May 18, 2021

S/2003/572 – Report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations operation in Cyprus

United Nations


  Security Council Distr.: General

27 May 2003

Original: English



(for the period from 16 November 2002 to 20 May 2003)

I. Introduction

1.       The present report on the United Nations operation in Cyprus covers developments from 16 November 2002 to 20 May 2003 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 1442 (2002) of 25 November 2002, as well as of my mission of good offices pursuant to Security Council resolution 1250 (1999) of 29 June 1999.

2.       During this period, Alvaro de Soto continued as my Special Adviser on Cyprus , Zbigniew Wlosowicz as my acting Special Representative and Chief of Mission and Lieutenant-General Jin Ha Hwang as the Force Commander. As at May 2003, the strength of UNFICYP stood at 1,228 military personnel and 35 civilian police officers (see annex).

II.    Activities of the Force


             A.    Maintenance of the ceasefire and military status quo

3.       The military situation along both ceasefire lines remained calm during the reporting period.

4.       Air violations of the United Nations buffer zone decreased from the 37 reported during the last reporting period to 9; 3 by Turkish military aircraft, 1 by the National Guard, 1 by a Greek Cypriot civilian light aircraft and 4 by police from the south.

5.       On 9 May 2003 , the Turkish Cypriot authorities slightly eased the restrictions they had imposed on UNFICYP’s movement in July 2000 (see S/2000/1138, paras. 4 and 5) by allowing UNFICYP to use the newly established crossing point at Ayios Dometios/Metehan. In addition, the Turkish Cypriots allowed limited use of the Pergamos and Strovilia crossing points for military personnel from Sector 4 only. Given the continuing violation of the status quo at Strovilia, UNFICYP uses only the Pergamos crossing. Subsequently, the Turkish Cypriot authorities limited UNFICYP’s use of the Ledra crossing point to official purposes only. All other restrictions remain, including those concerning access to the United Nations liaison post in the village of Strovilia . The Turkish forces/Turkish Cypriot security forces violation of the status quo in that village continue. In addition, the Turkish Cypriot authorities have started using a Greek Cypriot house for manning the newly established crossing point in Strovilia.

6.       The restriction of movement along the Famagusta-Dherinia road, imposed in November 2000, continued to constrain UNFICYP from monitoring the entire fenced-off area of Varosha. The United Nations holds the Government of Turkey responsible for maintaining the status quo in Varosha.

7.       Crossing of the maritime security lines — the seaward extension of the median line of the buffer zone, which vessels of either side are advised not to cross — continued. There were approximately 140 crossings of the western line by Turkish forces, all associated with re-supply runs to the Kokkina pocket. In the east, near Famagusta , there were more than 600 crossings of the maritime security line from the south by fishing boats, pleasure craft and police boats.

8.       Cyprus ’ instrument of ratification of the Ottawa Convention was deposited on 10 January 2003 . The earlier stated intention to remove mines laid by the National Guard in the United Nations buffer zone was reiterated (see S/2002/1243, para. 7). The National Guard completed clearing a minefield south of Pyla, outside the United Nations buffer zone.


             B.    Restoration of normal conditions and humanitarian functions

9.       On 23 April 2003 , for the first time in almost three decades, the Turkish Cypriot authorities opened the Ledra and Pergamos crossing points to the public for visits in both directions. On 26 April 2003 , another checkpoint near Strovilia was opened. In the first week, around 140,000 Greek Cypriots crossed to the north and close to 34,000 Turkish Cypriots crossed in the opposite direction. On 10 May 2003 , both sides established an additional crossing point at Ayios Dometios/Metehan in Nicosia . Since then, the average number of crossings per day seems to have stabilized at the level of around 13,000 people. All UNFICYP components, especially the United Nations Civilian Police (UNCIVPOL) and the military assisted in ensuring the safe and orderly movement of people and vehicles through the United Nations buffer zone at the authorized crossing points. UNFICYP military engineers prepared the roads and improved other facilities at the crossing points in the buffer zone.

10.    Ensuring safe and orderly passage within the buffer zone is essentially the task of UNCIVPOL. However, owing to its small size, 100 soldiers were diverted from their normal functions, including patrolling and monitoring in the buffer zone, to assist UNCIVPOL to cope until the crossing arrangements were clarified and the number of crossings stabilized. UNCIVPOL then continued to monitor and facilitate crossings with the help of fewer soldiers, although at the expense of most of its regular functions, which include patrolling, liaising with the local police, mediating in disputes between local civilians and monitoring and issuing permits for civilian use of the buffer zone.

11.     In addition to the considerably increased functions of UNCIVPOL and the military in the buffer zone, there has been a significant increase in the number of incidents requiring UNFICYP’s involvement outside the buffer zone since the crossings began. As of 20 May 2003 , UNCIVPOL attended and monitored cases, including eight traffic accidents and 42 arrests, including four in the south, as well as several cases of unauthorized crossing. The Turkish Cypriot authorities brought charges in 31 cases and the police pressed charges in four cases in the south. UNCIVPOL was able to attend and monitor some, though not all, of the trials owing to an insufficient number of personnel.

12.    UNFICYP does not have the resources to cover the additional new demands brought about by the influx of people through the buffer zone. The opening of additional crossing points or other changes in the present arrangements would exacerbate this situation. As a result of the additional responsibilities thrust upon UNFICYP, a review of its requirements was undertaken. It was determined that up to 34 additional UNCIVPOL officers would be needed to perform the current tasks effectively. UNFICYP will review and adjust its capabilities and new requirements as the needs arise, in line with its mandated tasks.

13.    On 30 April 2003, a set of governmental measures was announced, including: free movement of Turkish Cypriots and their goods and vehicles throughout the island; the establishment of telecommunications links to the north and to Turkey; employment opportunities for Turkish Cypriots in the south; the establishment of a bicommunal committee for humanitarian and other related issues; encouragement of contracting and subcontracting to Turkish Cypriots; issuance of identity cards, travel documents, birth certificates and other official documents; and the establishment of an office for Turkish Cypriot affairs. On 9 May 2003 , a set of Turkish Cypriot measures was announced, including offering scholarships for Greek Cypriot students to study at the tertiary educational institutions in the north and a proposal for improved telephone communications facilities and normalization of trade with the south. There have been no official responses on these separate sets of measures.

14.    UNFICYP facilitated 49 bicommunal events at the former Ledra Palace Hotel, bringing together more than 16,000 Greek and Turkish Cypriots. A blood sample collection drive to identify a compatible bone marrow donor for a five-year-old Turkish Cypriot girl with leukaemia was the largest bicommunal event, with 13,400 donors turning up from both sides. On 18 May 2003 , about 800 people attended a youth festival organized by Greek and Turkish Cypriot political parties. Other events included the monthly gathering of politicians sponsored by the Slovak Embassy, an international women’s day celebration organized by UNFICYP and seminars for the Nicosia Master Plan Project technicians.

15.    UNFICYP continued to perform its mandated humanitarian tasks in support of the 421 Greek Cypriots and 157 Maronites living in the island’s north and some 500 Turkish Cypriots in the south who have made themselves known to the Force. In February 2003, UNFICYP secured an agreement from the north for Greek Cypriots and Maronites to vote in the elections held in the south. In Famagusta , UNFICYP monitored a four-month-long trial of a Greek Cypriot; the charges were later dismissed. At the request of the Turkish Cypriot community in Limassol, UNFICYP reopened a liaison office, which it had closed in 1999.

16.    In November 2002, UNFICYP obtained permission from the Turkish Cypriots for a visit by 16 Greek Cypriot children suffering from cancer and two priests to the Apostolos Andreas Monastery in the Karpas peninsula. In April and May 2003, UNFICYP facilitated the annual pilgrimages to St. George’s Church in Varisha and Ayia Marina Church near Paralimni, both situated in the buffer zone.

17.    UNFICYP’s support for civilian activities in the buffer zone continued. In November 2002, UNFICYP opened Alkiviades Street in the old town of Nicosia for civilian use. In February 2003, with the south’s cooperation, UNFICYP made a sports field in the buffer zone available to a Turkish Cypriot football club. UNFICYP continued to assist in the desilting of the Marathassa dam and facilitated a Turkish Cypriot request to clean up the banks of the Karyotis River . In May 2003, UNFICYP gave permission for the Pallouriotissa School bus from the south to have access to the school’s entrances in the buffer zone.


III.    Missing persons

18.    During the period under review, the Greek Cypriot side proceeded with its programme of exhumations and identifications in areas under its control.

19.    In April 2003, as part of the measures for Turkish Cypriots, the Greek Cypriot side published a list of 500 missing Turkish Cypriots and said it would provide access to records and information for relatives of the missing and killed non-combatants. The first assistant to the third member of the Committee on Missing Persons remained at the disposal of the two sides to assist them with the implementation of the agreement on missing persons reached on 31 July 1997 .     


IV.    Mission of good offices of the Secretary-General

20.    I have recently reported to the Security Council on my efforts between late 1999 and 11 March 2003 (see S/2003/398) to assist the parties to reach a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem, including the proposed “Basis for Agreement on a Comprehensive Settlement of the Cyprus Problem”, which I submitted to them and to the guarantor powers. In that report, I described in some detail the reasons why it did not prove possible to bring those efforts to fruition, and outlined my views on the way ahead. As stated in that report, the Nicosia office of my Special Adviser has closed.


V.    Financial aspects

21.    As indicated in my previous report (S/2002/1243), the General Assembly, in its resolution 56/502 of 27 June 2002 , appropriated the amount of $45.6 million for the maintenance of UNFICYP for the period from 1 July 2002 to 30 June 2003 . This amount includes the voluntary contribution of one third of the cost of the Force, equivalent to $14.6 million, from the Government of Cyprus and a voluntary contribution of $6.5 million from the Government of Greece.

22.    My proposed budget for the maintenance of UNFICYP for the period from 1 July 2003 to 30 June 2004 , which amounts to $44.4 million, is currently under consideration by the General Assembly.

23.    Should the Security Council decide to extend the mandate of UNFICYP for a further period of six months at its current authorized strength, the cost of maintaining the Force would be limited to the amount approved by the General Assembly. However, should the Council approve the deployment of additional civilian police, as recommended in paragraph 26 below, I intend to submit a revised budget for the period from 1 June 2003 to 30 June 2004 during the main part of the fifty-eighth session of the General Assembly.

24.    As at 30 April 2003 , unpaid assessments to the Special Account for UNFICYP for the period from 16 June 1993 to 15 December 2002 amounted to $15.9 million. Total outstanding assessed contributions for all peacekeeping operations amounted to $1,363.9 million as at the same date.


VI.    Observations

25.    During the past six months, the situation along the ceasefire lines has remained calm. While I welcome the limited easing of restrictions by the Turkish Cypriot authorities on UNFICYP’s movement as a first step, I urge that UNFICYP be provided unhindered access and full freedom of movement to carry out its mandate throughout its entire area of responsibility. It is regrettable that no progress has been achieved in restoring the status quo ante in the village of Strovilia .

26.    UNFICYP has always stood for island-wide freedom of movement. I am therefore pleased with the easing of restrictions and the goodwill displayed between the Greek and Turkish Cypriots. I hope that the two sides will build on that goodwill by taking further steps to enhance mutual confidence. UNFICYP is ready to assist them in doing so. At the same time it is important that UNFICYP be adequately equipped to meet its increased workload and to respond in a timely manner to developments and needs as they arise. I therefore recommend that the UNFICYP civilian police component be augmented by up to 34 officers.

27.    The recent developments are not a substitute for a comprehensive settlement. It seems highly unlikely that such a settlement can be achieved without the genuine political commitment to the proposal I have put forward and a firm timetable to finalize negotiations, as outlined in the recent report on my mission of good offices.

28.    Under the current conditions, I consider UNFICYP’s continued presence on the island necessary for the maintenance of the ceasefire between the two sides. I therefore recommend that the Security Council extend the mandate of the Force for a further period of six months, until 15 December 2003 .

29.    In conclusion, I wish to express my appreciation to Mr. de Soto , Mr. Wlosowicz, Lieutenant-General Hwang and 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.


                  Countries providing military and civilian police personnel (as at May 2003)




Military personnel















United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland



1 228

Civilian police personnel









   a  The Argentine contingent includes soldiers from Bolivia (2), Brazil (2), Chile (32),
Paraguay (30) and Uruguay (3).