Statement by AKEL C.C. Spokesperson Stefanos Stephanou in relation to Resolution 2453 (2019) on the renewal of the mandate of the United Nations Peacekeeping in Cyprus (UNFICYP) AKEL

The Draft Resolution 2453 of the Security Council of the UN proposes the renewal of the mandate of the United Nations Peacekeeping (UNFICYP) in Cyprus, which of course satisfies us. Despite the fact that this is a resolution of a procedural character, it does contain political messages, particularly important for the further course of the Cyprus problem.

Of particular importance is the fact that the UN Security Council sends out a very clear message with regards the basis of the solution of the Cyprus problem, stressing that this basis is none other than bi-communal, bizonal federation with political equality as set out in the relevant UN resolutions.

The specific reference to the definition of political equality which is set out in Resolution 716 (1991) that includes, among other things, effective participation in the central state bodies is anything but accidental. On the contrary, it manifestly recalls that positions which question it cannot be accepted.

In the most poignant way and reflecting much of what the UN Secretary-General has been reiterating over the past two years, and more specifically in his latest Report, the Security Council shares the position that the current status quo is unsustainable.

It urges the two leaders to abandon the negative rhetoric and reminds them of what they are expected to do so as to make the resumption of negotiations possible in a meaningful way. Expressing his regret about the lack of progress since the breakdown at Crans Montana and afterwards, he asks from the leaders and all those involved parties to agree with a sense of urgency on terms of reference that will facilitate the resumption of negotiations leading to a solution as soon as possible.

In reality, the UN Security Council is calling for an immediate conclusion of the discussion on terms of reference. At the same time, he points out that the basis for a solution of the outstanding issues is the Secretary General’s Framework of 30th June 2017.

For the first time in a Resolution, the two leaders are encouraged to submit periodic written updates to the United Nations on the actions they have taken to support the relevant references of this Resolution with a view to reaching a lasting and comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem.

Furthermore, it requests the UN Secretary-General to include them in his Reports. This means that time is running out. With regards the issue of natural gas, once again a neutral stance is adopted and in essence it is repeated that the issues that emerge will be addressed through the speedy solution of the Cyprus problem.

It is evident that the President will find the issue before him at his meeting with the Turkish Cypriot leader. It is well known that AKEL has submitted its own proposal to the President of the Republic in writing. The letter of the President, in fact, did not take into account our proposals.

It is his right to do so. He himself must now find a way to handle the issue. As for the UNFICYP itself, the resolution calls on both sides to step up their efforts to establish a mechanism for cooperation, even at military level and outlines in general terms the ongoing need for a review of its effectiveness.

It is obvious that the Security Council shares the Secretary-General’s approach that what he expects from the two leaders at their meeting is the reaffirmation of the agreed negotiation framework, and more specifically of the Guterres Framework, with a discussion of the outstanding issues.

Requesting the Secretary General to submit a Report on his Good Offices Mission by 15 November 2019, after the informal consultations have been concluded, the Security Council is seeking positive developments on the Cyprus problem to exist in the immediate future.

It is also evident, however, that his subsequent stand, particularly with regards the future of UNFICYP, will depend on what he will see and hear. We call on President Anastasiades to fully understand the message conveyed by the resolution and in the imminent critical meetings to behave in a way that will give an impetus to the procedure.

Otherwise, we will be led to the collapse of the effort before it even commences, with disastrous consequences for the future of the people and the country.

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