The Security Council calls on the parties to come to an agreement so that the Secretary-General may appoint an envoy on Cyprus, said the UN Secretary-General’s Spokesperson, Stéphane Dujarric, adding that the issue remains foremost on the mind of Antonio Guterres.
Dujarric also said that he did not think the Security Council’s position and the Secretary-General’s report contradict each other on the issue of the fenced town of Varosha.
The Spokesperson made the remark on Monday in reply to questions by OMEGA correspondent Michalis Ignatiou, during the daily briefing, in New York.
According to an official announcement, the journalist referred to the recent adoption of the UN resolution for the extension of the mandate of the UN peacekeeping force in Cyprus (UNFICYP), noting that the Security Council clearly shows its concern on the situation in Varosha and in particular that it takes the Turkish threats for further reopening of the fenced area seriously. In fact, Ignatiou went on, for the first time we read in a Security Council resolution such a clear message that new provocations will prompt its response, as it “emphasises that any further unilateral action may prompt a response from the Security Council.”
Ignatiou invited Dujarric to explain the fact that the seriousness of the situation in Varosha is not reflected properly in the Secretary-General’s report, and it is rather downplayed.
According to Dujarric, it is “a difference of opinion, and you and I may have different reactions to different reading of the Secretary-General’s report. Varosha was mentioned and mentioned clearly in the report. The Secretary-General mentioned it in the way he felt it was best to be mentioned. The Security Council also has an opinion. I don’t think the two contradict each other, at least from my point of view.”
Asked what steps the Secretary-General intends to take to proceed with the appointment of an envoy who will lay the groundwork towards the resumption of negotiations on the Cyprus issue and under which mandate, Dujarric said that according to his reading of the resolution, the Security Council calls on the parties to come to an agreement, so that the Secretary-General may appoint an envoy.
“We’re continuing our consultations on that and when we have something to announce, we will, and it will be clear under which framework it is done. But it remains foremost on the mind of the Secretary-General”, he added.
Invited by the journalist to outline the Secretary-General’s position, following the Turkish Foreign Ministry’s announcement in favor of a two-state solution in Cyprus, Dujarric replied that “the Secretary-General’s position is in his report. And I’m always happy for people to quote me, but I would encourage you to quote the Secretary-General directly in his own words on that.”
Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. Repeated rounds of UN-led peace talks have so far failed to yield results. The latest round of negotiations, in July 2017 at the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana ended inconclusively.
In the adopted resolution, renewing UNFICYP’s mandate for a year this time, in relation to Varosha, the Security Council expresses “deep regret” as regards the continuation of unilateral actions that run contrary to its previous resolutions and statements on Varosha and calls for the immediate reversal of this course of action and of all steps taken on Varosha. Also, it adds that “any further unilateral action may prompt a response from the Security Council and continues to stress the need to avoid any unilateral actions that could raise tensions on the island and undermine the prospects for a peaceful settlement.”