Security Council hails outgoing UN leader’s efforts on Cyprus, extends mission there
The Security Council today extended for an additional six months the mandate of the 40-year old United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) and praised the efforts of Secretary-General Kofi Annan, who leaves office at the end of this month after 10 years at the world body’s helm, for his efforts to achieve a comprehensive solution.
Mr. Annan had recommended the extension through 15 June 2007 in a recent report to the Council, citing the lack of a comprehensive political settlement in Cyprus and voicing concern about the attitudes of both sides.
In acting on that recommendation by a unanimously adopted resolution, the Council welcomed recent developments since 8 July, when UN Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Ibrahim Gambari read out a text comprising a “set of principles” and a “decision by the two leaders” which outline next steps in the diplomatic effort to resolve the decades-old inter-communal conflict on the Mediterranean island.
That text was forged following his meetings with Greek Cypriot leader H.E. Tassos Papadopoulos and Turkish Cypriot leader H.E. Mehmet Ali Talat.
By today’s resolution, the Council expressed full support for the process agreed by the leaders, encouraged active participation in bicommunal discussions, and called for “early completion of the preparatory phase so that a fully-fledged good offices process may resume as soon as possible.”
The resolution also expressed the Council’s appreciation for Mr. Annan’s “personal efforts over the last 10 years, and those of his staff, aimed at achieving a comprehensive solution.”
Over the course of his service at the UN’s helm, Mr. Annan has conducted intense diplomatic efforts aimed at reunifying the island, where blue helmets have been deployed since March, 1964 to prevent further fighting between the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities.
These sensitive and top-level negotiations culminated in a plan presented to both sides in April 2004. Sixty-five per cent of Turkish Cypriots voted in favour of the plan but it was defeated because 76 per cent of Greek Cypriots voted against it.