Ban Ki-moon Laments Lack Of Progress On Cyprus
Secretary-General laments lack of progress on implementing Cyprus agreement
The Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot sides have made no progress in the past six months in implementing the July 2006 agreement aimed at establishing the framework for a political process so that full-fledged negotiations on solving the Cyprus problem can begin, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says.
In his latest report to the Security Council on the work of the UN peacekeeping force in Cyprus (UNFICYP), Mr. Ban writes that the leaders of the two communities continue to publicly endorse the agreement's principles that a settlement must be based "on a bi-zonal, bicommunal federation and political equality," but that "a lack of political will to fully engage" was preventing any tangible progress.
"All parties need to show greater flexibility and greater political courage," he states, describing a September meeting of the leaders that did not produce any concrete results as "a lost opportunity."
Mr. Ban stresses that only sustained political will from Cypriots, translated into real action, will lead to a settlement, and to that end he urges the people of the island to become more actively involved in civil society.
The Secretary-General also states that "it is regrettable that the ongoing debate on the lifting of the isolation of the Turkish Cypriots has become a debate on recognition. Recognition, or assisting secession, would be contrary to the resolutions of the Security Council.
"Rather, the objective should be to engender greater economic and social parity between the sides by further promoting the development of the Turkish Cypriot community, so that the reunification of the island may occur in as seamless a manner as possible."
In addition, Mr. Ban welcomes the recent work of the Committee on Missing Persons - which is tasked with identifying the remains of missing persons and returning those remains to the families concerned - "towards the resolution of one of the most painful aspects of the Cyprus problem."
Given the general situation, the Secretary-General recommends that the mandate of UNIFCYP be extended for another six months, until 15 June next year. The mission is deployed on the Mediterranean island to supervise ceasefire lines, maintain a buffer zone and undertake humanitarian activities.