The UN Security Council is expected to approve a resolution on Thursday morning (New York time) that will renew the mandate of the UN peacekeeping force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) for six months, until July 31st, 2022.
The UNSC expresses in the resolution its full support for UNFICYP, and decides to extend its mandate for a further period ending on 31 July 2022. Moreover it expresses full support for the Secretary-General’s ongoing efforts and reiterates the importance of openness, flexibility and compromise in finding common ground with the goal of returning to formal negotiations, urging the sides to renew their efforts to achieve an enduring, comprehensive and just settlement based on a bicommunal, bizonal federation with political equality, as set out in relevant Security Council resolutions, including paragraph 4 of its resolution 716 (1991).
The Council expresses concern at the continuing tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean and underlines that disputes should be resolved peacefully in accordance with applicable international law, remains convinced of the many important benefits, including economic benefits, for all Cypriots and the wider region that would flow from a comprehensive and durable settlement. It reiterates the Secretary-General’s previous call to avoid escalatory steps, and further calls upon the leaders of the two Cypriot communities and all involved parties to refrain from any actions and rhetoric that might damage the settlement process and that could raise tensions on the island.
It expresses full support to the Secretary-General’s ongoing engagement with the sides and encourages further rounds of informal talks and reiterates the importance of the sides and all involved participants approaching this process in the spirit of openness, flexibility and compromise and to show the necessary political will and commitment to freely negotiate a mutually acceptable settlement under United Nations auspices.
It also urges the sides to engage actively and with an increased sense of urgency with the Secretary-General and his team to this end, including by reaching an agreement regarding the proposal of the Secretary-General to appoint a United Nations envoy.
The UNSC underscores that the responsibility for finding a solution lies first and foremost with the Cypriots themselves, reaffirming at the same time the primary role of the United Nations in assisting the parties to bring the Cyprus conflict and division of the island to a comprehensive and durable settlement with a sense of urgency.
It welcomes the continuing personal engagement of the Secretary-General and that of his team, including his proposal for a United Nations envoy to lead further engagement which could provide critical support in the search for common ground with the goal of returning to formal negotiations.
It notes with regret the lack of progress made towards restarting formal negotiations at this time and stressing that the status quo is unsustainable, that the situation on the ground is not static, and that the lack of an agreement furthers political tensions and deepens the estrangement of both communities, risking irreversible changes on the ground, and reducing the prospects of a settlement.
Moreover, it recalls the status of Varosha as set out in relevant resolutions, including resolutions 550 (1984) and 789 (1992), and its Presidential Statement which condemns the 20 July 2021 announcement by Turkish and Turkish Cypriot leaders on the further reopening of a part of the fenced-off area of Varosha, expresses deep regret regarding unilateral actions that run contrary to its previous resolutions and statements on Varosha and calls for the immediate reversal of this course of action and of all steps taken on Varosha since October 2020.
It also reiterates that no actions should be carried out in relation to Varosha that are not in accordance with its resolutions and continues to stress the need to avoid any unilateral actions that could raise tensions on the island and undermine the prospects for a peaceful settlement.
Moreover, the UNSC stresses the importance of confidence-building measures and their timely implementation, and encourages the sides to consider new military confidence building measures.
The Council reaffirms all its relevant resolutions on Cyprus, in particular resolution 1251 (1999) and recalls the importance of achieving an enduring, comprehensive and just settlement based on a bicommunal, bizonal federation with political equality, as set out in relevant Security Council resolutions, including paragraph 4 of its resolution 716 (1991).
Furthermore, the UNSC calls upon the two leaders, among others, urgently to reinvigorate their efforts to provide the necessary support and overall guidance to free the Technical Committees from political obstructions in their work and enable them to function effectively in coordination and cooperation on matters which have island-wide implications, intensify efforts to promote peace education across the island, and increase their support to, and ensure a meaningful role for, civil society engagement in peace efforts, in particular strengthening the participation of women’s organisations and youth in the process.
The Council requests the Secretary-General to submit by 5 July 2022 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 5 July 2022 a report on implementation of this resolution and decides to remain seized of the matter.
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’.
UN Security Council resolution 550 (1984) considers any attempts to settle any part of Varosha by people other than its inhabitants as inadmissible and calls for the transfer of this area to the administration of the UN. UN Security Council resolution 789 (1992) also urges that with a view to the implementation of resolution 550 (1984), the area at present under the control of the United Nations Peace-keeping Force in Cyprus be extended to include Varosha.
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.”
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.