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Letter to Congressional Leaders Reporting on the Cyprus Conflict

April 18, 1994

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 remainder of September 1993, through November 15, 1993. The current report covers the remainder of November 1993, through March 1, 1994.

Ambassador Richard A. Boucher, my new representative in Cyprus, presented his credentials at a ceremony in Nicosia on November 22. In his remarks, Ambassador Boucher reiterated the strong commitment of my Administration in supporting efforts to resolve the Cyprus question. Stressing the importance of breaking down barriers of mistrust, Ambassador Boucher said he would actively promote bi-communal contacts and measures to enhance confidence between the two communities.

On November 22, 1993, the U.N. Secretary General issued his report in connection with the Security Council's comprehensive review of the U.N. Peacekeeping Operation in Cyprus (UNFICYP). The Secretary General concluded that while UNFICYP has successfully kept the peace, the resulting opportunity has not been used properly by the two sides to reach an overall settlement. The Secretary General had no doubt that, were UNFICYP to be withdrawn, the present buffer zone would be a vacuum that each side would want to fill. He thus recommended that the mandate of UNFICYP be extended for a further 6-month period, until June 15, 1994. The Secretary General also stated emphatically that the two sides on the island, as well as Turkey and Greece, should work more effectively for a negotiated settlement. He called on all parties to show a serious willingness to negotiate and urged both sides to work to promote tolerance and reconciliation. He faulted both sides for their reluctance to undertake bicommunal activities.

On December 1, 1993, Mr. Robert Lamb was appointed as U.S. Special Cyprus Coordinator. Robert Lamb, having served as U.S. Ambassador to Cyprus from 1990 to 1993, brings valuable experience to the position. I would like to take this opportunity to recognize the efforts of Mr. John Maresca, who, as U.S. Special Cyprus Coordinator, contributed significantly to the process.

Special Cyprus Coordinator Lamb traveled to Cyprus December 1. His arrival in Cyprus on the first day of his appointment underlined my Administration's resolve to achieve progress on the island. He conveyed the message that the confidence-building measures (CBMs) are a balanced, workable package for both communities, and that the United States was prepared to work with both communities to ensure that their concerns are addressed satisfactorily.

Assistant Secretary Stephen Oxman traveled to Turkey December 8-9, 1993, for the United States-Turkey Joint Economic Commission. While there, he met with Prime Minister Ciller and Ministry of Foreign Affairs Under Secretary Sanberk. He told Prime Minister Ciller that after the December 12, 1993, Turkish-Cypriot election, the United States wanted to move the process forward. The Turkish side pointed out that Turkey had spoken out in support of the Secretary General's efforts for the CBM package, and assured Mr. Oxman of Turkey's continued cooperation.

The Director of the Department of State's Office for Southern Europe, Marshall Adair, accompanied Assistant Secretary Oxman to Turkey and also met with a variety of Turkish government officials and parliamentarians to emphasize the importance of moving forward on the CBM package. He then visited Athens and met with Ministry of Foreign Affairs officials on this subject there. On December 12, 1993, Mr. Adair traveled to Cyprus. He and Ambassador Boucher met with President Clerides and Mr. Denktash on December 13, 1993, and stressed that the United States believes we are at a stage where a step forward could be taken.

In New York, Mr. Lamb met December 14, 1993, with the U.N. Special Negotiator for Cyprus, Joe Clark, and his deputy, Gustave Feissel. Mr. Clark said that the Turkish-Cypriot elections created a favorable atmosphere for progress on the CBMs. The United Nations noted, however, that both sides had legitimate questions that should be answered before implementation.

Also in New York on December 15, 1993, the U.N. Security Council Resolution 889 (1993) was adopted unanimously, extending UNFICYP's mandate for another 6 months. The resolution also called upon the authorities to ensure that no incidents occurred in the buffer zone and to extend the 1989 Unmanning Agreement. It also welcomed the Secretary General's decision to resume extensive contacts with both sides in order to achieve an agreement on the CBMs, and requested the Secretary General to submit a report in late February on the outcome of his efforts with respect to the CBMs.

On the same day, the Secretary General released two studies on the CBMs. The reports concluded that the reopening of Nicosia International Airport and the closed city of Varosha would offer significant economic benefits for both the Greek-Cypriot and Turkish-Cypriot communities. They went on to say that the CBMs were not a substitute for a comprehensive political solution, but rather were intended to create momentum to reach an overall agreement. The reports also noted that the work required to reopen Varosha and Nicosia International Airport would lead to much-needed direct contacts between Greek and Turkish Cypriots.

Special Cyprus Coordinator Lamb traveled to Athens on December 21, 1993. He met with Director General of the Foreign Ministry Christos Zacharakis and Deputy Foreign Minister George Papandreou. On December 22-23, 1993, he continued to Ankara where he met with Foreign Minister Hikmet Cetin and other officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He thanked Turkey for its support for progress on the CBMs and an early resumption of the talks. The Foreign Minister assured Mr. Lamb that Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots wanted to work within the United Nations process. The Athens and Ankara meetings were very positive. Mr. Lamb stressed that the United States wanted an agreement soon on Cyprus, but it had to be a fair agreement that takes into account the interests of both communities. He said that we should concentrate first on the CBMs, as they offered the most promising approach.

Throughout the period, Ambassador Boucher remained in close contact with the two sides to offer U.S. encouragement and assistance to the process.

On January 10, 1994, following the December 12, 1993, Turkish-Cypriot elections, the Democratic Party and the Republican Turkish Party completed their coalition and received a vote of confidence. The stage was thus set for a quick resumption of the negotiations.

While in Brussels January 9-11, 1994, I had the opportunity to raise many issues of U.S. concern, including Cyprus, with Greek Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou and Turkish Prime Minister Tansu Ciller. I told them that we must move forward with a fair and permanent settlement. Both leaders assured me of their interest in finding a solution on Cyprus and promised to work diligently towards this goal.

In Cyprus Mr. Feissel continued his contacts, seeking an agreement in principle on the CBMs from the two leaders. Mr. Clark visited Cyprus, Greece, and Turkey January 22-28, 1994. He stressed the importance of proceeding quickly and directly. Following additional exchanges of correspondence with the U.N. Secretary General, both leaders confirmed their acceptance in principle of the CBMs and their willingness to discuss modalities for implementing them.

Special Cyprus Coordinator Lamb traveled to Nicosia on January 31, 1994, to consult with each side. He reiterated the U.S. message that there was an urgent need for progress on the CBMs. Both sides stated their willingness to negotiate in good faith. On February 3, U.N. Secretary General Boutros-Ghali wrote to the parties welcoming their acceptance in principle of the package and urging the discussions on key issues be completed within 2 months.

U.N. Special Negotiator Clark opened proximity talks on key issues related to the CBMs in Nicosia on February 17-18, 1994. He characterized these talks as constructive, and praised the goodwill he found on both sides. The talks are continuing under Deputy Representative Feissel.

Special Cyprus Coordinator Lamb consulted on February 25, 1994, with Russian Foreign Ministry officials in Moscow. These consultations were in the context of our continuing dialogue with the Russians on a variety of international issues. He also met with British Foreign Office representatives in London on February 28, as part of our routine, periodic discussions with the British. These meetings with two representatives of the Permanent Members of the Security Council once again demonstrated the international resolve to find a fair solution to the Cyprus question.

There is currently a window of opportunity that should not be allowed to close without an agreement being reached on the CBMs. They provide real benefits to both communities, not least of which is that they can form the base from which the two parties could resume discussions on an overall settlement.



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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