Unanimously Adopting Resolution 2453 (2019), Security Council Grants Six-Month Mandate Extension for United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus
The Security Council extended the mandate of the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) until 31 July 2019 today, unanimously adopting resolution 2453 (2019).
By terms of the resolution, the 15-member Council requested that the Force implement fully the recommendations set forth in the 2017 strategic review of UNFICYP, using existing resources.
Also by the text, the Council called upon the Turkish Cypriot and Greek Cypriot sides, as well as the relevant involved parties, to explore ways by which to establish mechanisms and enhance existing initiatives — with UNFICYP as facilitator through its liaison role — to effectively alleviate tensions and to help address island-wide matters affecting all Cypriots.
The Council expressed regret, by further terms, at the lack of progress towards a settlement since the conclusion of the 2017 Conference on Cyprus, and urged the two sides and all involved participants to seize the important opportunity presented by the consultations of United Nations Consultant Jane Holl Lute on a way forward.
The Council also called upon the sides, specifically the leaders of these communities, and all involved parties, to fully commit to a settlement process under UN auspices, restart negotiations, and avoid any actions that might damage the chances of success.
Following the vote, the Russian Federation’s representative expressed regret that one delegation used this opportunity to advance its own position. Cross-cutting peacekeeping matters should be discussed in the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations before the Security Council, with the participation of troop- and police-contributing countries, he noted, emphasizing that bypassing that forum is not acceptable.
The United Kingdom’s representative, the penholder on the resolution just adopted, said that he took note of his Russian counterpart’s view, but the text’s language on peacekeeping performance is the exact replica of that used in other resolutions on peacekeeping mandates. He added that his delegation does not accept the view that these matters should go to the Special Committee or that the latter has “veto” power.
Reinforcing that point, the representative of the United States underlined that the primary responsibility to maintain international peace and security rests with the Security Council, and it should not cede that responsibility to the Special Committee, a subsidiary organ of the General Assembly.
China’s representative said the draft’s proponents should carefully accommodate the views of all Council members, whom he urged to maintain unity.
The meeting began at 10:06 a.m. and ended at 10:23 a.m.
The full text of resolution 2453 (2019) reads as follows:
“The Security Council,
“Noting that the Government of Cyprus is agreed that in view of the prevailing conditions on the island it is necessary to keep the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) beyond 31 January 2019,
“Echoing the Secretary-General’s firm belief that the responsibility for finding a solution lies first and foremost with the Cypriots themselves, and reaffirming the primary role of the United Nations in assisting the parties to bring the Cyprus conflict and division of the island to a comprehensive and durable settlement,
“Noting the commitments set out in the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot leaders’ Joint Statement of 2 April 2017 on the basis of the Joint Declaration adopted on 11 February 2014, the reconvening of the Conference on Cyprus under United Nations auspices in June 2017, welcoming the participants’ commitment to support the process towards a comprehensive settlement in Cyprus, and the support provided by the Secretary-General and Secretary-General’s Special Representative Elizabeth Spehar,
“Recalling the importance attached by the international community to all parties engaging fully, flexibly and constructively in negotiations to secure a settlement and urging the sides to renew their commitment to an enduring, comprehensive and just settlement based on a bicommunal, bizonal federation with political equality, as set out in relevant Security Council resolutions, stressing that the status quo is unsustainable,
“Welcoming the efforts of UN Consultant Jane Holl Lute, and urging the sides and all involved parties to demonstrate political will and engage constructively with UN consultations,
“Noting the need to advance the consideration of and discussions on military confidence-building measures, welcoming recent progress on confidence-building measures and urging renewed efforts to implement all remaining measures including mobile phone and electricity interconnectivity, and for agreement on and implementation of further joint and unilateral steps to build trust between the communities, including new confidence building measures, particularly in the fields of education, youth and inter-communal economic cooperation, recognising the important benefits of enhanced economic integration between both communities,
“Underlining the importance of promoting peace across all levels of education in order to overcome prejudice, xenophobia and intolerance and contribute to trust building between the communities,
“Welcoming the opening of two new crossing points in November 2018 as an important contribution to trust-building, reaffirming the importance of continued crossings of the Green Line by Cypriots, and encouraging the opening by mutual agreement of other crossing points,
“Convinced of the many important benefits, including economic benefits for all Cypriots, that would flow from a comprehensive and durable Cyprus settlement, urging the two sides and their leaders to foster positive public rhetoric, and encouraging them clearly to explain the benefits of the settlement, as well as the need for increased flexibility and compromise in order to secure it, to both communities well in advance of any referenda,
“Highlighting the importance, both political and financial, of the supporting role of the international community, and in particular that of all parties concerned in taking practical steps towards helping the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot leaders to renew their commitment to a settlement under United Nations auspices,
“Taking note of the assessment of the Secretary-General that the security situation on the island and along the Green Line remains stable but expressing concern at the sharp increase in the number of military violations of the status quo observed by UNFICYP compared to the same reporting period last year and urging all sides to avoid any action, including violations of the military status quo, which could lead to an increase in tension, undermine the progress achieved so far, or damage the goodwill on the island,
“Recalling the Secretary-General’s firm belief that the situation in the buffer zone would be improved if both sides accept and actively assist UNFICYP in the implementation of the aide-memoire in use by the United Nations, underscoring the critical need for the sides and all involved parties to respect UNFICYP’s mandated authority in the buffer zone,
“Noting with regret that the sides are withholding access to the remaining minefields in the buffer zone, and that demining in Cyprus must continue, noting the continued danger posed by mines in Cyprus, noting also proposals and discussions as well as positive initiatives on demining, and urging rapid agreement on facilitating the recommencement of demining operations and clearance of the remaining minefields,
“Commending the work of the Committee on Missing Persons, highlighting the importance of intensifying its activities, and therefore the need to provide all information required as expressed in the press release of the Committee on Missing Persons on 28 July 2016 regarding review of archival materials, noting that the remains of 1,075 missing persons, from a total of 2002, have not yet been positively identified, urging the opening up of access to all areas expeditiously to allow the Committee to carry out its work, and trusting that this process will promote reconciliation between the communities,
“Agreeing that the active participation and leadership of women is essential to the political process and can contribute to making any future settlement sustainable, recalling that women play a critically important role in peace processes as recognised in its resolution 1325 (2000), and related resolutions; recalling its resolution 2242 (2015) and its aspiration to increase the number of women in military and police contingents of United Nations peacekeeping missions; and further recalling the importance of the active participation of youth, consistent with its resolutions 2250 (2015) and 2419 (2018),
“Urging the sides to step up their efforts to promote intercommunal contacts, reconciliation and the active engagement of civil society, including bi-communal initiatives and development projects where the two communities can work together and jointly benefit, and the encouragement of cooperation between economic and commercial bodies and to remove all obstacles to such contacts, while also noting various initiatives to bring together particular sectors or actors on both sides for dialogue, including the Religious Track of the Cyprus Peace Process,
“Stressing the need for the Council to pursue a rigorous, strategic approach to peacekeeping deployments,
“Recalling its resolution 2378 (2017) which requests the Secretary-General to ensure that data related to the effectiveness of peacekeeping operations, including performance data, is used to improve analytics and evaluation of mission operations, based on clear and well-identified benchmarks, and emphasising the need to regularly review all peacekeeping operations including UNFICYP to ensure efficiency and effectiveness,
“Welcoming measures to date to strengthen the liaison and engagement capacity of the mission, and stressing the need to implement fully the remaining recommendations contained in the report of the 2017 Strategic Review of UNFICYP,
“Noting the importance of transition planning in relation to the settlement, including the need to consider adjustments as appropriate to the mandate of UNFICYP, force levels and other resources and concept of operations, taking into account developments on the ground and the views of the parties,
“Noting with appreciation the efforts of the Secretary-General and Special Representative Elizabeth Spehar, and welcoming the Secretary-General’s appointment of UNFICYP Force Commander Major-General Cheryl Pearce,
“Echoing the Secretary-General’s gratitude to the Government of Cyprus and the Government of Greece for their voluntary contributions to the funding of UNFICYP, and his request for further voluntary contributions from other countries and organizations, and expressing appreciation to Member States that contribute personnel to UNFICYP,
“Welcoming and encouraging efforts by the United Nations to sensitize peacekeeping personnel in the prevention and control of HIV/AIDS and other communicable diseases in all its peacekeeping operations,
“1. Takes note of the progress of the leaders-led process since 11 February 2014 and the efforts of the leaders and their negotiators to reach a comprehensive and durable settlement, expresses regret at the lack of progress towards a settlement since the conclusion of the 2017 Conference on Cyprus and urges the sides and all involved participants to seize the important opportunity presented by the consultations of UN Consultant, Jane Holl Lute, on a way forward, by engaging actively and constructively in those consultations, and urges them to agree terms of reference which would constitute a consensus starting point for meaningful results-oriented negotiations leading to a settlement within a foreseeable horizon, and to renew their political will and commitment to a settlement under United Nations auspices;
“2. In this regard, calls upon the sides, specifically the leaders of the two Cypriot communities, and all involved parties to actively and meaningfully engage with openness and creativity, fully commit to a settlement process under UN auspices, use the UN consultations to restart negotiations, and avoid any actions that might damage the chances of success;
“4. Reaffirms all its relevant resolutions on Cyprus, in particular resolution 1251 (1999) of 29 June 1999 and subsequent resolutions;
“5. Recalls its resolution 2430 (2018), and calls upon the two leaders to:
(a) Put their efforts expeditiously behind further work on reaching convergences on the core issues;
(b) Intensify work with the Technical Committees with the objective of enhancing intercommunal contacts and improving the daily lives of the Cypriots;
(c) Promote peace education across the island, including by further empowering the Technical Committee on Education to address impediments to peace in school books, as a contribution to trust-building between the communities;
(d) Improve the public atmosphere for negotiation to secure a settlement, including by preparing the communities for a settlement through public messages on convergences and the way ahead, and delivering more constructive and harmonised messages; and by refraining from rhetoric that detracts from or could make a successful process more difficult to achieve; and
(e) Increase and strengthen the participation of civil society, including women’s organisations and youth in the process; provide direct support and encouragement to civil society organisations to enhance inter-communal contact and trust-building, with a view to mobilising greater support for the settlement process at large;
“6. Calls upon the sides and the relevant involved parties, to explore ways to establish mechanisms and to enhance existing initiatives, with UNFICYP as facilitator through its liaison role, for effectively alleviating tensions and to help address island-wide matters that affect all Cypriots;
“7. Welcomes the Secretary-General’s willingness, and expresses its full support, for his Good Offices to remain available to assist the sides, should they jointly decide to re-engage in negotiations with the necessary political will, as stated in his report of 28 September 2017; and requests the Secretary-General to maintain transition planning in relation to a settlement, guided by progress in negotiations, and encourages the sides to engage with each other, as well as with UNFICYP and the United Nations Good Offices mission in this regard;
“8. Notes the Secretary-General’s report of the 2017 strategic review of UNFICYP (S/2017/1008) and requests the Mission to implement fully its recommendations within existing resources;
“9. Urges the implementation and further development of confidence-building measures, including those aimed at improving mobile phone and electricity interconnectivity, based on a shared vision for the future and joint actions, and looks forward to agreement on and implementation of further such mutually acceptable steps, including military confidence-building measures and the opening of additional crossing points, and urges the sides to promote intercommunal contacts, exchange and cooperation thereby contributing to a conducive environment for a settlement;
“10. Stresses the importance of the full and effective participation of civil society and women in particular at all stages of the peace process and expects their involvement in the development and implementation of post-conflict strategies for sustainable peace, including by revitalising the Gender Committee and calls upon the UN to take forward, within existing resources, the Secretary-General’s proposal to conduct a gender-sensitive socio-economic impact assessment and to share its outcome with both communities;
“11. Further stresses the importance of the full and effective participation of youth; recognizes the important work of the Bi-Communal Technical Committee on Education and calls on both sides to facilitate intercommunal youth contacts, recognising the important contribution of projects to promote peace education and building connections between children from both communities;
“12. Welcomes all efforts to accommodate the Committee on Missing Persons’ exhumation requirements as well as the joint appeal for information issued by the two leaders on 28 May 2015, and calls upon all parties to provide more expeditious, full access to all areas and to respond to the Committee’s request for archival information on possible burial sites, given the need to accelerate the Committee’s work;
“13. Expresses its full support for UNFICYP and decides to extend its mandate for a further period ending 31 July 2019;
“14. Welcomes the mission’s efforts to improve its capacity for liaison and engagement with the sides across all components, including people to people contacts, to keep stability and calm, and thereby contribute effectively to conditions conducive to progress in a settlement process; and Requests the Secretary-General to increase the number of women in UNFICYP in line with its resolution 2242 (2015), as well as to ensure the meaningful participation of women in all aspects of operations;
“15. Expresses serious concern at the increased number of violations of the military status quo along the ceasefire lines and calls on the sides and all involved parties to respect UNFICYP’s mandated authority in the buffer zone, further calls on the sides to continue to engage, as a matter of urgency and while respecting the mandate of UNFICYP, in consultations with UNFICYP on the demarcation of the buffer zone, and strongly recommends the use of the 2018 United Nations aide-memoire by the sides to ensure peace and security in the buffer zone;
“16. Calls on the Turkish Cypriot side and Turkish forces to restore in Strovilia the military status quo which existed there prior to 30 June 2000;
“17. Calls on both sides to allow access to deminers and to facilitate the removal of the remaining mines in Cyprus within the buffer zone, and urges both sides to agree to a plan of work to achieve a mine-free Cyprus;
“18. Welcomes the initiatives undertaken by the Secretary-General to standardize a culture of performance in UN peacekeeping, and reaffirms its support for the development of a comprehensive and integrated performance policy framework that identifies clear standards of performance for evaluating all United Nations civilian and uniformed personnel working in and supporting peacekeeping operations that facilitates effective and full implementation of mandates, and includes comprehensive and objective methodologies based on clear and well-defined benchmarks to ensure accountability for underperformance and incentives and recognition for outstanding performance, and calls on him to apply it to UNFICYP;
“19. Supports the Secretary-General’s zero-tolerance policy on sexual exploitation and abuse, and requests the Secretary-General to work with the Force Commander and Troop-Contributing Countries to ensure UNFICYP’s full compliance with this policy, ensuring that all personnel of the mission are vetted for history of sexual misconduct in the service with the United Nations, and to ensure full compliance of its personnel with the United Nations code of conduct, keeping the Security Council informed through his reports about UNFICYP’s progress in this regard, and urges troop- and police-contributing countries to take appropriate preventive action including pre-deployment awareness training, and to take disciplinary action and other action to ensure full accountability in cases of such conduct involving their personnel;
“20. Requests the Secretary-General to submit by 15 April 2019 a report on his Good Offices and on progress towards reaching a consensus starting point for meaningful results-oriented negotiations; further requests the Secretary-General to submit by 10 July 2019 a report on implementation of this resolution, including progress on confidence-building measures, efforts towards establishing mechanisms to alleviate tensions and address island-wide matters and efforts of the two Leaders to prepare the communities for a settlement, and on how UN activities on Cyprus can be best configured to advance political progress while preserving stability, and to keep the Security Council updated on events as necessary;
“21. Decides to remain seized of the matter.”