Cyprus: UN plays key role in determining future, General Assembly hears
The United Nations plays a crucial role in helping the Mediterranean island of Cyprus move forward towards a “bizonal, bicommunal federation” through its assistance in inter-Cypriot negotiations and its definition of the framework of the future Cypriot State, President Demetris Christofias told the General Assembly today.
Although most of the numerous Security Council and Assembly resolutions regarding Cyprus have “regrettably” not been implemented, Mr. Christofias said that they nonetheless provided the country with “the sword and shield that has ensured that it has remained and will continue to remain an undivided independent country, with a single sovereignty, single citizenship and single international personality.”
Such resolutions also set up the Secretary-General’s good offices for Cyprus, which assisted and supported negotiations between the two sides.
“Good offices is not arbitration. It is not mediation,” the President said. “Recent experience has shown that any attempt to impose – even import – non-Cypriot-inspired and improvised models will meet with rejection by the Cypriot people.”
Further, Council resolutions also provide the legal and political framework for Cyprus, he noted, one which embodies the principle of political equality between the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities in all federal organs.
This arrangement “represents a compromise and indeed the only possible compromise on which a political arrangement can be built,” Mr. Christofias said. “Relevant resolutions of the Security Council as well as the Constitution of Cyprus exclude partition, secession or union with any other country.”
Recalling his own background as an internally displaced person (IDP) following fighting in 1974, he assured the delegates at the Assembly’s annual high-level debate that is “political will to do what is necessary to solve the problem is firm and deep-rooted.”
The President expressed his determination to work with Mehmet Ali Talat, the leader of the Turkish Cypriot community, to agree on what Cypriots want.
“But this is not enough for reaching a solution,” he said, calling on Turkey – which he said has more than 40,000 troops and “tens of thousands of settlers” on the island – to take an active role.
“We believe that the solution should benefit everybody and will benefit everybody,” Mr. Christofias said. “It would allow the Cypriots, Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, to live together and work together in an independent prosperous country, within the family of the European Union, without the presence of foreign armies and illegal colonists under conditions of security and respect for their identity and their rights.”
After making a “fruitful” start earlier this month, according to the Secretary-General’s Special Representative Alexander Downer, talks between Mr. Christofias and Mr. Talat aimed at reunifying Cyprus will resume next month.
The UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) has been in place on the island since 1964 after the outbreak of inter-communal violence. It is tasked with preventing a recurrence of fighting, contributing to a return to normal conditions and the maintenance of law and order.