The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) has adopted today Resolution 2453 accepting the extension of the mandate of the UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) until 31 July 2019. While the detailed views and positions of the Turkish Cypriot side in this regard have been conveyed to the relevant parties, we would like to share with the public our views concerning the various aspects of the Resolution.

As is known, numerous initiatives have been taken, both within and outside the island, towards commencement of cooperation between the two sides. As such, a clear reference is made in the Resolution to the establishment of a mechanism enabling direct communication and cooperation between the two sides. This is a clear indication of the fact that we have entered a new era in Cyprus.

It is our view that the establishment of a mechanism for direct communication and cooperation between the Turkish Cypriot and Greek Cypriot sides will eliminate the existing mistrust between the two peoples and create interdependency between the sides on the island, thus acting as an important factor facilitating a negotiated settlement based on a common vision. This mechanism is also significant in terms of regional stability and security.

Subsequent to this call in the Resolution, our expectation is for the international community to urge the immediate establishment of the said mechanism which entails direct communication and cooperation between the two sides. Cognizant of the fact that the establishment of a relationship based on cooperation between the two sides on the island is fundamental to tranquillity and stability both on the island and in the region, we, as the Turkish Cypriot side, are ready to take the necessary steps towards the implementation of such a mechanism. We, therefore, invite the Greek Cypriot Administration of Southern Cyprus, which has, to this day, refrained from developing a relationship based on direct communication and cooperation with the Turkish Cypriot side, to abandon this approach and to comply with this call of the UN Security Council, both for the benefit of our island and our region. The Turkish Cypriot side will commence initiatives before the United Nations towards the immediate establishment of the cooperation mechanism.

We welcome the call made on the sides in the Resolution to agree on a consensus starting point based on the UN Secretary-General’s reports dated 15 October 2018 and 11 January 2019.

On the other hand, it is unfortunate to observe that the reference, in the drafts of the Resolution, to the UN Security Council’s overarching Resolution 2436 dated 21 September 2018 – which calls on the implementation of fundamental principles such as the consent of all parties and impartiality in all peacekeeping operations – has been removed from the said Resolution. In this regard, we would like to remind that this contradictory step of the UN Security Council, neither detracts from the binding nature of the said Resolution, nor does it remove the need to seek the consent and approval of the sides in peacekeeping operations, including UNFICYP. In this regard, we emphasize our expectation for this omission to be redressed in the next Resolution.

In the Resolution, the Security Council also states that the activities of UNFICYP – which has become the symbol of the status quo and, therefore, a part of the problem itself – need to help advance the political process. In this connection, considering the current situation regarding the settlement process in the aftermath of the 2017 Conference on Cyprus in Crans-Monatana, the necessity to review the mandate of UNFICYP in addition to its functions and operations is clear. It is our expectation that the Security Council will take steps in this regard in its next Resolution.