November 25, 2017

S/1999/1203 – Report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations operation in Cyprus

United Nations

S/1999/1203

  Security Council Distr.: General

29 November 1999

Original: English

 


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

(for the period from 10 June to 29 November 1999)

I. INTRODUCTION

1. The present report on the United Nations operation in Cyprus covers developments from 10 June to 29 November 1999 and brings up to date the record of activities of the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) pursuant to Security Council resolution 186 (1964) of 4 March 1964 and subsequent Security Council resolutions, most recently resolution 1251 (1999) of 29 June 1999, as well as of my mission of good offices pursuant to Security Council resolution 1250 (1999) of 29 June 1999.

 

II. ACTIVITIES OF THE FORCE

A. Maintenance of the ceasefire and military status quo

2. During the period under review, the situation along the ceasefire lines remained essentially stable, although there were numerous minor but provocative incidents, particularly in the area of Nicosia, where the positions of the opposing forces are in close proximity. These incidents included the pointing and cocking of weapons, laser and searchlight illumination, the shouting of insults and stone-throwing. Military construction along the ceasefire lines continued on both sides, including minefield refurbishment and the construction of anti-tank ditches by the National Guard.

3. There were several violations by the National Guard in the area of Athienou. On 17 October, a military ceremony was held in Athienou in the buffer zone, attended by the Commander of the National Guard and 60 armed soldiers. This was protested by UNFICYP. At the beginning of November, UNFICYP noticed that a house in Athienou had been equipped with additional telephone lines and a very high frequency antenna. Inside the house, a military map and National Guard personnel in uniform could be seen, creating the appearance of a military command post. UNFICYP raised the matter with the National Guard and the activities at the house ceased. UNFICYP also found five machine gun trenches near Athienou, which have now been filled in.

4. The annual National Guard exercise, “Nikiforos”, took place from 2 to 7 October 1999. The profile and duration of the exercise was reduced from previous years. With the exception of large convoys using highways that cross parts of the United Nations buffer zone, the exercise did not affect the military status quo along the ceasefire lines. During the traditional National Guard parade on 1 October, the TOR-M1 low to medium altitude surface-to-air missile system was publicly displayed for the first time. The annual Turkish Forces exercise “TOROS II” took place from 25 to 27 November; it too was on a smaller scale than in previous years.

5. UNFICYP continued to monitor the fenced area of Varosha. Some alterations of the status quo, including the construction and opening of a supermarket, the repositioning of a fence to increase the area used for public access to the beach and minor modifications to existing properties, were observed. The United Nations continues to hold the Government of Turkey is responsible for the maintenance of the status quo in Varosha.

6. Crossings of the eastern maritime security line by Greek Cypriots boats increased significantly during the summer holiday season, despite frequent public warnings by UNFICYP. These crossings are provocative vis-ΰ-vis the Turkish Forces and on occasion caused them to fire warning shots.

7. During the period under review, more hunters penetrated deeper into the buffer zone and were more aggressive towards UNFICYP personnel than in previous years.

8. There were no significant developments concerning the matters addressed in paragraphs 3 to 9 of Security Council resolution 1251 (1999).

 

B. Restoration of normal conditions and humanitarian functions

9. On-island contact between the two communities remained very limited owing to the restrictions imposed by Turkish Cypriot authorities. However, an international open house, organized by UNFICYP on United Nations Day, was attended by some 5,000 people, of whom more than 3,000 were Turkish Cypriots. On 12 November, a Turkish and a Greek television station organized and aired a debate attended by Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot politicians, business personalities and journalists at the Ledra Palace Hotel.

10. UNFICYP continued to promote civilian activities in the buffer zone, subject to operational and security requirements. New regulations related to farming at night and the burning of fields were introduced to increase safety. UNFICYP maintained close cooperation with both sides in order to resolve problems concerning water, electricity and sewage. In the mixed village of Pyla, UNFICYP continued to promote stability and the well-being of residents.

11. On 24 June 1999, 234 sick children and their caregivers visited the Apostolos Andreas Monastery on the Karpas Peninsula. Another group of 963 Greek Cypriots undertook the same pilgrimage on 15 August 1999. Two groups of Turkish Cypriots, numbering 137 and 829 persons, visited the memorial site in Kokkina on 26 June and 8 August 1999, respectively. UNFICYP facilitated all of these visits.

12. UNFICYP carried out its mandated humanitarian tasks in support of the 432 Greek Cypriots and 159 Maronites living in the northern part of the island and the 310 Turkish Cypriots in the southern part who have made themselves known to the Force. As in the past, UNFICYP helped to arrange the annual delivery of school books to the Greek Cypriot school in Rizokarpaso. This year the delivery was delayed because the Turkish Cypriot authorities objected to the books on political grounds. On 17 November, 68 out of 120 books were distributed to the school. Another unresolved problem is the Turkish Cypriot practice of preventing the burial of Greek Cypriot residents in the Karpas Peninsula whenever their bodies have been temporarily brought to the southern part of the island for post mortem examinations. UNFICYP continued to press the Turkish Cypriot authorities to allow Greek Cypriots from the Peninsula to be buried there regardless of where and by whom the post mortem examinations were conducted.

 

III. MISSING PERSONS

13. During the period under review, the third member of the Committee on Missing Persons continued his consultations on both sides in order to resume the Committee’s activities. While these exchanges of views further clarified the respective positions of both sides, they did not resolve their differences. It is to be hoped that the two sides will assess the implications of this situation with due urgency and seriousness, with a view to overcoming the stalemate on this humanitarian issue.

 

IV. ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL ACTIVITIES OF THE UNITED NATIONS SYSTEM

14. The United Nations Development Programme, through the United Nations Office for Project Services, continued to implement its programme aimed at confidence-building by encouraging both communities to work together in the preparation and implementation of projects in areas of mutual concern, notably public health, environment, sanitation, water, urban renovation, preservation of cultural heritage, natural resources and education.

 

V. MISSION OF GOOD OFFICES OF THE SECRETARY-GENERAL

15. On 14 November 1999, in response to my invitation, both Mr. Glafcos Clerides and Mr. Rauf Denktash agreed to start proximity talks in New York on 3 December 1999 in order to prepare the ground for meaningful negotiations leading to a comprehensive settlement. I shall keep the Security Council informed of developments.

 

VI. ORGANIZATIONAL MATTERS

16. As of November 1999, UNFICYP comprised 1,219 troops and 35 civilian police. The military personnel are from Argentina (411), Austria (237), Canada (2), Finland (9), Hungary (111), Slovenia (29), the Netherlands (100), Ireland (5) and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (315). The Argentinean contingent includes eight soldiers from Bolivia (2), Brazil (2), Paraguay (1) and Uruguay (3). The civilian police are provided by Austria (20) and Ireland (15). UNFICYP currently has 234 civilian staff, of whom 37 were recruited internationally and 197 locally.

17. My Special Representative and Chief of Mission, Dame Ann Hercus, left at the end of September. Mr. James Holger has replaced her as Acting Special Representative and Chief of Mission. I have appointed Mr. Alvaro de Soto as my Special Adviser on Cyprus. He will take up residence on the island in the spring of 2000 as my Special Representative. Major-General Evergisto de Vergara continued as Force Commander, but will relinquish this post on 15 December 1999. I plan to write to the Security Council shortly about his replacement.

 

VII. FINANCIAL ASPECTS

18. The General Assembly, by its resolution 53/231 of 8 June 1999, appropriated the amount of $45,630,927 gross for the maintenance of UNFICYP for the 12-month period from 1 July 1999 to 30 June 2000. This amount includes the pledged voluntary contributions of one-third of the cost of the Force, equivalent to $14,630,810, from the Government of Cyprus and the annual pledge of $6.5 million from the Government of Greece.

19. Therefore, should the Security Council decide to extend the mandate of UNFICYP for a further period of six months as recommended in paragraph 22 below, the cost of maintaining the Force would be limited to the amount indicated above. Of that amount, some $12.25 million will be assessed on Member States.

20. As at 15 November 1999, unpaid assessments to the Special Account for UNFICYP from 16 June 1993 to 31 December 1999 amounted to $19.1 million. Total outstanding assessed contributions for all peacekeeping operations amounted to $1.7 billion.

 

VIII. OBSERVATIONS

21. During the past six months the situation along the ceasefire lines has remained stable. The prevention of incidents remains dependent entirely upon the discipline imposed upon the troops on both sides and upon their consistent cooperation with UNFICYP. This year’s United Nations Day celebration was a timely reminder that direct contact between Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots can positively influence the atmosphere.

22. Under the existing circumstances, the presence of UNFICYP on the island remains indispensable for the maintenance of the ceasefire between the two sides. Therefore, I recommend that the Security Council extend the mandate of the Force for a further period of 6 months, until 15 June 2000. I am consulting the parties on the matter and shall report to the Council as soon as the consultations have been completed.

23. In conclusion, I wish to express my appreciation to Dame Ann Hercus for her valuable contribution as my Special Representative and Chief of Mission in Cyprus and to Mr. James Holger who is currently the Acting Special Representative and Chief of Mission. I also wish to pay tribute to the Force Commander, Major-General Evergisto de Vergara, and to the men and women serving in UNFICYP for the efficiency and dedication with which they have discharged the responsibilities entrusted to them by the Security Council.

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