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Letter to Congressional Leaders Reporting on the Cyprus Conflict

August 19, 1993

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 report on progress toward a negotiated settlement of the Cyprus question. The previous report covered the period from November 13, 1992, through February 14, 1993, the date of the election of Glafcos Clerides to succeed George Vassiliou as President of the Republic of Cyprus. The current report covers the remainder of February through July 15, 1993.

On February 22, Secretary of State Warren Christopher, while enroute between Beirut, Lebanon, and Cairo, Egypt, met with Presidentelect Clerides and then-President Vassiliou at the airport in Larnaca, Cyprus. During this short meeting, the Secretary of State assured them of the continued high level of U.S. interest in U.N. Secretary General Boutros-Ghali's efforts to find a fair and permanent solution to the Cyprus problem.

President Clerides was sworn in on February 28.

On March 2, the U.S. Special Cyprus Coordinator, Ambassador John Maresca, met in Rome with his counterpart from the Government of Turkey, Mr. Tugay Ulucevic. Ambassador Maresca also met with the U.N. Secretary General's Deputy Special Representative, Mr. Gustave Feissel in Rome. At both meetings, Ambassador Maresca stressed the necessity of an early resumption of the Cyprus negotiations.

Also on March 2, in Nicosia, Mr. Oscar Camilion, the Secretary General's Special Representative, informed the parties that he was resigning the position to return to the service of the Argentine Government as Minister of Defense. Mr. Camilion left Cyprus in mid-March after participating in another round of preparatory talks on the island. During Minister Camilion's tenure as the Secretary General's Special Representative, substantial progress was made toward resolution of the Cyprus dispute, and I would like to take this opportunity to add my appreciation for his long and distinguished service.

U.N. Under-Secretary General Marrack Goulding and Mr. Feissel arrived in Nicosia for a round of preparatory talks on March 7 and, during the course of the talks, obtained commitments from President Clerides and Mr. Denktash to come to New York for a short face-to-face meeting on March 30. On March 10, the two Cypriot leaders met for dinner at the invitation of Mr. Camilion, the first faceto-face meeting on the island of the leaders of the two communities in several years.

At the end of the preparatory meetings in Cyprus, Goulding and Feissel returned to New York where they met on March 15 with Ambassador Maresca to discuss their plans for the March 30 meeting.

On March 25, on the occasion of the National Day of the Hellenic Republic of Greece, I publicly restated the strong U.S. interest in the U.N. Secretary General's efforts to reach a fair and permanent solution of the Cyprus problem.

In preparation for the face-to-face meeting between the two Cypriot leaders scheduled for March 30, the members of the U.N. Security Council authorized the President of the Security Council to issue a statement that called on the parties to cooperate fully with the U.N. Secretary General and reaffirmed the determination of the Security Council members to remain seized of the Cyprus question and to lend their support to the Secretary General's efforts. (The full text of the Security Council President's statement is enclosed.)

On March 29, the U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Ambassador Madeleine Albright, met with President Clerides and Mr. Denktash to reiterate the U.S. position that both sides should work with the U.N. Secretary General to reach an equitable and lasting solution for the benefit of all Cypriots. She presented letters to the two leaders from Secretary of State Christopher and me.

At the March 30 face-to-face meeting, the leaders of the two communities agreed to return to New York for substantive discussions on May 24. The Under-Secretary General's summation of the meeting stated that the sides had agreed to resume their discussions "using the set of ideas for the purpose of reaching freely a mutually acceptable overall framework agreement" after a preparatory process on the island (full text enclosed). The summation also welcomed the parallel process of private meetings (that is, not under U.N. auspices) between the two leaders. There was another such meeting between the two leaders in New York on the margins of the U.N. talks.

Also on March 30, U.N. Secretary General Boutros-Ghali issued a report on the United Nations Operation in Cyprus in which he requested a major restructuring and reorganization of the U.N. Peace-keeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) due to reductions, withdrawals, and announcements of plans for further withdrawals of troops by troop contributors. (The full text of that report is enclosed.) Informal consultations among members of the Security Council on this subject continued throughout the remainder of this reporting period, ultimately resulting in changes in the way UNFICYP is financed. Information on the U.N. Security Council resolutions through which this was done will be found later in this report.

On March 31, the five Permanent Members of the U.N. Security Council held separate meetings with the leaders of the two communities to urge them to cooperate with the representatives of the Secretary General and to prepare for the substantive talks, which were to resume on May 24.

In mid-April, Mr. Feissel, who had been named as the new resident representative of the Secretary General on Cyprus, began the preparatory talks in Nicosia working on both the U.N. "set of ideas" and on confidence-building measures developed by the U.N. Secretariat, in accordance with the suggestions of the Secretary General at the end of the October-November session of the New York talks.

On April 24, I again publicly stated the strong U.S. commitment to a fair and permanent solution of the Cyprus problem. On the same day, President Turgut Ozal of Turkey, who had strongly supported the efforts of the Secretary General to find such a solution, died after a strenuous effort to resolve serious disputes in south-west Asia.

Mr. Feissel concluded the first phase of his preparatory work in Nicosia on May 6, and, on the same day, the State Department's Director of Southern European Affairs, Mr. David Ransom, arrived in Nicosia. He was joined there on May 10 by Special Cyprus Coordinator Maresca, and both met with the leaders of the two communities to urge them to cooperate with the U.N. effort. Ambassador Maresca departed Cyprus on May 12 and Director Ransom departed on May 13 after meeting with Mr. Feissel, who had returned to Nicosia for additional intensive preparation for the May 24 meetings in New York.

A U.N. Security Council resolution sponsored by the United Kingdom on the structure and financing of the U.N. Peace-keeping Force in Cyprus was vetoed by Russia on May 11 because it appeared to eliminate voluntary contributions as a preferred way of financing U.N. peacekeeping operations. (Another resolution was successfully negotiated during the two weeks that followed, and it was passed on May 27, after the end of this reporting period.)

Mr. Feissel's intensive preparations for the May 24 New York negotiating round focused on a package of confidence-building measures, which included a plan to reopen the fenced area of the city of Varosha and the Nicosia International Airport under U.N. auspices.

In my view, the package of confidence-building measures is fair and balanced, offers significant benefits to both sides, and should be accepted by both sides as a means of improving the atmosphere for negotiation of a fair and permanent resolution of the Cyprus problem. More specifically, I urge Mr. Denktash, the leader of the Turkish-Cypriot community, to accept this package in order to establish a better climate for negotiations based on the U.N. "set of ideas." I believe that the Government of Turkey also should exercise its special responsibility to urge him to accept this package. This is an historic opportunity for the Turkish-Cypriot community and for all Cypriots. It would be tragic if this opportunity to move forward were missed.

Following these developments, the U.N. Secretary General's resident representative in Cyprus was engaged in intensive talks in Nicosia with the leaders of the two Cypriot communities, which focused on a package of confidence-building measures, including the reopening, under U.N. auspices, of both the Nicosia International Airport and the city of Varosha, on the eastern coast of Cyprus. These consultations ended, and Mr. Feissel returned to U.N. Headquarters on May 20 to begin final preparations for the May 24 New York negotiating session.

That session opened, as scheduled, with a meeting chaired by the U.N. Secretary General and attended by the leaders of the two Cypriot communities, Mr. Joseph Clark, the Secretary General's newly appointed Special Representative; Cyprus Coordinator John Maresca; and U.S. Ambassador to Cyprus Robert Lamb.

During the next five days it became apparent that Mr. Denktash, the leader of the Turkish-Cypriot community, was not prepared to accept the package of confidence-building measures. He asked for additional time to consider the package and consult with his community. The Secretary General initially granted Mr. Denktash four additional days. At a meeting on June 1, chaired, in the absence of the Secretary General by Mr. Clark, Mr. Denktash was granted an additional postponement until June 14, with the approval of the representatives of the permanent members of the Security Council, also present, on condition that Mr. Denktash would seek a positive response from his community on the proposed package of confidence-building measures, including the proposals for Varosha and the Nicosia International Airport.

On June 8, the State Department released a statement (copy attached) that supported the U.N. Secretary General's package of confidencebuilding measures, including his proposals for Varosha and the Nicosia International Airport, stated that we believe the package is fair and balanced and that it offers real economic and practical benefits to both sides and that the package should be accepted quickly and in its entirety, and stated our belief that Turkey should be helpful in ensuring an agreement on this package.

Also on June 8, in an airport statement on his arrival in Turkey, Mr. Denktash made it clear that he was not seeking a positive response from his community to the Secretary General's package. On the same day, Secretary Christopher spoke with Turkish Foreign Minister Cetin, who, like Secretary Christopher, was in Athens for the meetings of the North Atlantic Council and the North Atlantic Cooperation Council, about the developing situation.

On June 9, a letter on the Cyprus situation and the U.N. Secretary General's confidencebuilding package from Secretary Christopher was delivered to Foreign Minister Cetin. In a speech to the Turkish Grand National Parliament, in Ankara, on the following day, and in follow-up statements to the media, Mr. Denktash said that he could not accept the confidence-building package and would not return to New York as scheduled on June 14.

Secretary Christopher discussed the Cyprus situation with President Demirel and Foreign Minister Cetin in meetings in Ankara on June 12. In New York, a spokesman for the U.N. Secretary General issued a statement (copy attached) the same day that stated that the Secretary General had been informed by Mr. Denktash that he would not be able to return to New York as planned on June 14 and that a representative of Mr. Denktash would come in his stead "to explain the situation that has arisen." The statement said that the Secretary General regretted that Mr. Denktash had unilaterally departed from the agreement of June 1, and that, as a consequence, the joint meetings would not resume at U.N. Headquarters as planned on June 14. The Secretary General undertook to submit a report to the Security Council.

On June 14, Mr. Kenan Atakol, representing Mr. Denktash, arrived in New York and started a series of meetings with Mr. Feissel and members of the diplomatic missions to the U.N. of the five Permanent Members of the Security Council. Mr. Atakol was not prepared to discuss "practical problems" concerning the Secretary General's confidence-building package, to which Mr. Denktash had referred in Nicosia and Ankara. On June 25, before returning to Cyprus, Mr. Atakol met with Ambassador Edward Walker, the U.S. Deputy Representative to the U.N.

On July 1, the Secretary General issued the report (copy attached) that he had promised on June 12. In the report he reviewed his efforts since November 1992, explained in detail the confidence-building package that he had proposed, including his proposals for Varosha and the Nicosia International Airport, and provided observations on the current state of the negotiations. The gist of those paragraphs is that: (paragraph 45) all concerned have a special responsibility to bring to a positive conclusion an effort that has already produced "significant progress"; (paragraph 46) the Secretary General was particularly gratified that the preparations in Nicosia for the May 24 New York negotiating session had brought his confidence-building proposals to an advanced stage; (paragraph 47) the Varosha/Nicosia International Airport proposals would bring considerable and proportionate benefits to both Cypriot communities; (paragraph 48) beyond the economic gains to both sides, the package would open avenues of contact between the communities and engender the kind of goodwill that should exist in a federation; (paragraph 49) the Secretary General is disappointed that, despite his assurances of June 1, Mr. Denktash neither promoted the acceptance of the package during his consultations in Nicosia and Ankara, nor did he honor his agreement to return to New York on June 14; (paragraph 50) the Secretary General hopes that the merits of the package will commend themselves to all concerned once they have been fully presented; and (paragraph 51) the Secretary General intends to continue his efforts and, to that end, has asked his Special Representative (Mr. Clark) to visit Cyprus, Greece, and Turkey in the following few weeks. The Secretary General also attached, as an annex to his report, a list of the confidence-building measures that his representatives had proposed to the two sides (including the Varosha/Nicosia International Airport proposals, which were detailed in the body of the report).

The Security Council, on July 7, approved a letter (text attached) from its President to Secretary General Boutros-Ghali that endorsed the conclusions of the Secretary General's report and underlined the obligation of both parties to cooperate fully with the Secretary General in promptly reaching an overall framework agreement and, in the first instance, in reaching an agreement on the Secretary General's confidence-building package.

The letter welcomed the Secretary General's decision to send Mr. Clark to Cyprus, Greece, and Turkey, and requested a report from the Secretary General in September 1993, and, if necessary, his recommendations for action by the Security Council.

Mr. Clark and Mr. Feissel arrived in Nicosia on July 13 on the mission outlined in the Secretary General's report. On the same day, the U.S. Special Cyprus Coordinator, Ambassador Maresca, arrived in Ankara for discussions with the Government of Turkey on the Cyprus question.

On June 11, the Security Council extended the mandate of the U.N. Peace-keeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) for an additional sixmonth period until December 15, 1993. As noted in the last report, the Council had reached agreement on the future mission and funding of UNFICYP on May 27, during the New York negotiating session outlined above. The U.N. Secretariat continues to seek forces to replace the Canadian contingent that began its previously planned withdrawal in the week following June 15. (The Secretary General's report of June 9 on U.N. operations is attached.)

As I noted in the conclusions of my last letter to you on this subject, I believe that the Secretary General's package of confidence-building measures is fair and balanced. I believe that its acceptance by both sides, promptly and in its entirety, would certainly improve the atmosphere and could speed the acceptance of an overall framework agreement based on the Secretary General's "set of ideas." I want to reiterate the strong support of the U.S. for the efforts of the Secretary General to carry out his good-offices mandate and to reach a conclusion acceptable to both Cypriot communities and which is for their mutual benefit. It is time for all concerned to build on the substantial progress noted by the U.N. Secretary General in his July 1 report and to resolve this longstanding problem.



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.

William J. Clinton, 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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