November 25, 2017

S/2004/427 – Report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations operation in Cyprus

United Nations

S/2004/427

  Security Council Distr.: General

26 May 2004

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 11 November 2003 to 20 May 2004 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) of 4 March 1964 and subsequent Council resolutions, the most recent of which was resolution 1517 (2003) of 24 November 2003.

2.       During this period, my Special Adviser on Cyprus , Alvaro de Soto , returned to Cyprus for the resumption of negotiations on the comprehensive settlement agreement, on which I am reporting separately. Zbigniew Wlosowicz continued as my acting Special Representative and Chief of Mission. Major General Hebert Figoli ( Uruguay ) was appointed as Force Commander on 7 January 2004 . As at 4 May 2004 , the strength of UNFICYP was 1,201 military personnel and 46 civilian police officers (see annex).

 

     II.    Activities of the Force 

 

             A.    Maintenance of the ceasefire and military status quo

3.       The military situation along the ceasefire lines remained generally calm and stable. The number of incidents such as construction, ill discipline and moves forward into the buffer zone was negligible.

4.       The number of air violations increased from 49 in the last reporting period to 67; 20 were by Turkish military aircraft, 2 by Greek military aircraft, 13 by Cypriot police helicopters and the remaining 32 were of unknown origin. In line with past experience for the season, there were fewer crossings of the maritime security lines, the seaward extension of the median line of the buffer zone that vessels from either side are advised not to cross.

5.       Restrictions imposed on UNFICYP in July 2000 by the Turkish forces/Turkish Cypriot security forces, partially eased in May 2003, continued to hinder the operations of UNFICYP, including in the fenced-in area of Varosha. The United Nations holds the Government of Turkey responsible for the maintenance of the status quo in Varosha. The violation of the military status quo in Strovilia persisted.

6.       In the latter half of the reporting period, UNFICYP conducted intense planning and training for a possible transition to a new United Nations operation in Cyprus , in the event of a settlement, while continuing to fulfil its existing mandate.

7.       UNFICYP continued to support the Mines Technical Adviser in preparing for the clearing of minefields in the buffer zone. It is hoped that mine clearance activities will commence in the summer after civilian contractors are selected and accredited.

8.       On 28 April, following the rejection of the proposed plan for a settlement by the Greek Cypriot side, and its acceptance by the Turkish Cypriot side, at separate and simultaneous referenda, the Council of the European Union adopted a regulation dealing with the movement of goods and people between the north and the south, following the entry of the divided Cyprus into the European Union. The regulation states explicitly that it does not affect the mandate of the United Nations in the buffer zone in any way.

 

           B.    Restoration of normal conditions and humanitarian functions

9.       As of 1 May 2004 , 3.7 million crossings by Greek Cypriots to the north and Turkish Cypriots to the south have taken place at the Ledra, Ayios Dometios/Metehan, Pergamos and Strovilia crossing points since 23 April 2003 when they were opened. UNFICYP continued to assist the orderly movement of civilians and vehicles through the buffer zone at these authorized crossing points. UNFICYP attended to, monitored and followed up on more than 50 cases of unauthorized crossings, thefts, traffic violations, accidents and unauthorized photography. The Greek Cypriot side pressed criminal charges in 16 cases involving Turkish Cypriots in the south and the Turkish Cypriot side pressed criminal charges in 38 cases involving Greek Cypriots in the north. UNFICYP visited Turkish Cypriots in the south and Greek Cypriots in the north detained as a result of these cases. Further, UNFICYP facilitated 32 cases of medical evacuations from the north to medical facilities in the south.

10.    During the reporting period, UNFICYP facilitated 138 bicommunal events at the Ledra Palace Hotel, bringing together 7,300 Greek and Turkish Cypriots. A concert in November 2003 attracted 1,500 youth, and a peace demonstration in March 2004 drew 500 participants from both communities. Other events included the monthly meetings of political leaders under the aegis of the Embassy of Slovakia. In addition, the United Nations Office for Project Services funded bicommunal presentations, language courses and musical events. UNFICYP also assisted in facilitating several bicommunal press conferences and seminars leading up to the 24 April 2004 referenda.

11.     UNFICYP continued to perform its mandated humanitarian tasks in support of the 411 Greek Cypriots and 153 Maronites living in the northern part of the island. Apart from regular welfare visits and ensuring delivery of humanitarian assistance, UNFICYP was involved in obtaining permission for elderly Greek Cypriots to return to their homes in the north. UNFICYP also assisted eight Turkish Cypriot families in the south to obtain birth certificates and other documentation as well as housing and medical care facilities.

12.    UNFICYP’s support for civilian activities in the buffer zone continued. UNFICYP also facilitated a project funded by the United Nations Office for Project Services, which started in February 2004 to restore a historic Venetian Castle in the mixed village of Pyla in the buffer zone. UNFICYP approved requests by Turkish Cypriots to modernize and expand their farms and a request by a Greek Cypriot to build a house in the civil-use area within the United Nations Protected Area. Furthermore, UNFICYP facilitated the annual visit of Greek Cypriots to St. George’s Church in Varisha in the buffer zone to commemorate St. George’s day.

 

     III.    Committee on Missing Persons

13.    In December 2003, I wrote to the two leaders noting that a solution to this humanitarian issue was overdue and that a fresh commitment to solve it was necessary. The Committee on Missing Persons should conclude its work without delay, taking full account of the agreement of 31 July 1997 . To that end, I suggested that the members of the Committee on Missing Persons resume formal meetings, with the participation of the third member ad interim. While both sides expressed readiness to follow my suggestions, no formal meetings took place during the reporting period. Meanwhile, the third member ad interim continued to work with the two sides to have the Committee on Missing Persons restart its activities. The Greek Cypriot side proceeded with its programme of exhumation and identification.

 

          IV.    Financial aspects

14.    As indicated in my previous report (S/2003/1078), the General Assembly, by its resolution 57/332 of 18 June 2003 , appropriated the amount of $43.8 million for the maintenance of UNFICYP for the period from 1 July 2003 to 30 June 2004 . That amount included the voluntary contribution of one third of the cost of the Force, equivalent to $14.6 million, from the Government of Cyprus and the voluntary contribution of $6.5 million from the Government of Greece.

15.    My proposed budget for the maintenance of UNFICYP for the period from 1 July 2004 to 30 June 2005 , which amounts to $47.4 million, is currently under consideration by the General Assembly. Should the Security Council decide to extend the mandate of UNFICYP for a further period of six months, the cost of maintaining the Force would be limited to the amount approved by the General Assembly.

16.    As at 30 April 2004 , the total outstanding assessed contributions to the special account for UNFICYP for the period from 16 June 1993 to 15 June 2004 amounted to $15.2 million. The total outstanding assessed contributions for all peacekeeping operations amounted to $1,273 million.

 

           V.    Observations

17.    The situation along the ceasefire lines remained calm. The continuous flow of people from both sides through the crossing points has now become a regular feature on the island. It is encouraging to see a further decrease in the already low number of incidents related to the crossings compared to the previous reporting period. I urge the Turkish Cypriot authorities to provide full freedom of movement for UNFICYP so that it can carry out its mandate more effectively.

18.    Following the referenda of 24 April, consultations have been conducted with both sides on the island and the guarantor powers, and I remain convinced that, in the absence of a comprehensive settlement, the presence of UNFICYP on the island continues to be necessary for the maintenance of the ceasefire. However, in view of the watershed vote of 24 April, and as part of an overall reappraisal of the United Nations peace activities in Cyprus, I intend to conduct a review, to be completed within three months, of UNFICYP’s mandate, force levels and concept of operations, in the light of developments on the ground, the positions of the parties and any views the Security Council might have. I will submit recommendations on the adjustments or restructuring that may be required. Meanwhile, I recommend that the Security Council extend the mandate of the Force for a further period of six months until 15 December 2004 .

19.    In conclusion, I wish to express my appreciation to Mr. de Soto , Mr. Wlosowicz, Major General Figoli and the men and women serving in UNFICYP for the efficiency and commitment with which they have carried out their responsibilities.

 

Annex

                  Countries providing military and civilian police personnel

(as of 4 May 2004 )

 

Country

Military personnel

Argentinaa

403

Austria

6

Canada

1

Finland

3

Hungary

122

Ireland

4

Slovakia

276

United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

386

      Total

1 201

 

 

 

Country

Civilian police

Australia

15

India

7

Ireland

20

Netherlands

4

      Total

46

 

a  The Argentine contingent includes soldiers from Bolivia (2), Brazil (2), Chile (32), Paraguay (32), Peru (2) and Uruguay (3).

 

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