Permanent Representative of Cyprus to the UN Andreas Hadjichrysanthou has underlined that Thursday’s resolution renewing UNFICYP’s mandate contains three important elements expressing regret at the same time over the language on the missing persons’ issue.
Welcoming the adoption of the Security Council resolution on the extension of the terms of the Peacekeeping Force for another six months, he referred to the meeting he had with the President of the Security Council in which he delivered in writing the consent of the Cypriot Government, as provided for in resolution 186, that established the Peacekeeping Force in 1964.
He told CNA that the first important point is that it equivocally reaffirms once again that the basis for reaching a settlement on the Cyprus issue is none other than the bi-communal, bi-zonal federation with political equality as set out in the relevant Security Council resolutions.
He said “we stand ready to resume negotiations on this basis and we remain convinced that the bi-communal, bi-zonal federation can address the concerns of all Cypriots in a reunited, independent Cyprus without external interference”.
The second point, Hadjichrysanthou said, is the Security Council`s sense of urgency for resuming the settlement process. “We echo the Security Council’s gratitude for the continuing personal engagement of the Secretary-General and share the sense of urgency for resuming the settlement process. To this end, we fully support the Secretary General’s proposal to appoint a United Nations envoy to lead further engagement in the search for common ground with the goal of returning to the formal negotiations”, the Cypriot diplomat added.
The third and most important point due to current developments concerns Varosha, said Hadjichrysanthou.
In its latest resolution, the Security Council sends strong messages regarding Varosha, by recalling all previous relevant resolutions, including resolutions 550 (1984) and 789 (1992), and the Presidential Statements, whereby the Council condemns the announcement by Turkish and Turkish Cypriot leaders on the further reopening of the fenced-off area of Varosha, expresses deep regret and calls for the immediate reversal of all unilateral actions that run contrary to its previous resolutions.
Considering the grave violations by the occupying power therein, he remarked, “we welcome the Council’s call for respect of UNFICYP’s freedom of movement, including to ensure systematic and effective monitoring and reporting by the mission, particularly on the situation in Varosha”.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. Varosha, the fenced off section of the Turkish occupied town of Famagusta, is often described as a ‘ghost town’.
Turkish Cypriot leader, Ersin Tatar, announced in July 2021 a partial lifting of the military status in Varosha. On October 8, 2020, the Turkish side opened part of the fenced area of Varosha, following an announcement made in Ankara on October 6. Both the UN Secretary-General and the EU expressed concern, while the UN Security Council called for the reversal of this course of action. In his latest report to the Security Council, UN Secretary-General Guterres underlines the importance of adhering fully to UN resolutions, underscoring that the position of the United Nations on this matter “remains unchanged.”
Cyprus’ Permanent Representative further expressed “regret that the resolution does not include more robust language on the humanitarian issue of the missing persons, given the slow progress in the work of the Committee on Missing Persons and while Turkey continues to refuse to provide information from its military archives regarding the fate and whereabouts of missing persons in Cyprus”.
He said that it could have included stronger language and a more powerful message so that the current situation at the CMP, where no remains are found in the exhumations, could become more efficient. The CMP started with a list of “2002 missing persons when it began its work 15-16 years ago and after all these years the remains of about 970 missing persons are still missing. This was the reason why the Republic of Cyprus expected to hear a stronger message aimed at Turkey, which could have provided information from its military archives regarding battlefields that were cleared”, he added.
A Committee on Missing Persons has been established, upon agreement between the leaders of the two communities, with the scope of exhuming, identifying and returning to their relatives the remains of 492 Turkish Cypriots and 1,510 Greek Cypriots, who went missing during the inter-communal fighting of 1963-1964 and in 1974.
According to statistical data published on the CMP website by December 31, 2021 out of 2002 missing persons 1,183 were exhumed and 1,023 were identified. Out of 1510 Greek Cypriot missing persons 732 were identified and 778 are still missing. Out of 492 Turkish Cypriot missing persons 291 were identified and 201 are still missing.