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Letter to Congressional Leaders Reporting on the Cyprus Conflict

February 06, 1990

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

In accordance with Public Law 85 - 384 (92 Stat. 739; 22 U.S.C. 2373), I am submitting to you this bimonthly report on progress toward a negotiated settlement of the Cyprus question.

This report covers the 2 months between November 1 and December 31, 1989. This was a period marked by intensified activity, centering on the Secretary General of the United Nations, aimed at reconvening the stalled Cyprus intercommunal negotiations. In mid-November the U.N. Secretary General invited Cyprus President Vassiliou and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash to meet with him separately in New York. The Vassiliou meeting with the U.N. Secretary General took place on November 29; the meeting between Denktash and the U.N. Secretary General occurred on December 4. At both meetings the U.N. Secretary General stressed the importance of a commitment "to resume talks on a meaningful basis," and then sketched out procedures for doing so at a negotiating session in February 1990 at which work on an outline for a Cyprus settlement might continue. The U.N. Secretary General also suggested that ways be found to encourage mutual trust and goodwill between the two communities.

These themes were also reflected in the required report of U.N. operations in Cyprus for the period June 1 to December 4, 1989, which the U.N. Secretary General sent to the U.N. Secretary Council on December 7, 1989. In the concluding "observations" section of this report (copy attached), the U.N. Secretary General reaffirmed that "a basis for effective negotiations exists provided both leaders manifest the necessary goodwill and recognize that a viable solution must satisfy the legitimate interests of both communities." The U.N. Secretary General then went on to express the hope that "after further discussions with my Special Representative, a way will be found whereby both leaders will soon be able to inform me of their willingness to continue the work agreed to on 29 June and proceed as I suggested during my last meeting with them."

The U.N. Security Council considered the Secretary General's report on December 14, and the President of the Council, speaking for all 15 Security Council members, including the United States, expressed full support for the U.N. Secretary General, urged both community leaders to proceed as suggested by the U.N. Secretary General during their most recent meetings with him, and to cooperate in completing work on an outline for a settlement. The President of the Council also urged the two parties to make a further, determined effort to promote reconciliation, including the adoption of goodwill measures. Finally, he asked the U.N. Secretary General to report back to the Security Council by March 1, 1990, on what progress had been made in resuming intensive talks and drafting an outline of an overall agreement.

Activities at the United Nations in New York were matched by the efforts of the U.S. Special Cyprus Coordinator, Nelson Ledsky, to promote the resumption of meaningful negotiations. The Coordinator met separately with Mr. Vassiliou and Mr. Denktash in New York. In mid-December, he traveled to Cyprus for some 6 hours of separate meetings each with Mr. Vassiliou and Mr. Denktash. At each meeting, Mr. Ledsky urged the parties to follow the procedural suggestions of the U.N. Secretary General and return to the negotiating table under U.N. auspices without preconditions. He also outlined to the two communities a series of possible confidence-building measures, aimed at fostering bicommunal cooperation in such fields as education, health, and economic and social development. He suggested that these projects be managed by U.N. agencies, with funding coming from U.S. assistance monies that had been set aside for bicommunal projects. At the top of this list was the proposal to examine the feasibility of a bicommunal, English-language university for Cyprus.

The U.S. Coordinator also welcomed actions taken both by Cypriot authorities on November 15 to prevent a breach of the demarcation line and recent relaxation of travel restrictions by the Turkish Cypriots. He suggested that both sides examine further measures that would promote contact and travel between the two parts of the island. Both Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot authorities agreed to examine without commitment the concept of confidence-building and goodwill measures of the kind the U.S. Coordinator had suggested and to see whether these were compatible with efforts to arrive at a negotiated settlement of the overall Cyprus problem. We would expect discussion of these questions to continue in the months ahead.

Finally, toward the end of December, the U.N. Secretary General sent letters to President Vassiliou and Mr. Denktash proposing a meeting in February 1990. It is our expectation that both sides will attend the meeting with the U.N. Secretary General in New York.


George Bush

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

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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