UNSG: UNFICYP presence still necessary in Cyprus
United Nations, Dec 1 - UN Secretary General Kofi Annan continues to believe that only the achievement of a comprehensive settlement will bring an end to the Cyprus problem and that in the absence of such a comprehensive settlement, the presence of the UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) on the island continues to be necessary.
In his report on the UN operation in Cyprus, covering the period from 21 May to 24 November 2005, Mr. Annan recommends that the Security Council extend the mandate of the Force for a further period of six months, until 15 June 2006, and noted that he does not believe that the time is ripe to appoint a full-time person dedicated to his good offices.
Mr. Annan adds that ''the military situation along the ceasefire lines remained generally calm and stable'' but notes ''four incidents of significant concern: an incursion into the buffer zone by Turkish Forces in the Louroujina Pocket involving a threat to the Force Commander and other UNFICYP military personnel; the placement of a series of buoys by Turkish Forces close to the western maritime security line; the entry into the buffer zone and the removal of a Turkish flag from a Turkish Cypriot observation post by a Greek Cypriot civilian; and shots fired at UNFICYP personnel by a Greek Cypriot hunter.''
He also notes ''the situation in Cyprus has remained stable, with calm prevailing along the ceasefire lines,'' adding that ''the opening of additional crossing points and small increases in trade between the two sides enhanced the opportunity for people-to-people contact, yet progress towards a political solution has been negligible at best.''
''UNFICYP continued to enjoy generally good cooperation from both sides, but at the same time each side made attempts to alter the status quo to its advantage, whether in the form of new construction or incursions of personnel into the buffer zone,'' he notes.
He adds that ''the experience gained during the reporting period indicates that the new force structure of UNFICYP is adequate for the implementation of the mandate and that the reconfiguration of the Force has not led to deterioration in the overall security situation.''
''However, due to delays in achieving the full staffing levels for the UNFICYP civil affairs component and the civilian police, the restructured Force has not reached the full potential of its revised concept of operations. Under the circumstances, and in light of the lack of significant positive developments on the ground, it would be premature to suggest further adjustments to the Force at this stage. I intend to keep the operations of UNFICYP under close scrutiny, with a view to offering recommendations for possible further adjustments as soon as warranted,'' he says.