leaders agreed to establish six working groups on governance and power-sharing, European Union matters, security and guarantees, territory, property and economic matters, as well as seven technical committees on crime and criminal matters, economic and commercial matters, cultural heritage, crisis management, humanitarian matters, health and the environment. Over the following month, the representatives met almost on a daily basis, in the presence of my acting Special Representative, to determine the specific issues to be covered by the groups and committees. On 14 April, they requested the United Nations by way of letters to “provide the required infrastructure and personnel support to allow the parties to carry forward the process” leading to a comprehensive settlement. On 22 April, the groups and committees began to meet. They have been coming together on a regular basis since then, as foreseen by the leaders, and facilitated by the United Nations.

6.       In late March, I dispatched the Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, Lynn Pascoe, to Cyprus and a week later to Greece and Turkey so as to assess the situation and to determine how the United Nations could best support the process agreed to on 21 March. In Cyprus, he met three times with Mr. Christofias and Mr. Talat. He also met with Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot political party leaders and civil society representatives. In Greece and Turkey, he met with the respective Foreign Ministers and senior Foreign Ministry officials. All parties confirmed their commitment to reaching a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem under my auspices and their willingness to support and engage fully and in good faith to achieve that goal.

7.       In mid-April, the Under-Secretary-General briefed the Security Council on the outcome of his mission. The President of the Council subsequently issued a statement (S/PRST/2008/9) in which he said the Council welcomed the 21 March agreement and expressed the hope that the results of the preparatory period would build trust, momentum and a sense of common interest in the search for a just and lasting solution. The Council also supported my readiness to assist the parties in Cyprus and, should progress warrant it, the appointment of a Special Adviser after the initial preparatory phase.

8.       As agreed on 7 May (see para. 26 below), the leaders held an official meeting on 23 May, hosted by my new Special Representative, Tayé-Brook Zerihoun, who assumed his position on 13 May. Following the meeting, they issued a joint statement (see annex III) reaffirming their commitment to a bizonal, bicommunal federation with political equality, as defined in relevant Security Council resolutions. They also said in the statement that the partnership would have a Federal Government with a single international personality, as well as a Turkish Cypriot Constituent State and a Greek Cypriot Constituent State, which would be of equal status. At the instruction of the leaders, their representatives would examine the results of the technical committees 15 days after the official meeting and consider civilian and military confidence-building measures, including Limnitis/Yesilirmak and other crossing points. The leaders also decided to meet again in the second half of June to make a new assessment.

9.       In early January, I met with the President of Turkey, Abdullah Gül, who expressed Turkey’s support for a comprehensive settlement under United Nations auspices. Also in January, I met with the Prime Minister of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who did not anticipate any significant developments until after the February elections in the Republic of Cyprus. To both, I stressed the importance of generating an atmosphere in Cyprus conducive to the building of trust. On 13 March, on the margins of the summit of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, held in Dakar, I met with Mr. Talat, who opined that the Cyprus problem was entering a “new promising era” and stated that he looked forward to the meeting with the recently elected Mr. Christofias (see para. 3 above).

 

        III.   Activities of the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus

 

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

 

10.     During the last reporting period, significant confidence-building measures were agreed upon with the opposing forces during the last reporting period. In December, guidelines were agreed upon with the Turkish Forces for the clearance of mines in the remaining areas attributed to their side, with the exception of a single field south of Varosha. The opening of the Ledra Street crossing was another case where UNFICYP fostered a breakthrough agreement between the sides (see para. 13 below). While minor violations along the ceasefire lines associated with ill-discipline of troops and attempts at low-level intimidation and provocation of the opposing side remained commonplace, the overall security situation remained stable. UNFICYP continues to make concerted efforts to forge closer liaison ties with the opposing forces; robust mechanisms are now in place, in all sectors, to ensure that issues which arise are resolved quickly and at the appropriate level.

11.     The total number of violations and other incidents reported during the current reporting period was 354. That figure represents a decrease of 11 from the last reporting period and a decrease of 97 from the same reporting period in 2007. Typical violations were minor in nature and had little effect on the stability of the ceasefire lines. Such violations included unauthorized attempts to improve or repair military positions, minor incursions into the buffer zone, the overmanning of observation posts and the photographing of positions of the opposing side.

12.     A number of airspace violations were reported during the reporting period. In December, a C-130 Hercules aircraft was observed over the buffer zone; the aircraft dropped two parachutists, who landed south of the National Guard ceasefire line. A National Guard Mi-35P (Hind) attack helicopter was reported, apparently on a training or familiarization task, overflying the buffer zone in January. In addition, the Turkish Forces routinely employed helicopters to resupply and rotate troops through positions in the Kokkina pocket, flying very close to the buffer zone.

13.     In order to implement the 21 March decision of the leaders and prepare for the opening of the crossing point at Ledra Street, UNFICYP liaised extensively with senior commanders of the opposing forces to agree on the military-technical terms. Following a series of meetings between UNFICYP and senior officers from the Turkish Forces, an agreement was reached on 25 March on technical terms for the clearance of mines and explosive munitions from Ledra Street, the securing of the facades of buildings along the street, which was co-funded by the European Union and carried out by the Partnership for the Future programme of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and on the running of the crossing point. On 3 April, UNFICYP conducted a major security operation to support the opening of the crossing point. The principal tasks undertaken included monitoring the withdrawal of National Guard and Turkish Forces/Turkish Cypriot Security Forces soldiers from their respective positions on either side of the crossing, escorting members of the political and diplomatic communities into the buffer zone for the opening ceremony and facilitating press coverage.

14.     Following the opening of the Ledra Street crossing point, an incident occurred in the area on the evening of 3 April that resulted in a brief closing of the crossing point. Although the situation was quickly resolved by UNFICYP and the crossing point reopened later that night, it showed that both sides need to demonstrate cooperation and restraint in the course of managing the crossing point.

15.     Since then, the crossing point has functioned without problems and is used by thousands of people from both sides on a daily basis. The highly symbolic opening has translated into an important confidence-building factor in relations between the two communities, strengthening the trust of citizens on both sides of the island that the ongoing negotiations can yield tangible results.

16.     The Turkish Forces continued to impose restrictions on the movement of UNFICYP. Measures included the continued denial of routes on the Karpas peninsula and the imposition of tight controls on access to, and the conduct of operations within, the fenced area of Varosha, as noted in my previous report. In one instance, the UNFICYP Commanding Officer of sector 4 was denied entry to Varosha to inspect troops under his command deployed in the fenced area. The United Nations continues to hold the Government of Turkey responsible for the status quo in Varosha. In an unexpected change from previous practice, controls were imposed by the Turkish Forces that restrict the use of established civilian crossing points through the buffer zone by United Nations personnel travelling in plain clothes or off-duty in United Nations marked vehicles. In another case, the Turkish Forces repeatedly protested flights by United Nations helicopters over their observation post on the Pyla plateau.

17.     The opposing forces conducted low-level training at observation posts and near the buffer zone but refrained from conducting major exercises or manoeuvres. In December, the Turkish Forces conducted training that included the firing of mortar illumination rounds and of flares in the vicinity of their ceasefire line. Both sides completed terrain briefings at observation posts to orient mobilized reservists and, as a result, substantially overmanned those positions. It is hoped that both sides will refrain in future from conducting such major exercises as previously held (Exercise Nikiforos and Exercise Toros), since such restraint would help to build further confidence.

18.     Positions established by both forces in the Dherinia area, which violate the status quo in the area, referred to in my last report and my reports of 1 December 2006 (S/2006/931) and 4 June 2007 (S/2007/328), remain unchanged. The Turkish Forces retain the checkpoint in the Laroujina pocket, referred to in my last report and my report of 23 May 2006 (S/2006/315), contrary to the standing local agreement negotiated with UNFICYP. The Turkish Forces have completed regular inspection of the liaison post at Strovilia and have repeatedly overmanned the position in violation of the military status quo in the area.

 

         B.    Demining activity in the buffer zone

 

19.     Following a protracted series of meetings that commenced in October 2006, guidelines for the clearance of 16 suspected mined areas attributed to the Turkish Forces were formally agreed upon. The Turkish Forces have yet to agree to the clearance of several additional mined areas of unknown origin, as well as the last remaining minefield attributed to the Turkish Forces, which is located in the Dherinia area, south of Varosha.

20.     Since agreement on the current guidelines was reached, the Turkish Forces have provided minefield records and maps for the 16 suspected mined areas attributed to their side. The records show 26 separate minefields within the 16 suspected areas, an increase of 67 per cent in newly reported areas since the inception of the programme. In total, the minefields contain an estimated 20,000 landmines (5,000 anti-tank mines, 15,000 anti-personnel mines and 81 booby traps), a figure that exceeds all previous estimates. Work is ongoing in those areas.

21.     The Mine Action Centre, established under the UNDP Partnership for the Future programme, is currently funded by the European Union until December 2008. Operations to be completed under the current guidelines agreed upon with the Turkish Forces are likely to extend beyond that period. Additional funding will thus be required to complete the clearance of the 26 minefields.

22.     On 28 March, a deminer suffered traumatic injuries in a mine explosion, as a result of which he lost a limb. The deminer, a national of Mozambique, was medically evacuated to Johannesburg, South Africa, for treatment and prosthesis. That tragic incident serves as a reminder of the enduring threat posed by landmines in the buffer zone.

 

             C.    Restoration of normal conditions and humanitarian functions

 

23.     Cypriots from both sides continued to seek UNFICYP facilitation on various issues. The requests for facilitation ranged from religious and educational issues, the conduct of commemorative and sociocultural events, the evacuation of patients and the transfer of the deceased, to law enforcement matters. UNFICYP continued to support intercommunal initiatives across the island and to provide humanitarian assistance to communities living on the opposite side.

24.     During the reporting period, UNFICYP recorded approximately 1 million crossings through the buffer zone. Total crossings for the month following the opening of Ledra Street exceeded the number recorded during the same period in 2007 by more than 50 per cent. That figure illustrates the significant positive impact which the opening of Ledra Street has had on contacts between the two communities. During the reporting period, goods worth approximately €662,400 crossed from the south to the north and goods worth approximately €2 million crossed in the opposite direction.

25.     Also during the reporting period, UNFICYP facilitated 77 bicommunal events, which brought together 4,117 persons from both communities. Those events were held at Ledra Palace Hotel in the buffer zone, which continues to be considered by both sides as a neutral venue where members of the two communities can jointly discuss issues of common interest.

26.     Regular monthly meetings between Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot political party leaders continued to be held at the Ledra Palace Hotel under the auspices of the Embassy of Slovakia. In keeping with the agreement reached on a range of bicommunal confidence-building measures, as mentioned in my last report, on 6 December 2007, with UNFICYP facilitation, political party leaders made a joint visit to the Ledra Street crossing as a gesture of support to its then prospective opening. The two community leaders joined political party leaders during a social event on 7 May 2008 for an informal exchange of views on the current situation in Cyprus.

27.     During the reporting period, UNFICYP carried out 62 humanitarian convoys and visits in support of 375 Greek Cypriots and 136 Maronites living in the northern part of the island. UNFICYP also continued to assist Turkish Cypriots in the southern part in obtaining identity documents, housing, welfare services, medical care, employment and education. The mission continued to receive with concern reports about the demolition of Greek Cypriot houses in the north, as described in my last report. That included demolitions carried out in the village of Kondemenos in Kyrenia without the consent of the Greek Cypriot owners of the properties. Since 2003, UNFICYP has received 54 requests by Greek Cypriot and Maronite internally displaced and refugee families that wish to return and permanently reside in the north. Those requests are pending owing to differences between the two sides over the criteria of eligibility for permanent returns.

28.     As mentioned in my last report, a Turkish-language primary school in Limassol is still not operational. On 26 March, the Supreme Court of the Republic of Cyprus rendered its decision on a lawsuit filed by the Cyprus Turkish Teachers’ Trade Union on the constitutional right of Turkish-speaking citizens of the Republic of Cyprus to receive education in their mother tongue. The Supreme Court, in its decision, rejected the case, arguing that the Republic of Cyprus had made adequate provisions for the education of Turkish-speaking children through the existing school system and citing the lack of interest from the Turkish-speaking community in Limassol.

29.     UNFICYP continued discussions with concerned parties on the management of civilian activities in the buffer zone, outside civil use areas, without destabilizing the status quo between the opposing forces. To that end, coordination arrangements were established with relevant authorities to address the trend of unauthorized construction, including large-scale commercial projects, with potential for tension in the buffer zone, in particular by persons from the Greek Cypriot community. During the reporting period, the mission authorized 27 projects in the buffer zone, outside the civil use area, including agricultural irrigation infrastructure, maintenance of rural roads and housing.

30.     In the mixed village of Pyla in the buffer zone, UNFICYP continued liaising with the two communities to assist in preserving good relations between them and facilitating civilian undertakings outside the civil use area. Regrettably, during the reporting period, unknown individuals repeatedly perpetrated acts of vandalism at the two Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot primary schools. On 1 April, the Greek Cypriot side violated the status quo in Pyla by simultaneously flying the national flags of Greece and the Republic of Cyprus at the Greek Cypriot Sports Club. According to arrangements monitored by UNFICYP, only one of those flags should be flown there on three designated days of the year. Similar arrangements are in place for Turkish Cypriot buildings in Pyla. UNFICYP mediated between the two communities to defuse any potential for tension. The two Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot mukhtars of the village have since met in a joint council in which they agreed, among other issues, to resolve the incidents and work together on bicommunal initiatives. On 6 December, 19 March and 9 May, primary and secondary school students from the two communities participated in sports activities in Pyla, with UNFICYP facilitation.

31.     Despite UNFICYP efforts, as described in my last report, the two sides have yet to agree on the modalities to address the issue of preservation, renovation and access to sites and icons of religious and cultural significance on both sides of the island. During the reporting period, UNFICYP facilitated four religious and commemorative events. On 1 December and on 8 March, about 50 Greek Cypriot worshipers held services at the Temple of Apostle Barnabas in the north. On 18 April, 250 Greek Cypriot students gathered at the Church of Ayios Neophytos in the buffer zone in the area of Troulli to celebrate the international day of monuments and sites. On 28 April, 200 Greek Cypriots participated in the annual pilgrimage to the Varisha Church in the buffer zone, west Nicosia. On 1 May, over 250 Greek Cypriots attended prayers at the Church of Ayios Georgios Soleas in the buffer zone.

32.     UNFICYP continued to liaise between the two sides on law enforcement and issues related to crossings through the buffer zone. Since my last report, the mission facilitated 29 medical evacuations and the transfer of the remains of 5 Greek Cypriots to the north for burial in their villages, in the Karpas area in the north. Regular prison visits and interviews with inmates and relevant officials continued. There are currently seven Turkish Cypriots detained in the south and two Greek Cypriots detained in the north.

33.     Further to my last report, in which I provided information about the escape of two prisoners from Nicosia Central Prison, the refusal of the authorities in the north to return the Turkish Cypriot fugitive remains a contentious matter. UNFICYP is preparing a draft protocol to deal with such incidents in future.

34.     UNFICYP continued to develop working relations with police forces on both sides of the buffer zone. Its relations with the Cyprus police have been positive and constructive. By sharing their operational information with UNFICYP, the Cyprus police have taken a step towards developing cooperation in fighting crime on the island. Relations between United Nations police and the Turkish Cypriot police were developing at a slower pace. Despite efforts by UNFICYP, the Turkish Cypriot side was often reluctant to enter into direct cooperation with United Nations police.

35.     The extensive illegal dumping of waste in the buffer zone continues to cause environmental and ecological damage. On a daily basis, UNFICYP patrols have encountered individuals illegally dumping waste material. At the initiative of the mission, a survey of illegal dump sites in the buffer zone, some of which contain asbestos and other toxic waste, was conducted in April. That first survey is a significant step towards removing waste from the numerous extensive dump sites in the zone.

 

     IV.   Committee on Missing Persons in Cyprus

 

36.     During the reporting period, the Committee on Missing Persons pursued its bicommunal project on the exhumation, identification and return of the remains of missing persons. To date, the remains of nearly 400 individuals have been exhumed on both sides of the buffer zone by teams made up of Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot scientists. In January, following 18 months of training, the Argentine Forensic Anthropology Team handed over full operational responsibility for exhumations to the Cypriot scientists. The remains of over 265 individuals have undergone examination at the Committee’s bicommunal anthropological laboratory in the United Nations Protected Area in Nicosia. Following DNA genetic analysis, 91 families received the remains of their identified missing relatives.

37.     The Committee on Missing Persons continued to benefit from broad political and public support. However, I urge all parties concerned to take every possible action in order to speed up the exhumation process.

 

          V.   Financial and administrative aspects

 

38.     As indicated in my last report, the General Assembly, by its resolution 61/280, appropriated the amount of $46.6 million gross for the maintenance of UNFICYP for the period from 1 July 2007 to 30 June 2008, inclusive of the voluntary contribution of one third of the cost of the Force, equivalent to $15.5 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.

39.     My proposed budget for the maintenance of UNFICYP for the period from 1 July 2008 to 30 June 2009, which amounts to some $54.9 million, is currently under consideration by the General Assembly during the second part of its resumed sixty-second session. Should the Security Council decide to extend the mandate of the Force beyond 15 June 2008, as indicated in paragraph 50 below, the cost of the maintenance of the Force would be limited to the amount approved by the Assembly.

40.     As at 31 March 2008, the total outstanding assessed contributions to the special account for UNFICYP for the period from 16 June 1993 to 15 June 2008 amounted to $19.1 million. The total outstanding assessed contributions for all peacekeeping operations as at the same date amounted to $1,625,200.

41.     As at 31 March 2008, amounts owed to troop contributors totalled $20.3 million. As a result of the delay in the receipt of assessed contributions, reimbursements for troop- and contingent-owned equipment costs have only been made for the period up to 30 September 2006 and 31 March 2006, respectively.

 

   VI.   Observations

 

42.     During the reporting period, the situation in Cyprus remained calm and stable, with no major incidents along the ceasefire lines. Both opposing forces generally cooperated well and maintained good working relations with UNFICYP. Improved cooperation in certain areas between UNFICYP and authorities on both sides resulted in better control of civilian activities in the buffer zone, although both sides have yet to formally accept the 1989 aide-memoire used by the United Nations to regulate activities in the area. With the political process delicately poised, I appeal to both sides to continue to refrain from acts which could lead to instability in the buffer zone.

43.     A window of opportunity for Cypriots to finally resolve the Cyprus problem is clearly open. It is particularly heartening that over the past months, the two leaders have already taken decisive steps towards their shared objective of resuming negotiations aimed at a comprehensive settlement. What is especially encouraging is that the leaders reconfirmed, at their meeting on 23 May, the broad outline of a solution, based on a bizonal, bicommunal federation with political equality, as defined by the Security Council in its relevant resolutions, and a partnership comprising a Federal Government with a single international personality, as well as a Turkish Cypriot Constituent State and a Greek Cypriot Constituent State, with equal status. The agreement of 21 March, the subsequent active engagement in substance, and the joint statement of 23 May are clear indicators of the renewed political will to seek a solution to the Cyprus problem. I am gratified to see both leaders, whose vision and commitment I commend, taking ownership of, and full responsibility for, the process.

44.     I wish to strongly encourage the parties to build on the present momentum and continue using the current preparatory period to identify to the greatest extent possible areas of convergence as well as disagreement, while preparing options, where feasible, on the more sensitive elements for the two leaders to consider once formal negotiations begin. In the light of further momentum created by the leaders on 23 May, the working groups and the technical committees may wish to increase the pace of their meetings, not least because their results will be examined by the leaders’ representatives in early June. It is my hope that the parties will record substantive results during that phase for the leaders to use to start full-fledged negotiations. In that regard, the planned meeting between the leaders in the second half of June may prove to be pivotal. I am firmly committed to helping them move forward to the formal talks as expeditiously and smoothly as possible, and intend to appoint a Special Adviser at the appropriate time. I will keep the Council informed of further developments and progress in that regard.

45.     The establishment of economic, social, cultural, sporting or similar ties and contacts will help ease the sense of isolation felt by the Turkish Cypriot community and benefit all Cypriots by helping to build trust. It will also impact positively on the ongoing efforts. As I stated in my last report, the reunification of the island is more likely to occur, and in as seamless a manner as possible, if greater economic and social parity between the sides is achieved expeditiously.

46.     The coming period will not be easy and may require major compromises. It is therefore important for all parties to foster an environment that is conducive to moving the process forward. A flourishing and engaged civil society and an informed citizenry are important elements in that endeavour. Those elements will help Cypriots understand what they will be called to agree upon, so that any future settlement will be sustainable. I encourage the sides to find the best means to facilitate the active involvement of Cypriot civil society in the debate on the future of their country.

47.     The establishment of the crossing at Ledra Street is emblematic of what can be achieved with the requisite political will. As per the joint statement of 23 May, the representatives of the leaders will consider other civilian and military confidence‑building measures, including the opening of the Limnitis/Yesilirmak and additional crossing points. The implementation of those and other confidence‑building measures, aimed at improving the daily lives of Cypriots, would be welcome.

48.     I note with satisfaction the resumption of the mine clearance process, which I hope will eventually lead to the complete demining of the buffer zone. At the same time, I regret the accident involving a United Nations deminer from Mozambique — a reminder to the two communities of the dangers in the buffer zone and the need to cooperate with UNFICYP in that important area.

49.     I am gratified that the Committee on Missing Persons continues its humanitarian work unhindered and in a depoliticized manner. I am confident that an atmosphere of restraint and respect can allow that important bicommunal activity to contribute to greater understanding and reconciliation between the communities.

50.     In the light of the foregoing, in the absence of a comprehensive settlement, notwithstanding improved prospects in recent months owing to the commitment of the parties concerned, I believe that UNFICYP continues to play a vital role on the island. I therefore recommend that the Security Council extend the mandate of UNFICYP by a further period of six months, until 15 December 2008.

51.     In conclusion, I would like to express my appreciation to Michael Møller for his dedicated service for over two years as my Special Representative and Chief of Mission, whose efforts to rebuild trust and dialogue between the two sides ensured that it was possible to move forward once the conditions were suitable; and to Major General Rafael Barni for his command of the Force. I also extend my appreciation to Elizabeth Spehar, who acted as my Special Representative in April 2008, to Tayé‑Brook Zerihoun, my new Special Representative and Chief of Mission, and Rear Admiral Mario Sanchez Debernardi, my new Force Commander, 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 I

                 Countries providing military and civilian police personnel (as at 16 May 2008)

 

 

Country

Military personnel

Argentina*

291

Austria

5

Canada

1

Hungary

84

Slovakia**

200

United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

272

      Total

853

 

 

Country

United Nations police

Argentina

4

Australia

15

Bosnia and Herzegovina

2

Croatia

4

El Salvador

7

India

7

Ireland

19

Italy

4

Netherlands

7

      Total

69

 

*  The Argentine contingent includes soldiers from Brazil (1), Chile (14) and Paraguay (14).

**  The Slovakian contingent includes soldiers from Croatia (4).

 

Annex II

 

                 Statement of the two leaders read by Michael Møller, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Chief of Mission of the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus following the meeting on 21 March 2008

 

I am very pleased to announce the following on behalf of the two leaders.

The leaders met today in a very positive and cordial atmosphere and exchanged views on a number of issues, achieving a great degree of convergence. They have decided to ask their respective advisers to meet this coming week in order to set up a number of working groups and technical committees, and establish their agendas, and to do so in the most expeditious way possible.

In taking full responsibility for the conduct of future negotiations, the leaders have also agreed to meet three months from now to review the work of the working groups and technical committees, and using their results, to start full-fledged negotiations under the auspices of the Secretary-General of the United Nations.

The leaders have also agreed to meet as and when needed prior to the commencement of their formal negotiations.

The leaders have also agreed that Ledra Street will, as soon as technically possible, open and function in accordance with the established practices at other crossings.

The issue of the opening of the Limnitis crossing and other crossings is also on the agenda for the coming meetings of their advisers.

 

Annex III

 

                 Joint statement made by Greek Cypriot leader Demetris Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat on 23 May 2008

 

The leaders today had genuine and fruitful discussions, and reviewed the results achieved pursuant to the 21 March agreement.

They reaffirmed their commitment to a bizonal, bicommunal federation with political equality, as defined by relevant Security Council resolutions. This partnership will have a Federal Government with a single international personality, as well as a Turkish Cypriot Constituent State and a Greek Cypriot Constituent State, which will be of equal status.

They instructed their representatives to examine, within 15 days, the results of the technical committees.

The representatives will consider civilian and military confidence-building measures. They will also pursue the opening of Limnitis/Yesilirmak and other crossing points.

The leaders decided to come together again in the second half of June to make a new assessment.