Magazine article UN Chronicle

Efforts to Restore Confidence Asked by Security Council

Magazine article UN Chronicle

Efforts to Restore Confidence Asked by Security Council

Article excerpt

The Security Council has called for efforts to reduce the number of foreign troops, as well as defence spending, in Cyprus so as to help restore confidence between the two parties and as a first step towards the withdrawal of non-Cypriot forces.

In adopting resolution 1000 (1995) on 23 June, the Council also extended the mandate of the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) for a further period of six months, until 31 December. it requested the Secretary-General to keep under review the structure and strength of UNFICYP, with a view to its possible restructuring.

The Council, expressing concern about the modernization and upgrading of military forces in Cyprus and the lack of progress towards a significant reduction in the number of foreign troops, urged once again all concerned to commit themselves to such reduction.

It also expressed concern about the failure of military authorities on both sides to prohibit live ammunition or weapons, other than hand-held ones, along the cease-fire lines, and the firing of weapons within sight or hearing of the buffer zone. It called on those authorities to discuss the matter with UNFICYP.

Both sides were also asked to reach agreement on the extension of the 1989 unmanning agreement to cover all areas of the buffer zone where they were in close proximity.

The Council urged the leaders of both communities to promote tolerance and reconciliation and welcomed the Secretary-General's decision to continue contacts with the two leaders to find common ground for a resumption of direct talks.

In a 15 June report (S/1995/488), the Secretary-General stated that while the situation had remained generally calm, the continuing quiet should not obscure the fact that there was merely a ceasefire in Cyprus, not peace.

Excessive levels of armaments and forces in the country and the rate at which they were being strengthened were a cause for serious concern, he went on. Security Council call for a significant reduction in foreign troops and defence spending had not been heeded. Nor had it been possible to make progress even on modest measures aimed at reducing confrontation between the two sides along the ceasefire lines.

The northern part of the island, with its garrison of some 30,000 Turkish troops and 4,500 Turkish Cypriot troops, remained one of the most highly militarized areas in the world in terms of the ratio between the numbers of military personnel and civilians, it was stated. …

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