UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has ‘strongly encouraged’ both leaders in Cyprus to sustain the current momentum and intensify efforts towards reaching a comprehensive settlement.
In his report on UNFICYP, handed over unofficially on Tuesday night to UN Security Council members, Ban said the joint declaration which the two leaders agreed on in February this year, constitutes an important achievement.
“I strongly encourage both leaders to sustain the current momentum, build on existing agreements and the gains achieved thus far, and intensify efforts towards reaching a comprehensive settlement based on the joint declaration,” Ban said.
He also said the two sides should refrain from negative rhetoric about the process and each other. They should preserve the confidentiality of the process, work on confidence building and support for a settlement.
Referring to the island’s hydrocarbons find, Ban said it was important to ensure that any new found wealth would benefit both communities.
“I remain of the view that such developments constitute a strong incentive for all parties to find a durable solution to the Cyprus problem and
should engender deeper cooperation for the benefit of all stakeholders in the region,” he said.
The Secretary General recommended the renewal of UNFICYP`s mandate until the January 31, 2015. The Security Council will adopt the relevant resolution on July 30.
Referring to UNFICYP, Ban said that during the reporting period it continued to maintain the integrity and stability of the buffer zone. Despite minor military violations committed by the opposing forces, which resulted in occasional altercations with UNFICYP, relations between the latter and the opposing forces remained good, he added.
“In a new development during the reporting period, the Turkish Forces deployed 28 close circuit television (CCTV) cameras along the ceasefire line in central Nicosia, some on previously unmanned observation posts, said Ban.
“UNFICYP assesses that this confers a clear military advantage to the Turkish Forces in the areas concerned. UNFICYP protested this military violation on several occasions, at both military and political levels. Yet, the cameras remain in place,” he added.
He also said that “while no progress was made in the implementation of military-related confidence building measures, neither of the opposing forces conducted any major military exercises during the reporting period.” But he added that the United Nations continued to hold the government of Turkey responsible for the status quo in Varosha.
He called on all parties to take concrete steps on a range of measures, as a sign of their commitment to the peace process.
“One step could be for both opposing forces to engage actively with UNFICYP on military confidence-building measures,” he said.
“This could include formal acceptance by both sides of the aidememoire of 1989, bringing to an end contestation of the United Nations delineation of the ceasefire lines. Within such a framework, the sides could also address the recent change to the status quo arising from the placement of CCTV cameras in Nicosia, which has increased tensions unnecessarily and is regrettable,” he noted.
Another step, he added, could be for both sides to facilitate, without delay, access to all remaining mined areas in and outside the buffer zone, in line with Security Council resolution 2135 (2014).
Ban commended the religious leaders for their ongoing dialogue, “which has delivered tangible results for Cypriots, including the opening of some locations of worship for the first time in decades,” and the business leaders from Cyprus, Greece and Turkey who have joined together for the first time under the Nicosia Economic Forum.
“I encourage their efforts to promote private sector initiatives, which could have a positive effect on the continued regrettable low number of people crossing the buffer zone. I encourage the respective football federations to put into practice their earlier agreement for greater cooperation,” said Ban. (CNA)