What's In Blue

Posted Wed 29 Jan 2020

UNFICYP Mandate Renewal

Tomorrow morning (30 January), the Security Council is expected to adopt a resolution renewing the mandate of the UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) for an additional six months. The UK, the penholder, circulated the draft resolution to Council members ahead of the first round of negotiations last Thursday (23 January). The second and final round of negotiations was held this Monday (27 January) and the draft was put in blue on Wednesday morning.

The draft resolution draws heavily on the main elements of the latest mandate renewal (resolution 2483 of 25 July 2019). While the mandate of the mission remains largely the same, some language was revised to reflect recent developments. Reflecting the Council’s unanimous support for the mission’s work, the negotiation process appears to have gone relatively smoothly, although there were some differences of view.

The discussions on direct intercommunal contacts seem to have been a focus of the negotiations. It appears that there were some divergences, especially among several permanent members, on how the draft resolution should address this issue. Resolution 2483 called on the parties to intensify their efforts to establish a mechanism for direct military contacts between the parties with UNFICYP as a facilitator in its liaison role. The draft in blue calls directly for the establishment of such a mechanism.

In his 7 January report, the Secretary-General noted that due to existing differences in positions, the mechanism for direct military contacts is yet to be established. He urged the parties to explore areas of cooperation on civilian matters as well. It appears that some members favored broadening the language on direct intercommunal contacts in areas other than the military. It seems that several members opposed the inclusion of specific language on the mechanisms for intercommunal contacts on civilian matters, however, because they believe that such contacts are already done through the work of technical committees.

In October 2019, the Republic of Cyprus requested a meeting of the Council, citing threats by the authorities of Turkey and Turkish Cypriots to change the status of the city of Varosha contrary to relevant Security Council resolutions on Cyprus. After the meeting, Council members issued a press statement reiterating the importance of the status of Varosha as set out in previous Security Council resolutions. The Council includes similar language in the draft resolution.

In the draft, the Council also reiterates that UNFICYP’s freedom of movement should be respected.

Concerning the political process, the draft welcomes the 25 November 2019 trilateral meeting in Berlin (between the Secretary-General, the Greek Cypriot leader, Nicos Anastasiades, and the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mustafa Akınci) and urges the sides to renew their political will and commitment towards a settlement. It also requests the Secretary-General to submit by 10 July the report on his good offices, particularly on progress towards reaching a consensus starting point for negotiations. The Council also encourages the Cypriot leaders, in the draft, to provide written updates on actions taken concerning confidence-building measures and the establishment of mechanism for direct military contacts.

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