Cyprus government expresses gratitude to UN peacekeeping force
by Apostolis Zoupaniotis
United Nations, Oct 20 (CNA) -- The Cyprus government has expressed its gratitude to the UN, UNFICYP and its personnel as well as to the contributing countries for the work done by the peacekeeping operation in Cyprus.
Speaking before the UN General Assembly Special Political Committee Cyprus' Permanent Representative to the UN Andreas Mavroyiannis reiterated that a just and viable solution in Cyprus in accordance with UN resolutions, international law and the acquis communautaire has been delayed far too long and should be addressed both as a matter of urgency and a matter of principle.
''Such a development, combined with our demilitarisation proposals, would constitute solid foundation on which to heal the scars of the past, achieve common prosperity, and build a stable and peaceful Eastern Mediterranean Region within the wider European family,'' he noted.
Mavroyiannis said ''the government of Cyprus is grateful to the UN, UNFICYP and its personnel, and the contributing countries for the work done by this peacekeeping operation in Cyprus, throughout the years and in their wide spectrum of activities, including easing the day-to-day life of the enclaved, facilitating contacts and resolving humanitarian issues.''
He noted that ''the contribution on behalf of the Republic of Cyprus, of one third of the UNFICYP budget, is indicative of our commitment to sustain its unhindered functioning so long as peace is absent in Cyprus.''
However, the Cypriot diplomat ''the ongoing advancing of the positions of the Turkish occupation army along the ceasefire line in the area of Strovilia, constitutes a clear violation of the status quo'' and that ''more than three years since these actions began the issue remains unsolved, indicating that UNFICYP is not, in this case, instrumental in executing its mandate by safeguarding the status quo.''
''The lack of tangible results in the attempts to resolve the above crisis has once again illustrated the need to reinforce the role of UNFICYP and make its capacity consistent with its mandate and responsibilities,'' Mavroyiannis stressed.
Referring to the partial lifting of restrictions of movement by the occupying power, earlier this year, across the buffer zone, the Cypriot diplomat said that it has demonstrated ''the lack of any truth in the anachronistic argument of Turkey and its subordinate local administration, and in particular its head, Mr. (Rauf) Denktash, that the two communities are unable to live together harmoniously, and it has proven beyond any doubt that only a political settlement stands in the way of achieving peaceful living conditions between Greek and Turkish Cypriots.''
''Even though such a measure is not substitute for a comprehensive settlement to the Cyprus problem, the complete lack of friction between Greek and Turkish Cypriots since the above measure was implemented, undoubtedly proves that the element which has made this line so resilient for so long, is the intransigence of the Turkish Cypriot leadership and the Turkish government,'' he added.
He recalled that ''the Greek Cypriot side, appreciating the value of easing movement restrictions in the efforts to bring the two communities closer has proposed, through UNFICYP, an increase in the number of locations along the buffer zone which can serve as crossing points, an initiative that has yet to find a response from the Turkish Cypriot leadership.''
Mavroyiannis referred Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos' announcement, from the podium of the General Assembly, of the Cyprus government's intention to unilaterally start within the next two months, mine clearance in the buffer zone, in cooperation with the UN and with the financial assistance of the European Union and said ''we will also proceed with the destruction of a considerable amount of stockpiled anti-personnel mines within the framework of our obligations under the Ottawa Convention.''
''Ignoring the positive impetus prevalent, the Turkish Cypriot leadership has not only failed to display the analogous political will and wisdom, which is a prerequisite for a breakthrough, but has hindered the attempts of the UN with additional provocation,'' he added.