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Letter to Congressional Leaders Reporting on the Cyprus Conflict

June 30, 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 last 21 days of March, all of April, and the first 15 days of May, 1992.

In mid-March, U.S. Special Cyprus Coordinator Nelson Ledsky traveled to the Eastern Mediterranean to see if he could clear up what Turkish officials had described as a "misunderstanding" on the part of U.N. negotiators, and thus get the U.N.-sponsored negotiating process restarted. He remained in the area for 10 days, during which time he consulted directly with President Vassiliou of Cyprus and Turkish Cypriot leader Mr. Rauf Denktash, as well as the Prime Ministers of Turkey and Greece. All of his conversation partners signalled their willingness -- indeed, desire -- to see a new round of U.N.-led negotiations begin.

On March 25, on the occasion of Greek National Day, I publicly restated the U.S. commitment to serve as a catalyst for the U.N. Cyprus effort. Two days later, President Vassiliou arrived in New York and met with the U.N. Secretary General. After additional meetings in New York, including consultations with the representatives of the permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, President Vassiliou visited several Greek- and Cypriot-American communities around the United States. I saw him in Washington on March 30 and reassured him of the commitment of the United States Government to do all it could to assist the U.N. to bring the Cyprus negotiations to an early, successful conclusion. On March 31 and April 1, the Cypriot leader had a number of meetings with individual Members of Congress and with congressional groups and committees and made a number of public appearances.

Mr. Denktash arrived in New York on March 30 for separate consultations with the U.N. Secretary General. Ambassador Ledsky also met with Mr. Denktash in New York on April 3.

Also on April 3, the U.N. Secretary General signed a lengthy report to the U.N. Security Council on his good offices mission in Cyprus (a copy attached). The Secretary General reported on the status of the negotiations and included some paragraphs describing the contents of the "set of ideas" on Cyprus as they then stood and on developments relating to the U.N. Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP). In the section on conclusions and recommendations, he decried the lack of progress since the summer of 1991 and asked the U.N. Security Council to actively support another determined effort on Cyprus that he was prepared to undertake, and to work directly with him and his representatives and all concerned to achieve a fair, permanent, and peaceful solution to the problem.

The Security Council responded on April 10 with Security Council Resolution 750 (a copy also attached), which commended the efforts of the Secretary General, reaffirmed the U.N.'s "good office mandate," endorsed the Secretary General's report of April 3, specifically his description of the "set of ideas," and asked the Secretary General to pursue intensive efforts during May and June to complete the "set of ideas" and submit a further report to the Security Council by July 1992. During this period, the Security Council also decided to "remain seized of the Cyprus question on an ongoing and direct basis."

During the 2 weeks that followed April 10, the Greek and Turkish Governments and the leadership of the Turkish Cypriot community in Cyprus accepted the Secretary General's "set of ideas" as the basis for further negotiations. After some internal debate, President Vassiliou sent a letter to the Secretary General outlining general Greek Cypriot agreement as well. On the basis of all these assurances, the U.N. Secretary General wrote to each of the parties again and sent his negotiators back to the area on May 8. Prior to their departure from New York, the U.N. negotiators briefed members of the Security Council on their plans.

In Cyprus, the negotiators met separately with Mr. Denktash and President Vassiliou from May 8 through May 12. The Nicosia meetings were followed by consultations in Ankara and Athens with the Prime Ministers and other officials of the Turkish and Greek Governments. These talks lasted through May 15. The U.N. negotiators briefed ambassadors of the permanent members of the Security Council at meetings hosted by Ambassador Lamb in Nicosia on May 11 and 18.

On the completion of this round of discussions, the negotiators, seemingly satisfied with the results, returned to New York to prepare a report for the Secretary General on the status of the negotiating effort. Based on this report the Secretary General will decide on his next steps.

I remain convinced that the Secretary General's "set of ideas" provide a sound basis for further negotiations and eventual agreement. The United States Government and the U.N. Secretary General have received assurances from all parties that they also accept the "set of ideas" as the basis for further work and that they will make a good faith effort to bring this process to a successful conclusion. I continue to believe that a negotiated solution can be reached.


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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