Magazine article UN Chronicle

Cyprus: Violent Incidents Deplored

Magazine article UN Chronicle

Cyprus: Violent Incidents Deplored

Article excerpt

The Security Council on 23 December extended the mandate of the United Nations Peace-keeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) for a further six months, until 30 June 1997, and called on the leaders of both communities to create a climate of reconciliation and confidence.

Unanimously adopting resolution 1092 (1996), the Council reiterated that the status quo was unacceptable. It stressed its support for the Secretary-General's mission of good offices and the importance of the concerted efforts to work with him towards an overall comprehensive settlement.

The Council also deplored several violent incidents that took place on 11 and 14 August, 8 September and 15 October 1996, which resulted in the deaths of three Greek Cypriot civilians and one member of the Turkish Cypriot Security Forces, as well as injuries to civilians and UNFICYP personnel. It deplored, in particular, the "unnecessary and disproportionate" use of force by the Turkish/Turkish Cypriot side, as well as the largely passive role played by the Cypriot police in response to civilian demonstrations. Reiterating its concern about excessive levels of the expansion, upgrading and modernization of the military forces, and armaments in the country, the Council again called upon all concerned to commit themselves to a reduction in defence spending and in the number of foreign troops on the island to help restore confidence between the parties, and as a first step towards the withdrawal of non-Cypriot forces.

According to Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali, in a 10 December report on UNFICYP, since June Cyprus "has seen a level of violence and an increase in tension along the cease-fire lines unparalleled since 1974". He warned the Security Council of "excessive levels of military forces and armaments in Cyprus and the rate at which they are being expanded, upgraded and modernized".

Tensions began to rise in early August and, on 11 August, a demonstration organized by a Cypriot motorcycle association turned violent. In that demonstration, as well as in a subsequent one on 14 August, UNFICYP sought unsuccessfully to prevent the demonstrators from entering the United Nations buffer zone. In ensuing clashes between Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, a total of 19 UNFICYP soldiers were shot or injured. …

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