US-Russia interventions at the UN Security Council on the renewal of UNFICYP’s mandate

US-Russia interventions at the UN Security Council on the renewal of UNFICYP’s mandate

They explained their vote, at the same time sending political messages

By Michalis Michael

US Deputy Rodney Hunter, Political Coordinator at the US Permanent Representation, after he thanked Britain for its co-ordinating role in Council Members’ deliberations, said that with the resolution, the Security Council sends an important message to related parties and community leaders, that they must work with a sense of urgency to start comprehensive negotiations that will fulfill the hopes of the Cypriot people, to reunite Cyprus into a bizonal bi-communal federation with political equality, as set by the relevant resolutions of the Security Council.

“The mandate makes it clear that peacekeeping operations must support political solutions and can not replace an active political process”, Mr Hunter said.

The US spokesman expressed the disappointment of the US for the lack of progress in the two years since the Cyprus Conference.

“But we believe that a settlement can be achieved. The leaders of the communities must demonstrate that they have the political courage and will to turn their readiness into action by engaging in the United Nations facilitated process”.

He said the final settlement would require more than just the agreement of the two communities and noted that direct contacts between the two sides do not imply recognition, but should be encouraged as a way of building trust, improving the climate and preparing communities for the future arrangement. In this sense, Rodney Hunter referred to the increased role of women in supporting the peace process.

In the joint declaration of 2014, he continued, “community leaders have described the status quo as unacceptable. We agree and believe that it still holds true today. This resolution is a unanimous expression of the Council’s support for leaders to take the necessary political risk and to engage in a sense of urgency. We hope it will accelerate the political process that will reunite Cyprus and bring peace to the Cypriots”.

In conclusion, the US Representative said he looks forward to the SG’s next UN report on UNFICYP, including his suggestions to further encourage sides and other stakeholders to respect UNFICYP’s empowered authority and delineation of the neutral zone for the further de-escalation of tensions.

What Russia said

Russia’s first Deputy Permanent Representative, Dmitry Polyanskiy, as reported by CNA, expressing his country’s support for UN Security Council Resolution 2483 on the extension of the UN peacekeeping mandate to Cyprus in the form it has now, expressed the belief that the mission plays a key role by strengthening the stability that is a prerequisite for a direct dialogue between the Cypriot communities.

Citing a statement by the Secretary General in one of his reports, Mr Polyanskiy said that we are worried that after the end of the international conference in Crans Montana, the “contemplating period” has been prolonged.

“However, the United Nations mission should not be used as a means of exerting political pressure on Cypriots. The purpose of the mission is to ensure the safety and monitor compliance with the neutral zone. As far as the political settlement is concerned, it is established that only the Cypriot communities themselves can come to an agreement on a unified, bizonal, bicommunal federation and to do so through a direct dialogue”.

The Russian ambassador described this issue as very sensitive and stressed that “external interventions, imposed concepts, pressure and artificial deadlines are totally unacceptable. Such an approach in no way helps in a painstaking process of seeking compromising solutions”.

Referring to the assisting role of the international factor in the settlement of the Cyprus problem, Mr. Polyanskiy expressed his belief that the idea has matured for the Security Council to up its profile in this process. “It is well known that one of the most important aspects of the arrangement is effective security guarantees for both communities. It is self-evident that the current guarantee system involving three foreign states does not contribute to the search for an independent solution by the Cypriots. Let me be honest: the existing system of security guarantees for Cyprus has to a great extent become anachronistic. The most effective measures to ensure the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of unified Cyprus will be those of the Security Council. In the longer term, the Council should approve the final agreements to which the parties will come”./ibna