May 14, 2021

S/2001/534 – Report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations operation in Cyprus

United Nations


  Security Council Distr.: General

30 May 2001

Original: English



(for the period of 28 November 2000 to 29 May 2001)

  I.  Introduction


1.        The present report on the United Nations operation in Cyprus covers developments from 28 November 2000 to 29 May 2001 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 Council resolutions, most recently resolution 1331 (2000) of 13 December 2000.


  II.  Activities of the Force

  A. Maintenance of the ceasefire and the military status quo



2.        The military situation along the ceasefire lines remained calm. There were, however, small incidents caused by both the National Guard and the Turkish forces, mainly in Nicosia. These included stone throwing, verbal abuse and temporary moves forward into the unmanned locations. In one potentially more serious incident, a soldier from the Turkish forces fired two shots into the air near a United Nations officer protesting a construction by the Turkish forces.

3.        Air violations of the United Nations buffer zone decreased from 47 during the last reporting period to 33. Four were by National Guard aircraft, 8 by Turkish forces aircraft, 15 by light civilian aircraft from the south, 1 by a civilian aircraft from the north, 2 by Cyprus police helicopters and 3 by aircraft of unknown origin.

4.        Since December 2000, the National Guard has developed two major defensive works on its ceasefire line just outside the United Nations buffer zone near Pyla. UNFICYP protested this construction as incompatible with the military status quo, but work continued. In response, the Turkish forces constructed two berms and dug 120 metres of a new trench between existing positions at a Turkish forces post which is a permanent violation inside the United Nations buffer zone above Pyla. In spite of repeated demands by UNFICYP, the Turkish forces have refused to return this post to the status quo ante and recently added a new barbed wire fence to the north of this position. Reinforced concrete firing positions are also being installed along much of the National Guard ceasefire line.

5.        Crossings of the maritime security lines — the seaward extensions of the median line of the buffer zone, which vessels of either side are advised, for their own safety, not to cross — have continued. In the east, near Famagusta, there were hundreds of crossings by vessels from the south, mainly pleasure craft and fishing boats. Two police helicopters and, on one occasion, armed National Guard inflatables and coastguard vessels also crossed the lines. In the west, at the Kokkina pocket, the crossings were mainly by Turkish forces vessels using a shorter route on their supply runs to and from Kokkina.

6.        Restrictions imposed on UNFICYP by the Turkish Cypriot authorities and the Turkish forces since 1 July 2000 have remained in force, including the violation of the military status quo by the Turkish forces/Turkish Cypriot security forces in the village of Strovilia. Further, the restriction of movement along the Famagusta-Dherinia road, imposed on 1 November 2000, continued to prevent UNFICYP from monitoring the whole of the fenced area of Varosha. Observation by UNFICYP is now limited to the areas visible from static observation posts and a short patrol route well away from the fence. Within Varosha, the Turkish forces have continued renovations on some buildings. Additionally, the Turkish forces continued to fly flags on one of these buildings, in violation of the military status quo. The United Nations holds the Government of Turkey responsible for the maintenance of the status quo in Varosha. There were numerous incursions into the buffer zone by civilians, mainly Greek Cypriot farmers, villagers and workers who had failed to obtain the necessary permit from UNFICYP, and a large number by Greek Cypriot hunters.


  B.  Restoration of normal conditions and humanitarian functions


7.        Activities and contacts involving Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots continued. Activities organized with UNFICYP’s assistance at Ledra Palace included four meetings of political party representatives; an information technology conference; gatherings of businessmen and non-governmental organizations; and a large public event involving approximately 3,000 young people, organized by the youth branches of political parties. Other activities, outside the buffer zone, included a visit by members of a Turkish Cypriot political party to Limassol, and by members of a Greek Cypriot political party to Morphou; a students’ gathering at the University of Cyprus; and participation by students from the north and the south at a British Council-organized seminar which took place one day in the south and the following day in the north.  In some cases, the Turkish Cypriot authorities denied permission to Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots to cross the Turkish forces ceasefire line to take part in such events. Since March, they have required that all applicants (Greek Cypriots, Turkish Cypriots and foreigners) should personally fill in forms at Ledra crossing point and pay a fee of one pound (£1). Previously, the practice had been for the Turkish Cypriot host to apply for his/her Greek Cypriot guest. The new requirement led to the cancellation of some of the events.

8.        UNFICYP continued to perform its mandated humanitarian tasks in support of the 428 Greek Cypriots and 167 Maronites living in the northern part of the island and those Turkish Cypriots in the southern part who have made themselves known to the Force. The Turkish Cypriot authorities now require Greek Cypriots to apply in person five days in advance for permission to visit family members living in the north. They no longer accept applications submitted by UNFICYP, except in the case of schoolchildren whose parents live in the north.

9.        On 1 December 2000, Mr. Φmer Gazi Tekoğul, a Turkish Cypriot from the mixed village of Pyla, was arrested by the Cyprus police and charged with possession of heroin. The Turkish Cypriot authorities averred that the arrest had occurred in the United Nations buffer zone, where neither side can exercise authority, while the Cyprus police maintained that it occurred outside the buffer zone. UNFICYP’s own investigation did not yield sufficient evidence to confirm or refute either version. Mr. Tekoğul was tried in the district court in Larnaca and sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment. UNFICYP continues to provide humanitarian support to Mr Tekoğul by facilitating visits by family, friends and doctors.

10.      On 13 December 2000, Mr. Panicos Tsiakourmas, a Greek Cypriot, was arrested on suspicion of possessing cannabis and subsequently detained in the north. Although the Turkish Cypriot authorities maintained that he had been arrested in the north, the British police produced evidence that he was taken illegally and by force from the Eastern Sovereign Base area of Dhekelia and was not in possession of any narcotic substances at the time. On 26 April 2001, a Turkish Cypriot court found Mr. Tsiakourmas guilty and sentenced him to six months’ imprisonment. He was released immediately on the grounds of good behaviour and time served.

11.      In the mixed village of Pyla, in the buffer zone, there was some tension at the end of April, as a result of the raising of Turkish and Turkish Cypriot flags in several locations. This was in violation of an agreement reached among the two communities in the village and UNFICYP, which severely restricts the display of national symbols.

12.      UNFICYP assisted civilian activities in the buffer zone, for instance, by facilitating work to improve the water supply to the north, and escorting farmers working on their land in the buffer zone. UNFICYP also facilitated a visit by approximately 250 Greek Cypriots to a church in the buffer zone near Varisha, north-west of Lefka, to mark St. George’s day (22 April 2001).

13.      The United Nations Development Programme, (UNDP) through the United Nations Office for Project Services, continued to implement its programme aimed at promoting goodwill by encouraging Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots 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.

  C.  Missing persons


14.      In accordance with my letter addressed to the two leaders in May 2000, the First Assistant to the Third Member of the Committee on Missing Persons has worked with the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot members to overcome existing obstacles and enable the Committee to reach binding decisions and resume its activities. This effort continued. The Government of Cyprus also continued, in areas under its control, its unilateral programme of exhumation and identification of the remains of persons, some of whom had been previously listed as missing.

  III. Mission of good offices


15.      As I reported to the Council last December (see S/2000/1138), I had invited Mr. Glafcos Clerides and Mr. Rauf Denktash to attend proximity talks in Geneva in late January. My Special Adviser on Cyprus, Mr. Alvaro de Soto, travelled to the island in January 2001 for meetings with Mr. Clerides and Mr. Denktash, as well as to Greece and Turkey. Mr. Denktash asked that no date for proximity talks be set. It has not proved possible to resume talks during the reporting period. However, Mr. de Soto has continued to hold consultations on my behalf with a number of Governments and organizations, and he is proceeding with preparations and consultations so as to be of assistance to the parties at the appropriate time.


  IV.  Organizational matters


16.      As of May 2001, UNFICYP comprised 1,216 troops, 35 civilian police and 183 civilian staff, of whom 40 had been recruited internationally and 143 locally. The military personnel were from Argentina (410), Austria (245), Canada (2), Finland (6), Hungary (114), Ireland (5), the Netherlands (100), Slovenia (29), and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (305). The Argentinean contingent included nine soldiers from the following countries: Bolivia (two), Brazil (two), Chile (one), Paraguay (one) and Uruguay (three). The civilian police were from Australia (15) and Ireland (20).

17.      Austria and Slovenia will commence the withdrawal of their troops from the Mission on 5 June. The withdrawal will be completed in September. They will be replaced by Slovakian troops, whose advance team arrived on 27 May. The Netherlands company which was incorporated in the British contingent under a bilateral agreement will be withdrawn by 7 June and replaced by British troops.

18.      Mr. de Soto continued as my Special Adviser on Cyprus, Mr. Zbigniew Wlosowicz as Acting Special Representative and Chief of Mission, and Major General Victory Rana as Force Commander.

V.  Financial aspects


19.      The proposed budget for the maintenance of UNFICYP for the period from 1 July 2001 to 30 June 2002 is currently under consideration by the General Assembly. The cost of maintaining the Force is estimated at $42,389,219 gross ($40,697,145 net), including pledged voluntary contributions of one third of the cost of the Force from the Government of Cyprus ($13,565,715) and of $6.5 million from the Government of Greece. Should the Security Council decide to extend the mandate of the Force beyond 15 June 2001 for a further six-month period, an amount of $22,323,504 gross ($20,631,430 net) will be assessed on Member States.

20.      As of 30 April 2001, outstanding contributions to the Special Account for UNFICYP amounted to $20.3 million, representing some 10.7 per cent of total assessed contributions from 16 June 1993 to the period ending 15 June 2001.

  VI. Observations


21.      During the past six months, the situation along the ceasefire lines has remained stable. However, the conditions under which UNFICYP operated remained difficult, owing to the restrictions imposed on it by the Turkish Cypriot authorities and Turkish forces. These restrictions remained in force despite efforts to have them lifted and to have the military status quo ante at Strovilia restored.

22.      In the current circumstances, I consider the presence of UNFICYP essential for the maintenance of the ceasefire on the island. I therefore recommend that the Security Council extend the mandate of the Force for a further period of six months, until 15 December 2001.

23.      In conclusion, I wish to pay tribute to Mr. Alvaro de Soto, my Special Adviser, to Mr. Zbigniew Wlosowicz, the Acting Special Representative and Chief of Mission, to Major General Victory Rana, the Force Commander, and to the men and women serving with UNFICYP for the professionalism and dedication with which they have carried out their duties.