The UN Security Council on Wednesday reached an agreement on the draft resolution that extends Unficyp’s mandate for another six months apparently without the inclusion of wording that Nicosia considered a form of recognition of the Turkish Cypriot breakaway regime in the north.
The resolution will be put to a vote on Thursday morning, New York time.
Nicosia was reportedly alarmed over the inclusion in the original draft of a paragraph calling on the two sides to create a mechanism for direct contact between the two communities to resolve military and other matters without the mediation of the UN peacekeeping force, Unficyp. The government had argued such direct contact would have implied recognition.
According to the latest draft, the Security Council “calls for the establishment of an effective mechanism for direct military contacts between the sides and the relevant involved parties, and urges Unficyp, as facilitator through its liaison role, to submit proposals in this regard,” leaving out any other matters.
According to the Cyprus News Agency, a large part of the debate also focused on one of the last paragraphs of the draft resolution, which called on the secretary-general to submit a single report covering both his Good Offices and Unficyp matters, while asking Cyprus’ leaders to provide updates to be included in the report.
After political and diplomatic interventions involving Nicosia, the five capitals of the Security Council permanent members in New York, and friends of Cyprus, the paragraph was formulated as follows:
“The Security Council requests the secretary-general to submit by 10 July 2020 a report on his Good Offices, in particular on progress towards reaching a consensus starting-point for meaningful results-oriented negotiations leading to a settlement, encourages the leaders of the two communities to provide written updates to the Good Offices Mission of the secretary-general on the actions they have taken in support of the relevant parts of this resolution since its adoption … with a view to reaching a sustainable and comprehensive settlement, and further requests the secretary-general to include the contents of these updates in his Good Offices report. It further requests the Secretary-General to submit by 10 July 2020 a report on implementation of this resolution, and to keep the Security Council updated on events as necessary.”
The draft resolution also calls upon the two leaders to put their efforts expeditiously behind further work on reaching convergences on the core issues, reaffirm their political support for all technical committees, empower them to submit proposals for their consideration to enhance intercommunal contacts, and consider the advice of the Good Offices Mission regarding further ways to empower the technical committees and improve their performance, ensure effective coordination and cooperation on criminal matters.
The leaders are also called to improve the public atmosphere for negotiation to secure a settlement, including by preparing the communities for a settlement through public messages on convergences and the way ahead, and delivering more constructive and harmonised messages, and by refraining from actions or rhetoric that detracts from a successful process or could make it more difficult to achieve recalling the secretary general’s statement of November 25, 2019.
In the resolution, the security council expresses serious concern at the increased number of violations of the military status quo along the ceasefire line and calls once more on the sides and all involved parties to respect Unficyp’s mandated authority in, and delineation of, the buffer zone.
The resolution also calls on the Turkish Cypriot side and Turkish forces to restore the military status quo in Strovilia, which existed there prior to 30 June 2000.
Speaking on Wednesday evening, President Nicos Anastasiades said he had spoken earlier to UN special envoy Jane Holl Lute to whom he reiterated his determination and willingness to take part in an informal meeting to pave the way for the resumption of reunification talks.
“At the same time I did not omit telling her that Turkey’s actions (in the island’s exclusive economic zone) unfortunately, instead of creating the positive climate everyone expects prior to a creative dialogue … they exacerbated concerns and created a negative climate.”