Nicosia, 31 January 2024 (TDI): On 30 January 2024, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) adopted Resolution 2723 (2024), extending the mandate of the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) until 31 January 2025 for a duration of one year.
The United Nations Peacekeeping Force has marked its 60th year in Cyprus, established through Resolution 186 of the United Nations Security Council dated 4 March 1964.
Throughout this time, UNFICYP has neglected to adhere to the fundamental principles it should follow, such as providing equal treatment to both sides on the island and seeking fair solutions to disputes. Moreover, UNFICYP has assumed the role of guardian for the status quo on the island, a stance deemed unsustainable by all relevant parties.
The main factor enabling the United Nations Peacekeeping Force to operate within the borders of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) is the good-willed cooperation of our authorities, despite our objections to the relevant Security Council Resolutions. Yet again, the Security Council has repeated the mistake of extending the mandate of UNFICYP without seeking the consent of the Turkish Cypriot side.
We reject this approach, which disregards the will and existence of the Turkish Cypriot side. Sovereignty in the north of Cyprus belongs to the Turkish Cypriot people and their State, the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. Thus, UNFICYP must carry out its activities in our country on a legitimate basis.
In the Security Council Resolution, while the sides are requested to engage constructively with the Personal Envoy appointed by the UN Secretary-General on the one hand, on the other hand, they are also called on to make an effort to reach a comprehensive agreement based on “bi-zonal, bi-communal federation”.
Imposing a model which is incompatible with the realities on the ground and which is proven to fail, constitutes a great disrespect towards the will of the Turkish Cypriot people, and also sets a precondition on the contacts of the Personal Envoy.
We deem it necessary to remind you that we gave our consent to the appointment of a Personal Envoy for a period not exceeding six months to determine whether or not common ground exists between the sides for the start of a new negotiation process. Our expectation from the Personal Envoy is to carry out her contacts with an open mind and to put on record once again our new vision regarding the Cyprus issue.
Today, the only realistic solution on the island depends on the establishment of good neighborly relations based on sovereign equality and equal international status of the two existing States. At this stage, to achieve lasting cooperation and stability on the island, the members of the UN Security Council must review their outdated Resolutions and adopt a new approach based on the existence of two separate peoples and States on the island within their respective borders.
Moreover, the resolution mentions violations in the buffer zone by exclusively pointing to the situation in Pile. The sole responsible party for the events that unfolded in the area is UNFICYP, which attempted to prevent the construction of a purely humanitarian Yiğitler-Pile road.
The Turkish Cypriot side demands the implementation of the understanding reached with UNFICYP and the completion of the construction of the road in the shortest possible time. On the other hand, the Greek Cypriot side which purports to be the sole owner of the island, is attempting to extend its hegemonic stance to the buffer zone. The increased tensions and violations in the buffer zone are a direct consequence of this delusion.