14 June, 2008
UN Security Council approved Friday resolution 1818, extending the mandate of the UN Peace Keeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) for another six months.
The Council calls at the same time on the Greek Cypriot and the Turkish Cypriot communities to begin expeditiously fully-fledged negotiations towards a political settlement.
The resolution was approved after a three-hour delay, because the US permanent representative requested the reopening of the debate on the resolution, which had already been agreed by the 15 members of the Council.
The request, according to diplomatic sources, aimed to meet a Turkish demand to include a reference to two constituent states, as noted down in the joint statement issued after the May 23 meeting between Cyprus President Demetris Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat.
The Republic of Cyprus had already given its consent to the text of the resolution through a statement of its Permanent Representative Ambassador Andreas Mavrogiannis. The other 14 members of the Council, barring the US, supported Cyprus' position that any further debate would violate the regulations of the Security Council.
The resolution reaffirms all its relevant resolutions on Cyprus, in particular resolution 1251 (1999) of 29 June 1999 and subsequent resolutions.
The Council ''expresses its full support for UNFICYP and decides to extend its mandate for a further period ending 15 December 2008."
Furthermore, it calls on both sides "to continue to engage, as a matter of urgency and while respecting UNFICYPΤs mandate, in consultations with UNFICYP on the demarcation of the buffer zone, and on the United Nations 1989 aide-memoire, with a view to reaching early agreement on outstanding issues."
The Council calls on the Turkish Cypriot side and Turkish forces to restore in Strovilia, on the east of the country, the military status quo, which existed there prior to 30 June 2000. Turkish occupation troops have violated the military status quo in this area and refuse to comply with repeated calls to return the situation to what it was before June 2000.
The resolution requests the Secretary-General to submit a report on implementation of this resolution by 1 December 2008 and to keep the Security Council updated on events as necessary.
The Council welcomes the agreement of 21 March and the Joint Statement of 23 May 2008 which, inter alia, "have demonstrated a renewed political willingness to support and engage fully and in good faith with the UN's efforts, reaffirmed the commitment of the leaders to a bicommunal, bizonal federation with political equality, as set out in the relevant Security Council resolutions, and to consider further civilian and military confidence building measures."
It welcomes "the opening of the Ledra Street crossing which has helped foster greater trust and interaction between the two communities; reaffirming the importance of continued crossings of the Green Line by Cypriots, and encouraging the opening of other crossing points and the intention of the Secretary-General to appoint a Special Adviser at the appropriate time and to keep the Council informed of further developments and progress."
Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third.
Source: Athens News Agency