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Letter to Congressional Leaders Reporting on the Cyprus Conflict

January 05, 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 bimonthly report on progress toward a negotiated settlement of the Cyprus question. This report covers the months of September and October and, for the sake of continuity and completeness, the first 12 days of November 1992. Also, included with this report are the U.N. Secretary General's report on the October-November negotiating round and U.N. Security Council Resolution 789, which endorsed that report, both of which were issued in the latter half of November 1992.

Most of the September-October reporting period was taken up with preparations for the resumption of U.N.-sponsored Cyprus negotiations scheduled for October 26. During the second and third weeks of September, Ambassador Nelson Ledsky made his last trip to Cyprus, Greece, and Turkey before retiring September 30 and relinquishing his position as Special Cyprus Coordinator to Ambassador John Maresca. During his visit to the area, Ambassador Ledsky discussed the status and future of the negotiations with President Vassiliou of Cyprus, Turkish Cypriot Leader Rauf Denktash, Prime Minister Demirel of Turkey, and Prime Minister Mitsotakis of Greece.

During the third week of September, the first week of the 1992 Session of the United Nations General Assembly, then Acting Secretary of State Lawrence Eagleburger met in New York with President Vassiliou, Greek Foreign Minister Papakonstantinou, and Turkish Foreign Minister Cetin. Ambassador Ledsky, accompanied by his designated successor, Ambassador John Maresca, had additional separate meetings with President Vassiliou, Foreign Ministers Papakonstantinou and Cetin, and representatives of the Turkish Cypriot community.

Ambassador Maresca traveled to Cyprus, Greece, and Turkey during the second and third weeks of October to do more preparatory work for the talks in New York that were scheduled to resume on October 26. During the same period, the U.N. Secretary General's representatives traveled to Cyprus, Greece, and Turkey to prepare for the talks.

Face-to-face meetings between President Vassiliou and Mr. Denktash under the chairmanship of the U.N. Secretary General resumed on October 28 in New York, a 2-day delay having been caused by problems related to the way titles of the two leaders were listed in the U.N. Secretariat daily agenda. Between October 28 and November 11, there were 10 joint meetings, during which the Secretary General recorded in detail the positions of the two parties on the U.N. "set of ideas" for a framework for a Cyprus settlement. (A copy of the "set of ideas" was appended to the Secretary General's report of August 21, 1992, which was provided with my last letter on this subject.)

Having noted the positions of the parties, the Secretary General prepared a "non-paper" setting out the essential elements of the positions of both sides, along with relevant parts of the "set of ideas" and U.N. resolutions. Both sides confirmed that their respective positions were accurately reflected in the Secretary General's "non-paper."

The Secretary General's report to the Security Council of November 19, 1992, on his good offices mission in Cyprus, which is attached, went into some detail on the positions of the two parties, and noted that in some areas the Turkish Cypriot side deviated from the U.N. "set of ideas." The Secretary General also noted that, although the Greek Cypriot side declared it accepted provisions of the "set of ideas," such declarations were frequently accompanied by provisos. He stated that these questions should be cleared up in a manner that does not deviate from the "set of ideas."

The Secretary General, in paragraph 59 of his report, indicated that intensive efforts had failed to produce an overall agreement, and he concluded that the lack of political will mentioned in his previous report "continues to block the conclusion of an agreement that is otherwise within reach." He noted in the following paragraph that the Security Council had asked in its Resolution 774 (provided with my last letter) that, should an agreement not be reached, the Secretary General should recommend alternative courses of action to resolve the Cyprus problem. Subsequent paragraphs outline his proposals, including a number of measures to help create a new climate of confidence between the two parties, which would contribute to the success of the negotiating process. These confidence-building measures are outlined in paragraph 63 of the Secretary General's report.

On November 25, the U.N. Security Council adopted its Resolution 789, which endorsed the U.N. Secretary General's report of November 19, and urged both sides to commit themselves to the Secretary General's series of confidence-building measures, including initiating a significant reduction of foreign troops and defense spending on the island.

I am happy to note that, before departing New York in November, the parties agreed to resume their face-to-face negotiations in March 1993, which will be after the presidential elections in the Republic of Cyprus scheduled for February 7, 1993. We would have preferred, of course, that the October-November round of negotiations would have proceeded beyond the point of defining positions and differences and would have entered the phase of bridging gaps between the positions of the parties and the U.N. "set of ideas," including the Secretary General's map, which remains the basis for negotiations for a fair and permanent resolution that would benefit all Cypriots.

I continue to believe and to agree with the statement in Security Council Resolution 789 that the present status quo is not acceptable. An overall agreement in line with the U.N. "set of ideas" should be achieved without further delay. I also urge all concerned to commit themselves to the implementation of the confidence-building measures set out in Resolution 789 and to come to the next round of talks prepared to make the difficult decisions that will bring about a speedy agreement.


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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