December 16, 2017

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

Mr. Chairman,

At the outset I would like to express my deep appreciation to the Chairman of the Special Committee on Peace-Keeping Operations, Ambassador Ibrahim Gambari of Nigeria, and the other members of the Bureau, especially Ambassador Michel Duval of Canada (who chaired the open-ended working group) and to the Rapporteur of the Committee, Mr. Hossan Zaki of Egypt for his introduction of the Report of the Special Committee (A/54/87).

We pay high tribute to the outgoing Chairman of the Special Committee Ambassador Gambari for his dedication and commitment to the Committee’s work and wish him well on his return to Nigeria.

I would also like to thank the Under-Secretary General for Peace-Keeping Operations, Mr. Bernard Miyet, for his remarks at the opening of the Fourth Committee’s debate. This is a welcome practice which enriches our discussions and promotes fruitful dialogue on the item.

It gives my delegation special satisfaction to participate in this debate on the comprehensive review of the whole question of peacekeeping operations in all their aspects, a topic to which Cyprus attaches great importance.

As an EU associated state, Cyprus has aligned itself with the statement made by the distinguished Ambassador of Finland, on behalf of the European Union. I would therefore wish to address certain additional aspects of peacekeeping falling under the agenda item, from the perspective of our own experience and as host country to a long-standing UN Peacekeeping Operation, UNFICYP.

 

Mr. Chairman,

United Nations Peace-Keeping from its inception in 1948 to its present day evolution is a hallmark of the Organization’s efforts in the promotion and maintenance of international peace and security. Today, Peacekeeping Operations are multidimensional and complex, embracing a varied combination of security enhancing activities and have become a key element in the machinery of the United Nations in the field of maintenance of international peace and security.

It is now widely recognized that most operations combine more than one category of the strategies of prevention, peace-making, peacekeeping and post-conflict peace building, which require coordination. Parenthetically, I would add that a welcome development, in relation to the above strategies, is the increasing recourse to the International Court of Justice in parallel with other methods of dispute resolution, where judicial recourse may complement the work of the Security Council and the General Assembly.

In this regard, Cyprus is itself a test case of the relevance and effectiveness of peacekeeping and its mutually necessary components, namely peace-making and peace-building and an example that an intense peace-making effort must be pursued in parallel with every peacekeeping operation.

 

Mr. Chairman,

UNFICYP was established under Security Council resolution 186 of 1964 following a recourse in the Security Council by Cyprus against Turkey. In a complementary strategy, this enabling resolution, provided that a diplomatic effort for peaceful settlement, through the appointment of a UN mediator, be made in parallel with UNFICYP’s work. The mediator produced an exemplary report which, if accepted by all concerned, as was accepted by my Government, would have solved the problem as early in 1965, and would have made UNFICYP no longer necessary.

Following the 1974 invasion and the forcible division of the island, in dramatically changed circumstances, UNFICYP adjusted its mandate, supervised the cease-fire and to this day has been fulfilling its role and carrying out other functions to alleviate human suffering resulting from the continued military occupation.

Despite the repeatedly adopted UN resolutions, including binding resolutions of the Security Council, and the strenuous efforts of the Secretary-General through his Good Offices Mission and considerable diplomatic activity, the problem still remains unresolved.

The lesson to be drawn from the Cyprus peacekeeping efforts is that as long as one of the parties concerned is not willing to comply with the dictates of the international community, as spelled out in unanimously adopted and binding resolutions of the Security Council, and as long as the members of the international community are not willing or unable to act effectively in order to implement the resolutions for which they voted, peacemaking lags behind, resulting in the indefinite continuation, if not the perpetuation of the problem.

This is evidently an unsatisfactory situation to the country concerned, no less than to the UN contributor countries. The answer lies not in abandoning or questioning the peacekeeping effort, but, in the face of continued intransigence of one side, to press ahead with effective peacemaking through the implementation of the relevant Security Council resolutions.

In short, Mr. Chairman, peace-keeping and peace-making are complementary and when the peace-making strategy falls behind on account of one party, which flouts the wishes of the international community, the Security Council should act promptly and effectively through all the means available to it in the Charter to redress the situation.

 

Mr. Chairman,

Lastly, I would like to address two additional points which have been highlighted in our present debate and which currently pose serious challenge to the effective functioning of peace-keeping operations.

Effective peacekeeping operations must rest on a sure and stable financial footing. We would, therefore, reiterate the need for contributions to be paid in full, on time, and without conditions by member states. May I recall in relation to the financing of UNFICYP, that the Government of Cyprus voluntarily contributes 1/3 of the total cost of the Force. Also the Government of Cyprus, currently voluntarily contributes an additional 1/3 more than its assessed contribution to all UN Peacekeeping Operations which is a further manifestation of our commitment to UN peacekeeping.

The safety and security of personnel is also of utmost concern and of importance. We express our grave concern at the alarming number of attacks and acts of violence against United Nations and associated personnel. We welcome the entry into force of the Convention on the Safety of United Nations and Associated Personnel and urge further efforts aimed at ensuring the safety and security of UN peacekeepers.

In conclusion, I wish to pay tribute to those who gave their lives in the service of the United Nations, having made the ultimate sacrifice in the cause of peace. In Cyprus there is a road side memorial to three Austrian UN Peace-Keepers who were killed as a result of the napalm bombing of the Island in 1974. It is – simple and poignant – three blue helmets and a plaque which reads “Im Dienst des Friedens” – In the Service of Peace.

 

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.