Minister Marcoullis says "it's the moment of truth for the UN"
Minister of Foreign Affairs Erato Kozakou-Marcoullis has stressed that now is the moment of truth for the United Nations to prove how efficient a body it is by making use of preventive diplomacy towards Turkey, currently threatening Cyprus with regards to its sovereign rights in its Exclusive Economic Zone.
Addressing a crowd attending a United Nations Day event on “The United Nations and Preventive Diplomacy” at the Presidential Palace, Minister Markoullis referred to the successes and failures of the United Nations, stating that the failure of the United Nations to put in place the collective security system envisaged in the UN Charter has had several major consequences.
Referring to Cyprus, she stressed that "especially small states like Cyprus would like to see the United Nations acting more solidly and with consistency to defend international law when it is being violated."
Noting that "small states like Cyprus look to the UN as the guardian of the UN Charter and the guarantor of the implementation of UN Security Council resolutions when they are being flagrantly violated", she mentioned that "unfortunately, our experience throughout these past 37 years has been very disappointing as far as the implementation of the Security Council resolutions on Cyprus is concerned."
"Having no other defense for protecting and preserving our sovereignty and territorial integrity and for exercising our sovereign rights as a member state, we continue to count on the United Nations, on the international community and on international law", she noted further.
Minister Marcoullis also pointed out that in the face of recent threats and actions by Turkey "violating our sovereign rights in our Exclusive Economic Zone, this is a moment of truth for the United Nations to use preventive diplomacy towards the direction of Turkey. This is a moment to prove its effectiveness and preserve its credibility."
Referring to the successes of the UN, she said that from Cyprus' point of view, the UN has been, "to a large extent successful."
She proceeded to explain that for Cyprus the UN has been successful because the rules on statehood and sovereignty which the UN established have been safeguarding the Republic of Cyprus since its establishment and independence.
"It has provided Cyprus with the necessary legal, political but also moral support and recognition, which the international community has voiced through the adoption of UN General Assembly and Security Council resolutions over the years", she pointed out.
Mrs. Markoullis also noted that "it is this support and recognition that has helped us survive and persevere through the years of Turkish threats and provocations in the 1960's and later during and following the Turkish invasion and occupation that brought so much destruction and suffering as a result of the loss of lives, deprivation of land and properties, the missing, the plundering of cultural property and the ill-treatment of the enclaved."
She also spoke about the UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) stating that "despite the fact that it was not able, because of its restrictive mandate, to prevent the Turkish invasion and occupation, having itself lost several soldiers as a result of the aggressive actions of Turkey, it has provided comfort, security and assistance to the Cypriot people over the years", adding that "it has provided the Cypriots and especially the enclaved Greek Cypriots (in Turkish occupied Cyprus) with humanitarian and other help to overcome the obstacles imposed over the years by the Turkish army of occupation."
The Minister elaborated by saying that the UN and particularly the office of the Secretary General, have, over the years, followed developments on the island and have sought to contribute to the resolution of the Cyprus problem in line with UN Security Council Resolutions, the Charter of the United Nations and international law.
She added that the Government of the Republic of Cyprus "hopes and wishes that the many years of efforts for Cyprus, by the UN and the leaders of the two communities, will result in the reunification of our island, the reconciliation of the two communities and the successful implementation of a viable and just solution based on a bizonal, bicommunal, federation."
"If we are to reach a durable and sustainable solution in Cyprus", she explained, "the important elements included in the High Level Agreements as well as the basis for the solution which envisages one state of Cyprus with a single sovereignty, single international personality and single citizenship and political equality as described by UN Security Council resolutions should be diligently preserved."
Referring to the notion of "preventive diplomacy", she pointed out that United Nations Secretary General Dag Hammarskjold, who served from 1953 to 1961, developed this concept during his career and became known as the dove of preventive diplomacy, adding that, more recently, Secretary General Ban-Ki moon placed preventive diplomacy at the top of the UN agenda, in a report entitled “Preventive Diplomacy: Delivering Results.”
Concluding, Minister Markoullis noted that preventive diplomacy can work "only if there is trust by the parties in conflict, and when those practising preventive diplomacy – the diplomats, mediators and other, often non-governmental interlocutors – are genuinely impartial."