PLACE DU PETIT-SACONNEX
1211 GENEVA 19, SWITZERLAND
REPORT OF THE COMMITTEE TO MONITOR THE SITUATION IN CYPRUS
Approved by the Inter-Parliamentary Council
1. The Committee to Monitor the Situation in Cyprus held its XIVth session in Windhoek from 7 to 9 April 1998. The following persons took part in the session: Mr. H. Kemppainen (Finland), President, Mr. J. Baumel (France), Vice-President, Sir Peter Lloyd (United Kingdom), Mrs. Y. Loza (Egypt), Mr. L. McLeay (Australia) and Mr. S. Pattison (Ireland).
2. The Committee examined developments in the situation in and regarding Cyprus since September 1997, the date of its latest report on the issue to the IPU Council. To this end, following its previous practice, it examined information received in writing and held three hearings.
3. The Committee heard separately on Tuesday, 7 April 1998:
4. According to its practice, the Committee heard jointly, also on Tuesday 7 April 1998, the following representatives of the Parliaments of the three Guarantor Powers established by the Treaty of Guarantee of 1960:
5. The Committee had before it memoranda and communications presented
by the representatives of the two Communities on developments
in and regarding Cyprus since September 1997, memoranda submitted
by the representatives of the three Guarantor Powers on developments
in and regarding Cyprus since September 1997, information on the
good offices mission of the United Nations Secretary-General concerning
Cyprus, and information on developments in connection with the
request for accession by the Republic of Cyprus to the European
Union. The Committee also benefited greatly from a social event
generously hosted on 7 April by Ms. Loza, in which all of the
Committee's interlocutors and the UN Under-Secretary General for
Political Affairs took part.
II. MAIN DEVELOPMENTS SINCE SEPTEMBER 1997
6. The main highlights of the last six months are the European Council's decision in December 1997 to begin accession negotiations with the Republic of Cyprus on the basis of the application for membership lodged on 4 July 1990, and the actual initiation of the process on 30 March 1998. The Council decided to convene a bilateral intergovernmental Conference in the spring of 1998 to begin negotiations with Cyprus on the conditions of its entry into the EU and the ensuing Treaty adjustments.
7. In December 1997, the European Union reiterated: " The accession of Cyprus should benefit all communities and help to bring about civil peace and reconciliation. The accession negotiations will contribute positively to the search for a political solution to the Cyprus problem through the talks under the aegis of the United Nations which must continue with a view to creating a bi-communal, bi-zonal federation ". The Committee is however bound to note that, following the EU's decision, the tension increased in Cyprus and also between Turkey and Greece.
8. The Turkish Cypriot side - claiming that the Government of the Republic of Cyprus does not represent the entire population of the Island and has no legitimacy to speak on behalf of the Turkish Cypriots since they have not been involved in the institutions of the Republic for the last 35 years - is boycotting the process of accession to the EU and refuses any involvement, under the suggested terms, of Turkish Cypriots in the Cypriot negotiating team with the EU. It states that the EU decision has only helped to destroy the framework for a federal settlement which had emerged through the process of intercommunal negotiations and that " the EU decision, by denying the UN parameters, has rendered meaningless the UN Secretary-General's good offices mission ".
9. The Turkish Cypriot side reiterates that Cyprus cannot become a member of any international organisation of which Turkey and Greece are not members, and " objects to EU membership prior to a settlement " of the Cyprus problem. Protesting any steps " demoting the Turkish Cypriot people to minority status ", it demands that negotiations regarding the Cyprus issue be carried out " between two States " from now on. It may be recalled very firmly, however, that the international community does not recognise the self-proclaimed " Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) " and that the only framework for the settlement of the Cyprus issue is that defined by the United Nations, namely: a State of Cyprus with a single sovereignty and international personality and a single citizenship, with its independence and territorial integrity safeguarded, and comprising two politically equal communities as described in the relevant Security Council resolutions, in a bi-communal and bi-zonal federation, and such a settlement must exclude union in whole or in part with any other country or any form of partition or secession.
10. In this context, threats of uniting northern Cyprus to Turkey were repeated and steps to implement the Joint Declaration of 6 August 1997 establishing an Association Council between Turkey and the unrecognised " TRNC ", and the ensuing Co-operation Protocol of 12 January 1998, were initiated. This would clearly be contrary to the 1960 Treaty of Guarantee and the UN framework for the settlement.
11. In contrast, Greece states that it does " not regard the solution of the Cyprus problem as a precondition for the accession of Cyprus to the EU, even though we very much hope to see Cyprus joining the Union as a united, bizonal and bicommunal federation. If this is not possible, the whole of Cyprus will formally become part of the European Union ". It argues that Cyprus' accession to the EU forms an integral part of the general European architecture on enlargement and opposes " any efforts that would aim to differentiate for political reasons Cyprus and her Government in relation to the rest of the applicant countries ". It claims that " the prospect of accession to the EU offers a unique opportunity to solve the political problem of the Island. " It asserts that " the accession of Cyprus will foremost benefit the Turkish Cypriots. " It further asserts that " backed up by strong institutional guarantees, the Turkish Cypriots would thrive in a demilitarised federal Republic, which would be an EU member. A wide net of European institutions applying the EU's principles would foster security, safeguard the cultural, religious and national heritage of the totality of Cypriots and create a common interest in the viability of the Federation. " These views are very much those of the delegation of the Republic of Cyprus.
12. In December 1997, the European Council laid down the following principles and criteria for prospective members: "A common commitment to peace, security and good neighbourliness, respect for other countries' sovereignty, the principles upon which the European Union is founded, the integrity and inviolability of external borders and the principles of international law and a commitment to the settlement of territorial disputes by peaceful means, in particular through the jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice in the Hague. Countries which endorse these principles and respect the right of any European country fulfilling the required criteria to accede to the European Union and sharing the Union's commitment to building a Europe free of the divisions and difficulties of the past will be invited to take part in the Conference ". The Council further stated that while " the political and economic conditions allowing access negotiations to be envisaged (were) not satisfied " as far as Turkey was concerned, " strengthening Turkey's link with the European Union also (depended) on that country's ... support for negotiations under the aegis of the U.N. on a political settlement in Cyprus on the basis of the relevant U.N. Security Council resolutions".
13. In December 1997, the European Council requested " that the willingness of the Government of Cyprus to include representatives of the Turkish Cypriot community in the accession negotiating delegation be acted upon. In order for this request to be acted upon, the necessary contacts will be undertaken by the Presidency and the Commission. " The responses from both sides were as follows:
14. The Committee strongly urges the EU to continue to strive to involve the Turkish Cypriot Community in the accession negotiations on the basis of the UN agreed framework for the settlement which acknowledges the existence of two politically equal communities.
15. On the other hand, the delivery by the Russian Federation of the defensive S-300 anti-aircraft system purchased in 1996 by the Republic of Cyprus was not cancelled. This is in fact a matter for grave concern since, as explained in previous reports of the Committee, this purchase raised considerable tension between the Greek Cypriots and the Turkish Cypriots and between Greece and Turkey, and Turkey threatened to use force to prevent the deployment of this armament. The IPU repeatedly urged the Government of the Republic of Cyprus " to reverse its decision to purchase and deploy the S-300 anti-aircraft missiles and to refrain from any further acquisition of armaments, in order to ease the way to a politically negotiated settlement. " It may also be noted that the US expressed strong opposition to the S-300 missile purchase and deployment. The Greek Cypriot side explained once again that the missiles were purchased to balance the Turkish military arsenal on the island, as was the sovereign right of the Republic of Cyprus, and that progress in the settlement will determine whether or not they should be deployed. They insisted that " the proposal of President Clerides for demilitarisation of the island is still valid although Turkey has rejected it. "
16. No progress was registered with regard to the withdrawal of Turkish troops from northern Cyprus. Furthermore, the dialogue on military issues carried out in the last quarter of 1997 between the two Cypriot Leaders under the auspices of UNFICYP did not produce any results, each side rejecting on the other the responsibility for this failure. Obviously, these facts are a matter for very serious concern as the progressive demilitarisation of the Island - probably the most militarised spot on the globe currently - should be a priority, as was repeatedly stated by the Security Council and the IPU Council, in the belief that progress towards a politically negotiated settlement is dramatically linked to progress in this area too.
17. As a matter of fact, since September 1997, successive incidents and developments took place, contributing to further escalation of the political and military tension and exasperating Cypriots in both parts of the Island:
18. In September 1997, the IPU Council had welcomed some progress with regard to contacts at the level of civil society, particularly the chambers of commerce, professional organisations and trade unions in addition to non-governmental organisations, and it had strongly encouraged the further development of such contacts as a path to releasing the tension and building the confidence that is indispensible to progress towards a negotiated settlement. The Committee however noted with great concern reports that " Mr. Denktash had reverted to an attitude of outright obstruction " and suspended intercommunal contacts and that the Turkish Cypriot authorities require those crossing into the northern part to present passports or identity cards and pay a visa fee.
19. In September 1997, the IPU Council had also reiterated its encouragements to all political parties in Cyprus to pursue and develop the practice of holding joint meetings. It was however bound to note that no progress was made in the current context, which is most unfortunate since such political contacts would be particularly welcome and crucial to help bridging the existing gap.
20. The delegates of the Republic of Cyprus denounced the " systematic destruction of the cultural and religious heritage " in the northern part of Cyprus, in particular plans to convert the Armenian Monastery of St. Makar into a hotel. The Turkish Cypriot representatives assured the Committee that the latter matter was being carefully looked into and the Committee urges that this plan, which, be it for religious or other reasons, hurts the feelings of Cypriots, be abandoned
21. A positive note concerns the issue of missing persons as, on 23 January 1998, an exchange of information took place between the representatives of the two sides in the presence of the UN Secretary-General's Deputy Special Representative in Cyprus; following this, steps were taken for the appointment of a new third member to the Committee on Missing Persons in Cyprus (CMP). The Committee can only hope that this painful matter will finally be clarified.
22. Finally, it should be mentioned that intensive diplomatic efforts were made in the last few months to overcome the current dangerous deadlock: the Special Advisor for Cyprus of the UN Secretary-General, Mr. D. Cordovez, visited Athens, Ankara and Nicosia in November 1997 and again in March 1998; a further visit is to take place in May. The Representative for Cyprus of the European Union Presidency for Cyprus, Sir David Hannay, the Representative of the Russian Federation, Mr. Chisov, and the US Representatives, Mr. Holbrooke and Mr. Miller, also visited Cyprus.