Enforcing all UN Resolutions: The Key to a Cyprus Settlement
Herebelow is an Op-Ed by Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides published "In The National Interest "on November 6, 2002
"Enforcing all UN Resolutions: The Key to a Cyprus Settlement"
By Ioannis Kasoulides
The recent speeches of President George W. Bush and Secretary General Kofi Annan, delivered before the United Nations General Assembly in September, reiterated the importance to the entire international community that UN resolutions be fully and completely implemented. Indeed, an effort is currently underway to put some teeth into the implementation and enforcement of UN resolutions concerning Iraq, beginning with the return of weapons inspectors to ensure that no weapons of mass destruction exist (or, if they do exist, that they will be destroyed). As President Bush himself has noted, true global security and an internationally respected rule of law can only be achieved when Security Council resolutions are strictly implemented by all member states of the United Nations. He also warned, "All the world now faces a test, and the United Nations, a difficult and defining moment. Are Security Council resolutions to be honored and enforced, or cast aside without consequence?"
Since achieving its independence in 1960, Cyprus has undertaken a foreign policy grounded in respecting and executing all of its international obligations, including those arising from the Charter of the United Nations. Cyprus has, for a long time, advocated full compliance with all UN resolutions, without double standards and exceptions. We concur with President Bush that such an approach facilitates the achievement of permanent solutions based on objectivity, justice and international legality.
In the case of Cyprus, a long series of UN resolutions?both recommendations passed by the General Assembly and binding Security Council decisions?have called, inter alia, for the immediate withdrawal of all foreign military forces from the Republic of Cyprus; for the return of all refugees to their homes in safety; and for respect for the independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity and unity of Cyprus. Unfortunately, the steps outlined by these resolutions have yet to be implemented by Turkey. Contrary to its obligations under the UN Charter, Turkey?whose military continues to illegally occupy nearly forty percent of Cyprus?defies these resolutions by demanding that the international community accept the "realities" of the status quo brought about by its aggression. Twenty-eight years have passed since the tragic summer of 1974, and the people of Cyprus, both Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, are still suffering from the terrible consequences of the Turkish invasion.
When he spoke before the General Assembly, President Bush declared, "We want the resolutions of the world's most important multilateral body to be enforced." With regard to Cyprus, we believe that both sides must seize the moment and take advantage of this latest window of opportunity. Based on the framework provided by Security Council resolutions, we can and must work together for the achievement of a just and viable settlement to the Cyprus problem. Because of a unique convergence of positive factors?the renewed interest of the international community, the personal involvement and commitment of the UN Secretary General Kofi Annan and the momentum generated by Cyprus' progress toward accession to the European Union?we have finally reached a junction where peace is not only possible, but is within reach.
The international community, however, has regrettably not yet seen the much-expected change of attitude from the Turkish side. The Security Council, in its statement of July 9, 2002 authoritatively declared that the "Turkish Cypriot side had been less constructive in its approach so far and had declined to support the goal of resolving the core issues by June ." The Council also strongly underscored the need for the Turkish side to cooperate fully in the ongoing effort for a comprehensive settlement, which takes full consideration of relevant Security Council resolutions and treaties.
Cyprus has repeatedly called upon Turkey and the Turkish Cypriot leadership to heed the call of the international community. We ask that they respect Security Council resolutions and the High Level Agreements, signed by Turkish Cypriot leader Mr. Rauf Denktash himself, which not only provide for a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation, but envision a state possessing a single sovereignty, a single citizenship and a single international personality. The latest Turkish position?for a solution based upon "two sovereign states", and denying the rights of refugees to return to their homes or take possession of their properties?represents an anachronism in a globalized world. Not only is this position unrealistic, it flies in the face of democracy, the rule of law and respect for human rights -the core principles of the European Union, which Turkey aspires to join.
In the best interests of all people on the island, as well as for regional stability, our vision for Cyprus requires a departure from the passions of the past. We see Cyprus in the future as a reunited federal state that is a member of the European Union, where the human rights and fundamental freedoms of every citizen (including the right to freedom of movement) will be fully protected and respected. We are aware that the overwhelming majority of Turkish Cypriots share this vision and desire reunification. They too hope for a common future in the European Union, with all the safeguards of a modern, democratic and effective state. They know that the accession of Cyprus to the EU will offer to all its citizens security, social and economic advancement, especially for the Turkish Cypriot community.
Together, we can make that vision a reality.
Ioannis Kasoulides is the Foreign Minister of Cyprus.