By Apostolis Zoupaniotis
US Mission’s to the UN Political Coordinator Rodney Hunter has said that his country believes UNFICYP’s new mandate sends a message that the two leaders, Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci "must work with a sense of urgency" to resume reunification talks. He also expressed disappointment with the lack of progress since the Conference on Cyprus in 2017 but expressed the belief that a settlement "remains achievable."
Addressing the Security Council on Thursday after the adoption of a resolution renewing UNFICYP’s mandate for another six months, Hunter said that the United States “believes this new mandate sends an important message from the Security Council to the sides and relevant parties: that the leaders of the communities must work with a sense of urgency to resume full-fledged negotiations that will fulfill the hopes of the Cypriot people to reunify Cyprus as a bizonal, bicommunal federation with political equality, as set out in relevant Security Council resolutions.”
“We also believe the mandate makes clear that peacekeeping missions must support political solutions and cannot substitute for an active political process,” he added.
Hunter further expressed his country’s disappointment “by the lack of progress in the two years since the Conference on Cyprus, but we believe a settlement remains achievable.”
“The leaders of the communities must demonstrate the political courage and will to transform their words of readiness into action, and engage in a UN-facilitated process,” he noted.
We know, the US diplomat said, “that the ultimate settlement will require more than just the agreement of the leaders of the two communities.”
According to him “direct contact between the sides does not implicate issues of recognition, but should be encouraged as a way to rebuild trust and improve the public atmosphere to prepare the communities for a future settlement.”
“To that end, we also look forward to renewed progress in supporting women’s participation in the settlement effort,” he added.
In their 2014 Joint Declaration, community leaders described the status quo as unacceptable. We agree and believe this holds true today; Hunter pointed out.
This resolution, he said, “is a unanimous expression of the Council’s support for the leaders to take the political risks necessary to engage meaningfully and with a sense of urgency.”
“We hope it spurs political progress that will reunify Cyprus and bring about a sustainable peace for all Cypriots,” he added.
He concluded noting that “we also look forward to the Secretary-General’s next report on UNFICYP, including his recommendations for how to further encourage the sides and all involved parties to respect UNFICYP’s mandated authority in, and delineation of, the buffer zone in an effort to defuse tensions.”
The UN Security Council on Thursday unanimously adopted resolution 2483 renewing for another six months, until January 31, 2020, the mandate of the United Nations Peacekeeping Operation in Cyprus.