UNSC renews mandate of UNFICYP for six more months

UNSC renews mandate of UNFICYP for six more months

The UN Security Council unanimously adopted today resolution 2197 which renews the mandate of the UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) for six more moths until the end of July 2015.

During the procedure three countries took the floor, Russia, France and Spain.

The Russian Permanent Representative said that the country which presented the resolution (Britain) has not followed the necessary procedures in an appropriate manner and has not given enough time for negotiations, noting that the majority of the countries in the SC wanted more points to be included in the resolution but no time was given for that.

The Russian Federation, he said, supports the extension of the mandate of the UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus, noting that it has played an important role in maintaining peace and stability on the island.

“This is why we voted in favor of the just adopted resolution”, he said, but pointed out that the document “has a number of flaws linked first and foremost to the lack of readiness of the authors of the draft to heating a majority of the Council with regard to the problem of renewing intercommunity negotiations”.

“We have a number of serious issues with the way the work of the penholders was organized, including the delayed consultations on the polemical text and the problems that were created. This is why the resolution has lost, because of that”, he concluded.

Taking the floor, the French Permanent Representative referred to the humanitarian issue of the missing persons the majority of whom went missing after the Turkish invasion against Cyprus in 1974 and expressed his deep sorrow for the situation.

He said that fifty years after their disappearance half of those who disappeared haven’t been found and more than 70% of those found have to be identified. The French Ambassador said that given these figures and the advanced age of the relatives of these individuals, France is very committed to see the work of the Committee accelerated also by allowing access to all the areas concerned.

He also stressed the importance for the creation of a climate that would allow the resumption of the Cyprus negotiations.

The French PR added that after the start of a positive dynamic with a signature in 11th of February 2014 of a joint declaration by the leaders of both communities, it is regrettable that the intercommunity negotiations have been suspended, adding that it is important for these negotiations to be renewed to achieve a Cyprus settlement.

The Spanish Permanent Representative expressed his overall support towards the UN Secretary General`s Good Offices in Cyprus and UNFICYP.

He added that Spain will always support every initiative towards the solution of the Cyprus problem. The problem, he pointed out has lasted too long and is affecting an island, member of the EU.

Spain, he said, trusts the negotiations will resume as soon as possible in order to find a solution to this problem.

Diplomatic sources have expressed their satisfaction with the interventions of the three countries.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. Numerous UN-backed negotiations with the aim to reunite the island under a federal roof, have not yet yielded result.

As a result of the 1974 invasion, 1,619 Greek Cypriots were listed as missing, most of whom soldiers or reservists, who were captured in the battlefield. Many of those missing were last seen alive in the hands of the Turkish military. A total of 1073 remains have been exhumed by the Committee of Missing Persons, 546 of which have been identified with the DNA method (421 Greek Cypriots and 125 Turkish Cypriots). Only 27% of all missing persons have been identified so far.

President of the Republic of Cyprus Nicos Anastasiades has suspended his participation in the talks following a Navigational Telex or NAVTEX, issued by Turkey in October last year, as Turkish seismic research vessel “Barbaros” violated the Republic’s exclusive economic zone.

Repeated calls for the withdrawal of “Barbaros” went unheeded by Ankara, which announced recently the NAVTEX`s extension until April 6, 2015.