Update Report

Update Report No. 4: Cyprus

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Expected Council Action
The Council has scheduled a 29 August briefing in Informal Consultations from Under Secretary-General for Political Affairs Ibrahim Gambari on his recent trip to Cyprus. No formal action is expected but there is interest in Gambari’s assessment of the political climate and the prospects for removing some of the blockages preventing forward movement. Council members will be conscious that there is now only four months till the expiry of the United Nations Operation in Cyprus (UNFICYP) mandate on 15 December and looking to explore what, if anything, might be done before the renewal comes up for debate.

Recent Developments
From 3 – 9 July Gambari visited Cyprus, Greece and Turkey. On 8 July in Cyprus, he brought together Greek Cypriot leader Tassos Papadopoulos and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat for the first time since April 2002. The two leaders agreed that Technical Committees would commence work by the end of July on issues affecting the daily life of people in Cyprus and to concurrently exchange a list of substantive issues. They also agreed to meet occasionally to provide direction to the working groups and to review the work of the Technical Committees.

The set of principles signed by the two leaders were:

Nine meetings have been held with Michael Moller, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative in Cyprus and representatives of the two sides. However the Technical Committees have not met and further delays are anticipated. It has been difficult to get agreement on how to list the substantive issues and the procedures for organising the Technical Committees.

In the last few months the Turkish Cypriot leadership has conveyed their point of view through letters to the Secretary-General including seeking clarification of details in the Secretary-General’s May 2006 report on UNFICYP. The Greek Cypriot leadership has responded also in letters to the Secretary-General.

Options
The Council is not likely to consider any substantive options at this stage. While Gambari appeared optimistic immediately after his visit to Cyprus, the lack of real progress in the intervening period is likely to lead to a cautious assessment. One option may be for the Council to informally request the Secretary-General to produce his report on UNFICYP somewhat earlier than usual, or alternatively an update assessment on the issues arising from Gambari’s visit.

Key Issues
The key issue is whether the Council is willing to play a more active role in respect of the substance of the issues as opposed to just focusing on Cyprus at mandate renewal time and then concentrating on force structure or downsizing.

Council Dynamics
The permanent members of the Council have been very supportive of the Secretary-General’s attempts to broker a solution and Gambari has been assiduous in consulting with key Council members both before and after his trip.

The US has been particularly active on this issue in the last few months. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, Matthew Bryza visited Turkey, Cyprus and Greece in mid July and reported a sense of positive momentum in Cyprus. Secretary Rice was in Ankara and Athens in late April.

Selected UN Documents

Latest Security Council Resolution
  • S/RES/1687 (15 June 2006) extended the mandate of UNFICYP until 15 December 2006.
Latest Secretary-General’s Report
  • S/2006/315 (23 May 2006) recommended a six-month extension of UNFICYP and urged the parties to resume contact. LeL
Letters to the Secretary-General
  • S/2006/572 (25 July 2006) was the letter from the Secretary-General transmitting the “Set of Principles” and “Decision by the two leaders”.
  • S/2006/533 (18 July 2006) was the letter from Turkey transmitting a letter from the Turkish Cypriot leader containing proposals towards a solution for Cyprus.
  • S/2006/410 (16 June 2006) was the letter from the Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of the “Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus” clarifying and elaborating on references in the Secretary-General’s 23 May 2006 report on UNFICYP.
  • S/2006/300 (15 May 2006) was the letter from Cyprus in rebuttal to the letter from Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat on points made by Cypriot President Tassos Papadopoulos in an interview.
  • S/2006/286 (9 May 2006) was the letter from Turkey transmitting a letter from the Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat, criticising the Cypriot leader Tassos Papadopoulos’ comments in an interview where he appeared opposed to a bi-zonal and bi-communal solution to the Cyprus conflict.

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