New critical round of U.N. talks begins

Following the adoption of Resolution 750 (1992) the Secretary-General's representatives visited the area for talks with both sides in Cyprus and with the governments of Greece and Turkey. In the light of these discussions, the Secretary-General invited the Cypriot president and Mr. Denktash to meet with him at U.N. Headquarters beginning on 18 June 1992, for such reasonable duration as might be necessary to reach agreement on a set of ideas of an overall framework agreement. The Secretary-General had, in total, five separate meetings both with Mr. Vassiliou and Mr. Denktash from 18 to 23 June 1992. The discussions focused on territorial adjustments and displaced persons while the other six issues that make up the set of ideas of an overall framework agreement were also reviewed.
On 24 June 1992 an oral report was delivered to the Security Council by Under SecretaryGeneral Petrovsky on behalf of the Secretary-General concerning the separate meetings held in New York from 18 to 23 June 1992. On 13 July the President of the Security Council made a statement on Cyprus on behalf of Security Council members. The Council, inter alia, considered that the meeting scheduled to start on 15 July, represented a determining phase in the Secretary-General's effort and called on both leaders to be ready to take the necessary decisions to reach agreement on each of the issues as dealt with in the set of ideas as an integrated whole on an overall framework agreement. The Council also reaffirmed its decision to remain seized of the Cyprus question on an on-going and direct basis in support of the effort to complete the set of ideas and to conclude an overall framework agreement. Former President Vassiliou and Mr. Denktash met again from 15 July with the SecretaryGeneral who submitted an expanded and completed version of his ideas. By now, the ideas covered practically all aspects of the Cyprus problem, including a map delineating territorial adjustments for a future federation. The proximity talks started with the territorial issue. In order to comply with Security Council Resolution 750 (1992) and to make progress, the Greek Cypriot side accepted the set of ideas as a basis for negotiating an overall framework agreement. This acceptance was made, even though the map did not reflect the just claims of Cyprus' Greek Cypriot population.
In contrast, Mr. Denktash adopted delaying tactics and for the first whole week refused even to negotiate the territorial issue and make any specific proposals. This led to a meeting of the Permanent Five with Mr. Denktash on 24 July at which Mr. Denktash was told that they supported the Secretary-General's proposed map as an integral part of the delicately balanced set of ideas and as a fair basis for territorial settlement. Mr. Denktash continued with his delaying tactics and after making so-called proposals, which he said were equal to 29% of the territory - in actual fact proved to be much higher in one case 32,5% and in another 31% - refused to accept the proposal of the SecretaryGeneral. He tried to give the impression that he was willing to cooperate with the U.N. and to accept more or less the proposed line east of Nicosia but refused to even discuss west of Nicosia. This was an impossible position because the proposals of the SecretaryGeneral were designed to secure the return to their homes under Greek Cypriot administration of half the Greek Cypriots made refugees following the 1974 Turkish invasion and thus reducing the number of Greek Cypriot refugees that would have the option to return to their homes under Turkish Cypriot administration. Furthermore, the proposal implied the full implementation of the 1975 Vienna III Agreement which aimed at securing unhindered presence of all Greek Cypriots in the Karpass peninsula. The argument of Mr. Denktash vis-a-vis the map was that he did not want to turn into refugees the Turkish Cypriots that were living in the villages and towns that were going to come under Greek Cypriot administration particularly in the Morphou area. The set of ideas, however, clearly specified that adequate arrangements would be made for the satisfactory relocation of all those Turkish Cypriots that would not wish to return to their original homes in the southern part of the island and would wish to locate themselves in the future Turkish Cypriot federated state. After two weeks of futile efforts on the territorial issue the Secretary-General decided to move on to a discussion of the problem of displaced persons. Although at the beginning Mr. Denktash refused to accept the right to return and the right to property of Greek Cypriot refugees, he then publicly stated that he was ready to accept those principles. However, the conditions raised by Mr. Denktash in order for the Greek Cypriots to exercise their right to return were such that made the acceptance of the principle an empty word.
Concepts outside the Secretary-General's document and the agreed framework were also introduced by Mr. Denktash during discussion of constitutional aspects, i.e. by demanding separate sovereignty and an intergovernmental Council to govern by consensus rather than a federal Government.
In short, on every issue raised, the Turkish Cypriot side refused to proceed to a fruitful negotiation on the basis of the set of ideas and tried to introduce concepts or insisted on positions that were entirely outside that frame. In these circumstances the SecretaryGeneral decided on 14 August to adjourn talks and report to the Security Council. Although the Government of Turkey, when the talks started in New York had promised that it would support the process, in actual practice it supported the positions taken by Mr. Denktash, who has every reason to wish the efforts to fail. However, the Security Council for the first time has taken such a clear and unequivocal position against the maintenance of the status quo when the Permanent five warned Mr. Denktash on 24 July that "there can be no return to the status quo if the present round of negotiations fail" and that "the present inequitable division of land cannot be maintained." The Secretary-General in his report to the Security Council dated 21 August 1992, which also contained the "set of ideas on an overall framework agreement on Cyprus" and a map on territorial adjustments, said some progress had been made during the past three months towards solving the Cyprus problem, but did not achieve the goal that one could have expected.
The Secretary-General also stated that continuation of the status quo is not a viable option and if a new round of talks scheduled to start on October 26 failed to result in an agreement, "it would be necessary for the Security Council to give serious consideration to alternative courses of action for resolving the Cyprus problem". It was also stated in the report that substantive discussions took place for the first time on territorial adjustments "but the Turkish Cypriot side needs to show the necessary willingness to foresee an adjustment more or less in line with the suggestions embodied in the set of ideas if the delicately crafted balance in the remainder of the set of ideas is to be maintained".
Regarding the issue of displaced persons, the Secretary-General welcomed Mr. Denktash's acceptance of the principle of the right to return and of the right to property. "However, while one cannot ignore the practical difficulties involved in the issue of displaced persons, the manner in which these are addressed must not deny the principles of the right to return and the right to property." By saying this the Secretary-General pointed to the numerous conditions raised by Mr. Denktash in order to stop Greek Cypriots from exercising their right to return, which made the acceptance of the principle an empty word. Mr. Denktash, the Secretary-General said, "envisaged a long list of categories of Turkish Cypriots, currently residing in the former residences of Greek Cypriots who, in his view, should not be obliged to vacate the properties in question in favour of a returning proprietor". The set of ideas offers reasonable arrangements that address the practical difficulties in a manner that takes into account the legitimate interests of both. On 26 August 1992 the Security Council considered the report of the Secretary-General and unanimously adopted Resolution 774 (1992) which sent a strong warning that a solution to the Cyprus problem should be reached by the end of 1992. The main elements of the resolution are that it:

  1. Welcomed the acceptance in principle of the right to return and the right to property.
  2. Endorsed the Secretary-General's report as well as the set of ideas and the territorial adjustments reflected in the map annexed to the report, as the basis for reaching an overall framework agreement.
  3. Reaffirmed its position that a Cyprus settlement must be based on a state of Cyprus with a single sovereignty and international personality and a single citizenship, with its independence and territorial integrity safeguarded.
  4. Urged the parties to resume face-to-face talks on 26 October 1992 and to pursue uninterrupted negotiations at United Nations Headquarters until an overall framework agreement is reached on the basis of the entire set of ideas.
  5. Expressed the expectation that an overall framework agreement will be concluded in 1992.
  6. Reaffirmed that the status quo is not acceptable and should an agreement not emerge from the talks that will reconvene in October, called on the Secretary-General to identify the reasons for the failure and to recommend to the Council alternative courses of action to resolve the Cyprus problem.
    The Government of Cyprus expressed satisfaction at the unanimous Resolution 774 (1992) and its determination to return to New York for the next round of talks, showing this way its firm desire for a settlement of the Cyprus problem. The Turkish Cypriot regime rejected the resolution and Mr. Denktash said he will review his decision to attend the October round of talks. The same negative attitude towards Resolution 774 (1992) was taken by the Turkish Government, thus fully backing once again the intransigent and defiant position of Mr. Denktash.


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Giorgos Zacharia ( 1995-1999.