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Letter to Congressional Leaders Reporting on the Cyprus Conflict

May 06, 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 January and February and, for the sake of continuity, the first 10 days of March 1992.

As reported in my last letter to you on this subject, we were in contact with the U.N. Cyprus negotiators at the end of 1991 in preparation for the installation on January 1 of the new U.N. Secretary General, Mr. Boutros Ghali. On January 3, the first full U.N. workday in 1992, the U.S. Special Cyprus Coordinator, Nelson Ledsky, consulted in New York with the new Secretary General on how to proceed during Ambassador Ledsky's projected trip to Ankara, Nicosia, and Athens.

Ambassador Ledsky was in the Eastern Mediterranean from January 7 through January 17, and during that time he received assurances from Prime Minister Demirel of Turkey, the leadership of the two Cypriot communities, and Prime Minister Mitsotakis of Greece that the parties were committed to proceed with the U.N.-sponsored settlement process, taking up where it had left off in the late summer of 1991.

By the end of January, the U.N. negotiators had themselves returned to the area and began their first round of consultations in 1992 with the Governments of Greece and Turkey and the leadership of the two Cypriot communities. This round ended without progress when, due to the illness of Turkish Cypriot Leader Rauf Denktash, the Turkish Cypriots were unable to address substantively the issues contained in the Secretary General's "set of ideas" for a Cyprus settlement. Disappointed by this lack of progress, the Secretary General's negotiators returned to New York on February 7.

On February 10, I discussed the Cyprus issue with Prime Minister Demirel during his official visit to Washington. He repeated his assurances that Turkey wanted a Cyprus settlement and would work cooperatively in support of the U.N. Secretary General's good-offices mission in an effort to obtain such a solution. He gave similar assurances directly to Secretary General Boutros Ghali 3 days later in New York.

The Secretary General's Cyprus negotiators returned to Ankara on February 17. After meeting with representatives of the Government of Turkey, they expressed concern that Turkey appeared to be placing conditions on the continuation of the negotiation along lines put forward earlier by the Turkish Cypriots. Moreover, these conditions seemed to go beyond the mandate conferred on the Secretary General by the U.N. Security Council as reaffirmed in U.N. Security Council Resolutions 649 (1990) and 716 (1991).

On March 3, Under Secretary of State Arnold Kanter met with Prime Minister Demirel in Ankara. During their discussions of Cyprus, Under Secretary Kanter reiterated the desire of the United States for the success of the U.N. Secretary General's efforts to resolve peacefully, fairly, and permanently the Cyprus problem. Under Secretary Kanter had assured Greek Foreign Minister Samaras of the same commitment in Athens on February 29. Prime Minister Demirel told Under Secretary Kanter that he understood the U.S. position and that any impression that Turkey had reversed itself on the Secretary General's good-offices mission was a result of a misunderstanding by the U.N. negotiators of Turkey's position.

On March 10, at the meeting of the North Atlantic Cooperation Council in Brussels, Secretary of State Baker met separately with Foreign Minister Cetin of Turkey and Foreign Minister Samaras of Greece. He received assurances that Greece and Turkey are committed to support the Secretary General's Cyprus good-offices mission. Having received these assurances, Ambassador Ledsky travelled to the Eastern Mediterranean once again on March 17 to discuss with the parties in greater detail the U.N. Secretary General's "set of ideas" for a Cyprus settlement.

I continue to believe that the Secretary General's efforts provide the only peaceful means of reaching a permanent settlement of the Cyprus issue. Further, I believe that the Secretary General's "set of ideas" can and should be an appropriate basis for moving forward. It is my hope that the next few months will see progress in this worthwhile effort.


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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