PLACE DU PETIT-SACONNEX
1211 GENEVA 19, SWITZERLAND
REPORT OF THE IPU COMMITTEE TO MONITOR THE SITUATION IN CYPRUS
(Bucharest, 14 October 1995)
1. Participation in deliberations
1. The Committee to Monitor the Situation in Cyprus held its IXth session in Bucharest on Tuesday, 10 October, and Thursday, 12 October 1995. The following took part in the session: Mr. M. Ferris (Ireland), Chairman, Mr. J. Baumel (France), Vice-Chairman, Mr. H. Kemppainen (Finland), Mr. L. McLeay (Australia), Mrs. H. Megahed (Egypt) and Mr. David Trimble (United Kingdom).
2. Hearing of the representatives of the two Cypriot Communities
2. The Committee heard separately, on Tuesday, 10 October:
(i) As representatives of the Greek Cypriot Community, Mr. Nicos Anastasiades, MP (DISY) and Mr. Andreas Philippou, MP (AKEL), respectively Leader and member of the delegation of the Republic of Cyprus to the 94th Inter-Parliamentary Conference;
(ii) As representatives of the Turkish Cypriot Community, Mr. Ayhan Haylit Acarkan and Mr. Aytag Beseler (Democratic Party), Mr. Feridun Onsav (Republican Turkish Party), Mr. Günay Caymaz (National Unity Party) and Mr. Emin Karagil (Populist Salvation Party).
3. Hearing of the representatives of the three Guarantor Powers
3. The Committee heard jointly, on Tuesday, 10 October 1995, the following representatives of the three Guarantor Powers established by the 1960 Treaty of Guarantee:
(i) For Greece: Mr. Alexander Baltas, Member of the Chamber of Deputies (PASOK - Panhellenic Socialist Movement) and Leader of the delegation of Greece to the 94th Inter-Parliamentary Conference, and Mrs. Dora Bakoyannis, Member of the Chamber of Deputies (ND - New Democracy);
(ii) For Turkey: Mr. Yildirim Avci, Member of the Grand National Assembly (DYP - Party of the Just Path) and Leader of the delegation of Turkey to the 94th Inter-Parliamentary Conference;
(iii) For the United Kingdom: Dame Jill Knight, Member of the House of Commons (Conservative Party) and Leader of the UK delegation to the 94th Inter-Parliamentary Conference.
4. Examination of the written documentation made available to the Committee
4. The Committee had before it written information relating to
the Good Offices Mission of the United Nations Secretary-General,
as well documents presented by the representatives of the two
Communities and memoranda on developments in the situation regarding
Cyprus since April 1995 presented by the representatives
of the three Guarantor Powers.
II. OUTCOME OF THE HEARINGS
5. The Committee considers that the hearings of the representatives
of the two Cypriot Communities and that of representatives of
the Guarantor Powers enabled it to take stock of certain key aspects
of their respective positions on the Cypriot question and on the
current situation with regard to Cyprus. It thanks all of them
warmly for their co-operation.
III. OVERALL EVALUATION OF DEVELOPMENTS REGARDING THE CYPRUS PROBLEM SINCE APRIL 1995
1. Maintenance and dangers of the status quo
6. The Committee notes with concern that it emerges clearly from all the information at its disposal that no progress has been made towards a settlement of the Cyprus situation over the past six months. Such progress would depend on a genuine agreement of the parties and not mere tactical acceptance as regards certain substantive principles covered in detail in the UN Secretary-General's Set of Ideas as well as the implementation in good faith of a number of Confidence-Building Measures (CBMs) negotiated within the framework of his Good Offices Mission. It is bound to note, however, that the parties have yet to reach agreement on some of the most sensitive key questions and that it has not yet been possible to begin implementing the Confidence-Building Measures. Yet, as the UN Secretary-General recalls in his report (S/1995/488) which he presented on 23 June 1995 to the Security Council, the status quo is not an acceptable option: "It holds dangers that do not diminish with the passage of time. In the absence of progress towards an agreed overall settlement, the situation remains subject to sudden tensions, generated by events outside the island as well as within Cyprus. Relations between Greece and Turkey continue to be particularly important in this connection" (paragraph 50).
7. The Committee endorses the description given in the same report by the UN Secretary-General to the effect that, even though over the past few months "the situation has remained generally calm (...) this continuing quiet should not obscure the fact that there is merely a cease-fire in Cyprus, not peace". The island remains divided by a demarcation line; and although the presence and the effective action of UNFICYP should continue to prevent the outbreak of a new direct conflict, its position in the heart of the Mediterranean means that it is permanently a latent threat to peace and security in the region. Clearly, no efforts must be spared to eliminate this hotbed of tension in a part of the world already affected by war.
2. Withdrawal of foreign troops from the island of Cyprus and reduction of military spending
8. The Committee notes with satisfaction that assurance given by the delegation of Turkey that it had transmitted to its country's competent authorities the IPU Council's recommendations to proceed with the gradual withdrawal of the Turkish troops from the north of the island. It welcomes the commitment made by this delegation to repeat this approach and hopes that its appeal, which meets the inter-parliamentary community's request, will be heard. It is bound to note, however, that there are no signs that the number of Turkish troops in the north of Cyprus has declined over the past six months.
9. The Committee also notes with interest the demilitarization offer made by the Government of the Republic of Cyprus. However, it is bound to note that there are no signs that the arms expenditure of the Republic of Cyprus has decreased over the past six months.
10. Although the above-mentioned report of the UN Secretary-General dates back to June 1995, its summing-up of the situation is still relevant: (...) the excessive levels of armaments and forces in Cyprus and the rate at which they are being strengthened are a cause for serious concern. The Security Council's call to all concerned to commit themselves to a significant reduction in the number of foreign troops and in defence spending in the Republic of Cyprus has not been heeded. Nor has it been possible so far to make progress even on modest measures, repeatedly called for by the Council, aimed at reducing confrontation between the two sides along the cease-fire lines." (paragraph 51).
11. At the same date, the Security Council expressed "concern about the modernization and upgrading of military forces in the Republic of Cyprus and the lack of progress towards a significant reduction in the number of foreign troops in the Republic of Cyprus", and urged once again "all concerned to commit themselves to such a reduction and to a reduction of defence spending in the Republic of Cyprus to help restore confidence between the parties and as a first step towards the withdrawal of non-Cypriot forces as described in the set of ideas (S/24472, annex), calling on the Secretary-General "to promote efforts in this direction". The Security Council also expressed concern "about the failure by the military authorities on both sides to take reciprocal measures to prohibit along the cease-fire lines live ammunition or weapons other than those which are hand-held and to prohibit also the firing of weapons within sight or hearing of the buffer zone", calling upon those authorities to enter into discussions with UNFICYP on that matter. Lastly, the Security Council regretted "the failure to reach agreement on the extension of the 1989 unmanning agreement to cover all areas of the buffer zone where the two sides are in close proximity to each other", and called upon "the military authorities on both sides to cooperate urgently with UNFICYP to this end."
3. Questions relating to the establishment of a federal system of government on the island
12. The Committee continues to note that although all parties to the Cypriot problem use the same term - "federation" - to designate the type of administration they would like to see established on the island, their views as to exactly what the term should mean do not seem to have drawn any closer. In the Committee's view, this is particularly regrettable since it clearly is one of the most crucial preliminary issues.
4. Confidence-building measures
13. The Committee notes that in May 1994, the Greek Cypriot side accepted the Confidence-Building Measures worked out with the United Nations Secretary-General whereas, after giving to understand that it endorsed that agreement, the Turkish-Cypriot side broke off negotiations on the subject. It notes that in January 1995 the Turkish Cypriot side declared in turn that it was prepared to start implementing Confidence-Building Measures, whereas the Greek Cypriot side argued that implementation of the Confidence-Building Measures could hinder rather than help an overall and lasting settlement of the Cypriot question if it were to come before an agreement on the substantive key issues - especially an agreement on a common definition of "federation", on constitutional questions, on territorial questions and on security guarantees.
5. Accession to the European Union
14. The Committee recalls that the European Union decided to start negotiations six months after the conclusion of the Inter-Governmental Conference, with a view to the accession of the Republic of Cyprus. It notes that, though favourable to membership for Cyprus, the Turkish Cypriot side is unanimously opposed to accession prior to an overall settlement of the Cypriot question and considers that, rather than facilitating such a settlement, the application for EU membership complicates and delays it; it asserts that the accession of the Republic of Cyprus to the EU would lead to definitive partition of the island.
6. Changes in the demographic balance of the north of the island
15. The Committee continues to receive alarming allegations about demographic developments in the north of the island. According to one of the members of the Turkish Cypriot delegation, the presence of settlers from Anatolia has in no way modified the demographic balance in the north of the island, but has merely served to offset the departure of an equivalent number of Turkish Cypriots: after 1974 some 25,000 immigrants from Turkey (chiefly from Anatolia) came to the island, and thereafter their number gradually decreased; most of the immigrants settled on the island, acquiring citizenship rights after 5 years, while the others went back to Turkey; in the meanwhile, an equivalent number of Turkish Cypriots affected by the economic conditions left to settle abroad. For its part, the Greek Cypriot delegation recalled that at the inter-communal meeting organized by the Committee in Copenhagen in September 1994, one member of the Turkish Cypriot delegation expressed great concern about the imbalance caused by the massive presence of settlers from Anatolia and the indiscriminate granting of citizenship rights to them. The Greek Cypriot delegation put the number of such settlers at some 70,000 as against a Turkish Cypriot emigration of some 45,000 persons.
7. Inter-communal meetings between political parties
16. Political parties channel the views and aspirations of the populations of the two Communities. They are by their nature, and must be in practice, key protagonists in promoting a fair and lasting solution to the Cypriot problem that meets the wishes of the populations. Mindful of the role played by the political parties, the Inter-Parliamentary Council has on many occasions encouraged the leaders of all political parties on the island to meet, as a confidence-building measure. For its part, the Committee has successfully organized two sessions of inter-communal contacts between leaders of political parties, the first in September 1994 in Copenhagen during the 92nd Inter-Parliamentary Conference, and the second at Ledra Palace, in the buffer zone, during the second mission to Cyprus in January 1995.
17. It notes with great satisfaction that, according to information
received, inter-communal contacts between leaders of political
parties have continued fairly regularly since then at Ledra Palace,
the most recent having been on 25 September 1995.
V. RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE COMMITTEE
1. Breaking the deadlock
18. The Committee invites the Inter-Parliamentary Council to appeal to the parties to the Cyprus problem to display the necessary political will to break the current deadlock in the negotiations. It considers the political will of all the parties concerned to be a prerequisite for progress towards a lasting negotiated settlement.
2. Negotiations on key issues for the future of Cyprus
19. The Committee recommends that the Inter-Parliamentary Council encourage the parties to the Cypriot problem to negotiate in good faith for the sake of irrevocable progress towards a lasting settlement within the framework of the Good Offices Mission of the United Nations Secretary-General, and to abandon purely tactical approaches to issues of substance such as the definition of the concept of federation, constitutional questions, territorial questions and security guarantees.
3. Confidence-Building Measures
20. The Committee recommends that the Council encourage the parties to move ahead simultaneously on the question of Confidence-Building Measures. Among the first such measures needing to be implemented as likely to facilitate the settlement of the Cypriot problem is the reopening of the Varosha fenced area and of Nicosia International Airport; the Committee recommends urging the parties concerned to give priority to these measures.
4. Withdrawal of foreign troops and reduction of military spending
21. The Committee invites the Council to reiterate forcefully its recommendation that foreign troops be progressively withdrawn from Cyprus and that the first such measures be taken in the next six months. Such withdrawal would help to create a space of confidence and would facilitate negotiations on other key questions. Likewise, it recommends that the Council encourage cutbacks in military spending in Cyprus by both sides and the allocation of resources thus released to sustainable development objectives.
5. Membership in the European Union
22. Noting that the European Union has already taken a decision on the timetable for considering the application for membership from the Republic of Cyprus, the Committee recommends that the Council urge the parties to the Cypriot problem to take advantage of the time between now and the start of the negotiations proper, to move towards a lasting negotiated settlement.
6. Freedom of movement on the island
23. The Committee recommends that the Council reiterate its conviction that freedom of movement should gradually be granted to all inhabitants of the island and, in the meanwhile, encourage the leadership of both Communities to facilitate increasing contacts in either part of the island.
7. Telephone links
24. The Committee recommends that the Council reiterate its appeal for all telephone links through the buffer zone to be gradually restored. It invites the Council also to reiterate its recommendation that, in the meanwhile, measures should be taken for the selective reestablishment of telephone lines linking the party headquarters of political parties or for ensuring communications via satellite so that such contacts can take place, or for the facilities provided by UNFICYP to be used to relay calls between the two parts of the island.
8. Inter-communal contacts between the political parties
25. The Committee recommends that the Council:
(i) Take note with satisfaction of the continued inter-communal contacts between leaders of political parties, and express the hope that these contacts will be pursued on a regular basis and with the participation of representatives of all parties on the island so that the views and the aspirations of the entire population of the two Communities may be represented in these discussions;
(ii) Encourage representatives of political parties to participate in these meetings in the most constructive frame of mind, striving for convergence of views on the issues of substance covered by the Set of Ideas and further endeavouring gradually to work out clear and precise agreements both on issues of substance and on limited Confidence-Building Measures whose effective implementation can be evaluated from session to session;
(iii) Further encourage political parties to develop the practice of holding bilateral or multilateral meetings as frequently as possible, on either side of the buffer zone.
9. Inter-communal contacts at the level of civil society
26. The Committee recommends that the Council invite the leadership of the two Communities to facilitate meetings between the various actors of civil society, thereby facilitating the gradual extension of contacts fostering mutual respect and understanding and making a useful contribution to the quest for a fair and lasting solution to the Cypriot problem.
10. The Committee's visit to Cyprus
27. At its previous session, the Inter-Parliamentary Council authorized the Committee to send a mission to Cyprus at a date to be agreed with the two Communities. Having been welcomed by representatives of the two Communities to conduct this new mission, the Committee wishes to thank them for their expression of confidence. However, it proposes that the Council take up the invitation only as and when the situation is deemed to require it.
11. Renewed support for the Good Offices Mission of the UN Secretary-General
28. Regarding its work as parliamentary support to the Good Offices Mission of the UN Secretary-General, the Committee recommends that the Council:
(i) Confirm its support for the action of the UN Secretary-General;
(ii) Ask the IPU Secretary General to bring this report and the Council's decision to the notice of the UN Secretary-General;
(iii) Request the Secretary General to continue to keep the Committee
members regularly informed, between now and their next session,
of any changes in the Secretary-General's Good Offices Mission.
IV. FUTURE WORK OF THE COMMITTEE
1. Next session of the Committee
29. The Committee intends to meet again during the Inter-Parliamentary meetings in Istanbul, from 16 to 18 April 1996. At that session, the Committee wishes (i) again to examine written information on developments regarding Cyprus presented by the representatives of the two Communities and by the representatives of the Guarantor Powers and on the Good Offices Mission of the UN Secretary-General; (ii) to hear the representatives of the two Communities again; (iii) also to hear the representatives of the Guarantor Powers again. This should enable it to evaluate progress made since the Bucharest session, to continue its support for the UN Secretary-General's endeavours to find a lasting negotiated solution to the Cypriot problem and, lastly, to pursue its role as a catalyst for inter-communal contacts, more specifically between political parties.
30. The Committee considers that, as this session will take place in Turkey, it should provide an opportunity for active and effective parliamentary diplomacy and for real progress to be made on the Cypriot question.
31. The Chairman of the Committee, Mr. M. Ferris, announced that he was resigning owing to important new commitments in his country. The Committee expressed its appreciation of his excellent contribution to its activities and the most effective manner in which he had directed its work.
32. The Committee unanimously elected Mr. Hannu Kemppainen (Finland) to succeed Mr. Ferris in the Chair.