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Cyprus Welcomes Security Council Resolution on UNFICYP
2008-12-23 10:36:45

United Nations, Dec 13 - Cyprus has described as balanced a Security Council resolution, renewing the mandate of the UN peace-keeping force on the island, and said that it was satisfied as the resolution clarified unequivocally that the Cyprus solution must be based on a bizonal bicommunal federation, with political equality as prescribed in Council resolutions.

Britain's Permanent Representative talked about progress in the ongoing UN-led negotiations between the Greek Cypriot and the Turkish Cypriot communities, but also called for the intensification of the peace process.

The Republic’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations Ambassador Minas Hadjimichael said that “Ι gave yesterday the consent of the Government of the Republic of Cyprus to the President of the Security Council and I would like today to extend our appreciation to all the members of the Security Council for the adoption of Resolution 1847 which extends the mandate of UNFICYP for a period of 6 more months.”

“We consider the presence of the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus indispensable as long as the occupation of part of the territory of the Republic of Cyprus by Turkey persists,” he added.

He also noted that “as far as this resolution is concerned we think that it is a balanced one and we are particularly happy with the fact that the Security Council has reconfirmed in a crystal clear and unequivocal manner that the solution that we are seeking within the framework of this ongoing process of intercommunal negotiations between the leaders of the two communities in Cyprus under the Good Offices Mission of the UN Secretary-General must be based on a bizonal, bicommunal federation with political equality as prescribed, as set out in the relevant Security Council Resolutions”.

“For our part, we remain fully engaged in the process, cooperating fully as usual with the Security Council, with the UN Secretary-General, with his representatives in order to be able to push the process forward and in order to be able also to give effect to the very basis upon which these talks are being conducted,” he concluded.

Meanwhile, Sir John Sawers, United Kingdom Permanent Representative to the United Nations, referring to the situation in Cyprus, said on Friday that “the Security Council has just adopted a new Security Council Resolution which will extend the mandate of the UN Force in Cyprus, UNFICYP, for further six months.”

“We do so in the knowledge that UNFICYP is playing an important role in the buffer zone between the two zones in Cyprus, it’s facilitating the confidence building measures on the island and is playing an important role in building confidence as the two parties engage in important negotiations on the future of the island, to reunify the island,” he added.

He continued by saying that “we strongly support that process and the security Council Resolution has called for the intensification of the momentum in those negotiations and we hope that 2009 will bring new progress after a very long period of waiting for progress on the island.”

“So a new resolution has passed, UNFICYP in place for further six months and we look forward to intensified negotiations between the parties,” he mentioned.

Replying to a question, he said that “We do think there’s a historic opportunity for the leaders of the two communities to bridge the gaps that exists. We think that there’s political will on both sides, the leadership are showing the necessary determination and we think that there is the right level of international support also for those efforts.”

He pointed out “the solution lies with the two communities and with the leaders of the two communities. The rest of us can help, sometimes with ideas, sometimes with facilitation but ultimately it rests on the two communities where I think there is a readiness now unlike 4 years ago, unlike 10 years ago, I think there is readiness now on both sides to engage in a negotiation which will require a bit of give and take, will recognize that solutions come when each side recognize the needs of the other and try to find a compromise and a way forward.”

He also noted that “there’s been good progress, there’s been a good number of rounds of negotiations over the last four months and we want to see this continue and intensify in the new year.”

Asked whether he was satisfied with the pace of the negotiations and if he had in mind an unofficial deadline for that, he replied: “It’s certainly not for us to set deadlines although in our experience maintaining momentum in this sort of process is important. There is a period in 2009 where there no immediate elections and I think that’s a period of opportunity for full negotiations to be taken forward.”

“We do think there’s progress, we are encouraged by progress but in order to really bring the whole process together then we would like to see an intensification in the momentum of these negotiations. So we are encouraged by the progress so far, we are conscious that we have still a long way to go, we know that it’s up to the parties, they have to lead this process and we want to help them and support them in whatever way we can and the Security Council Resolution which has just passed has called for an intensification in the momentum of these negotiations,” he added.

Referring to the recent death of former President of the Republic of Cyprus Tassos Papadopoulos, Mr. Sawers said that “we are very sorry to hear of the death of the former President Papadopoulos and our condolences go to his family and the people of Cyprus for his untimely loss.”

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