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Letter to Congressional Leaders Reporting on the Cyprus Conflict

October 19, 1992

Dear Mr. Speaker: (Dear Mr. Chairman:)

In accordance with Public Law 95 - 384 (22 U.S.C. 2373(c)), I am submitting to you this bimonthly report on progress toward a negotiated settlement of the Cyprus question. This report covers the months of July and August 1992.

The New York negotiations resumed, as scheduled, on July 15 on the same basis as they had recessed with the Secretary General having separate meetings with the leaders of the two Cypriot communities ("proximity talks").

On the first day of this new negotiating session, the U.N. Secretary General gave his "set of ideas" for a Cyprus settlement, including a U.N. suggested map of territorial adjustments, to the two Cypriot delegations. Both sides accepted the documents and signalled their readiness to use them as the basis for negotiations. Mr. Denktash, however, objected to the U.N. map, and after lengthy discussion with the U.N. negotiators over several weeks, indicated his intention to accept a Turkish Cypriot federated state that constituted "29 plus percent" of a future Cyprus federated republic, a formulation he had accepted in the mid-1980s. Mr. Denktash made several specific proposals, none of which came close in quality or quantity to the territorial adjustments suggested in the U.N. map. The Secretary General's account of the negotiations on this issue is detailed in paragraphs 17 through 29 of his August 21 report to the Security Council on his mission of good offices in Cyprus, which is attached to this letter.

The question of displaced persons was also discussed in detail during the July-August negotiations. The Turkish Cypriot side accepted the principles of the right to return and the right to property, provided that "practical difficulties" on the Turkish Cypriot side would be taken into account. Mr. Denktash wanted particularly to exempt certain categories of Turkish Cypriots from the obligation to vacate their current homes and to provide a review mechanism for cases in which there were conflicting claims. The Greek Cypriot side agreed, the Secretary General reported, that, in this as in all other respects, the "set of ideas" provided the basis for reaching an overall framework agreement. Paragraphs 27 through 32 of the Secretary General's August 21 report cover the negotiations on displaced persons.

The U.N. negotiators reviewed the other six headings of the "set of ideas," including constitutional arrangements, with the two Cypriot community leaders on the last days of the proximity talks.

In all, the U.N. Secretary General and his representatives had more than three dozen separate meetings with the two leaders between July 15 and August 11. During this period and during the direct talks that followed, the U.S. Cyprus Coordinator, Ambassador Nelson Ledsky, and the U.S. Ambassador to Cyprus, Robert Lamb, were in New York to coordinate with the U.N. negotiators, with the representatives of the two Cypriot communities, Greece, Turkey, and with representatives of the other permanent members of the U.N. Security Council. These consultations continued during the July-August negotiations, and representatives of the United States and the other four permanent members of the Security Council were briefed almost daily by the negotiators on the progress of the talks. There were also numerous informal contacts with the two Cypriot delegations as well as the numerous consultations with the representatives of the five permanent Security Council members indicated above.

On August 11, the Secretary General announced that the two sides had made enough progress to warrant moving to direct discussions. The two Cypriot leaders agreed that these face-to-face discussions would focus first on displaced persons, then on constitutional arrangements, then territory, and then to the other issues in the "set of ideas."

In the 3 days that followed, the Secretary General conducted four meetings between the two Cypriot leaders. On August 14, the Secretary General suggested and the two leaders agreed to another pause in the talks. The parties agreed that the talks would resume on a face-to-face basis on October 26 at the U.N. headquarters in New York.

On August 21, the Secretary General issued the attached report to the Security Council. The Secretary General's report covers his efforts to resolve the Cyprus problem during the period from April 10, 1992, through August 21, 1992. The report has annexed to it the entire U.N. "Set of ideas on an overall framework agreement on Cyprus" (previously referred to in my letters to the Congress as the "set of ideas") including the map that contains the Secretary General's suggestions for territorial adjustments.

On August 26, 1992, the U.N. Security Council passed Resolution 774 of August 26, 1992 (attached), which, among other points, endorsed the Secretary General's report and the "set of ideas," including the suggested territorial adjustments reflected in the map contained in the annex to the report, as the basis for reaching an overall framework agreement. Resolution 774 called on the parties to manifest the necessary political will and to address in a positive manner the observations of the Secretary General for resolving the issues covered in his report.

The Resolution expressed the Security Council's expectation that an overall framework agreement will be concluded in 1992 with 1993 as the transitional year envisioned in the "set of ideas." It reaffirmed the Council's position that the Secretary General should convene, following the satisfactory conclusion of the face-to-face talks, a high-level international meeting to conclude an overall framework agreement, in which the two Cypriot communities and Greece and Turkey would participate.

In Resolution 774, the Security Council also reaffirmed its position that the present status quo is unacceptable and called on the Secretary General to recommend alternate courses of action to resolve the Cyprus problem should an agreement not emerge from the talks that will reconvene in October.

I fully endorse the sentiments expressed in Security Council Resolution 774 and call on the parties to continue their work toward an agreement, which will benefit all the people of Cyprus.

During the course of the July-August New York negotiating session, I announced the appointment of Mr. John Maresca as the new U.S. Special Cyprus Coordinator. Mr. Maresca will replace Ambassador Ledsky, who has retired from the U.S. Foreign Service after a long and distinguished career. I would like to applaud and commend to your attention the outstanding achievement of Ambassador Ledsky in moving forward the U.N. Cyprus negotiations.


George Bush

Note: Identical letters were sent to Thomas S. Foley, Speaker of the House of Representatives, and Claiborne Pell, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations.

George Bush, Letter to Congressional Leaders Reporting on the Cyprus Conflict Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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