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UK bows to pressure in wrangle over Unficyp mandate

The United Nations Security Council

Pressure from all other members of the Security Council forced Britain to accept the requested amendments to the draft resolution renewing the Unficyp’s mandate, expected to be put to vote on Thursday.

Early on Wednesday morning, Britain sent an amended draft, which was put to the body’s ‘silent procedure’ until 1 pm (8 pm Cyprus time), before taking its final form and being forwarded for adoption on Thursday.

Cyprus pushed for three changes and succeeded with the support of the other members, mainly the US, China, India and Ireland.

In paragraph three of the preamble of the resolution which refers to the informal 5+1 summit that took place in Geneva last April, penholder Britain had noted that the council notes with regret that ‘the two sides failed to find sufficient common ground for the resumption of informal negotiations’. This was changed to regret that ‘sufficient common ground could not be found at the meeting to allow for the resumption of formal negotiations at this time’.

In paragraph four, on which the biggest backstage battle was fought, a reference was removed that the common ground sought is to address the concerns of both sides. Most important for Nicosia, however, was the removal from the end of the same paragraph of a phrase added by Britain. To the reference on parameters of a bizonal, bicommunal federation as defined by the relevant resolutions, Britain had added that ‘these parameters are broad enough to cover a number of practical and legal regulations.’ This phrase was removed. It now reads: ‘these parameters provide a clear framework for a range of arrangements.’

The third amendment, which was accepted, concerns the seventh paragraph of the preamble which is about Varosha. A reference to the UN Security Council’s recent presidential statement of July 23 was added and it is noted that the statement condemns the announcement on July 20 by Turkish and Turkish Cypriot leaders on Varosha and calls for the immediate reversal of this course of action.

The Security Council’s presidency, currently France, issued last week a statement on behalf of the Council, condemning the announcement by the Turkish side on the demilitarisation of 3.5 per cent of the fenced area of Varosha to pave the way for the return of property owners under Turkish Cypriot administration. According to sources, Britain, had again tried to avoid outright condemnation of this move. The presidential statement was approved after three revisions of the original text.



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