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Letter to Congressional Leaders Reporting on the Cyprus Conflict

November 22, 1991

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 August, September, and the first part of October 1991. During this period the U.N. Secretary General's representatives made intense efforts to bring major points of difference on Cyprus within negotiating range. Although these efforts did not result in the high-level meeting in September envisioned in my August 2 statement on Cyprus, I believe that considerable progress was made toward an overall framework agreement, that the work done can provide the basis for a fair and permanent settlement of the Cyprus issue, and that, with a good faith effort by all the parties, a high-level meeting under U.N. auspices can still be held before the end of 1991.

As noted in my last report to you on this issue, at the end of July and into early August 1991, the U.N. Secretary General's representatives, Ambassador Oscar Camilion and Mr. Gustave Feissel, were in the Eastern Mediterranean discussing the key outstanding issues with all the parties to the Cyprus dispute. U.S. Special Cyprus Coordinator, Ambassador Nelson Ledsky, also went to the region in an effort to contribute to their efforts. On August 2 I announced that President Ozal of Turkey and Prime Minister Mitsotakis of Greece had agreed that their countries would attend a well-prepared, high-level meeting on Cyprus.

Mr. Feissel returned to New York on August 3 to report to the U.N. Secretary General. Ambassador Ledsky stayed in the Eastern Mediterranean until August 9. Ambassador Camilion and Mr. Feissel began another round of consultations in the Eastern Mediterranean with all the parties on August 17.

During the last week in August, the Secretary General informed the U.N. Security Council that he wished to delay the report, which he had promised to deliver before the end of August, until Ambassador Camilion and Mr. Feissel finished their consultations in the area.

Ambassador Camilion and Mr. Feissel held discussions in Cyprus on August 26 through 29 and returned again from September 7 through 14. In the course of these many meetings, they presented a full set of ideas on all key issues in the Cyprus dispute. Then, on September 11, Prime Minister Mitsotakis of Greece and Prime Minister Yilmaz of Turkey met in Paris. After the meeting both Prime Ministers publicly commented that differences between the two Cypriot sides still appeared to be broad and that, until those differences were eliminated, they could not attend a high-level meeting in September.

In the days immediately following, I communicated with Prime Minister Mitsotakis of Greece and Prime Minister Yilmaz and President Ozal of Turkey to ask them for assurances of their continued commitment to the settlement process. Within a few days I received positive responses from both Governments.

In mid-September the focus of activity shifted to New York as Greek and Turkish Cypriot representatives and those of the Governments of Greece and Turkey began to arrive for the U.N. General Assembly session. In the week prior to the opening of the session and continuing into the first and second week of the General Assembly, the U.N. Secretary General, Mr. Feissel, and the U.S. Special Cyprus Coordinator met separately with representatives of all the parties. During the second week of the General Assembly, Secretary of State Baker met with the Foreign Ministers of Greece and Turkey and with President Vassiliou of Cyprus.

On October 9 the U.N. Secretary General delivered to the Security Council the attached report on his mission of good offices in Cyprus. In the report, the Secretary General brings the Council members up to date on the state of negotiations for an overall framework agreement on Cyprus and outlines the work yet to be done. His concluding paragraphs urge the parties to preserve what has already been accomplished and to work toward a high-level meeting before the end of 1991. He also appeals to both sides to refrain from counterproductive statements and actions.

Security Council Resolution 716, also attached, which was sponsored by the United States, directs the U.N. Secretary General to continue his good offices mission, endorses the conclusions of his report and observations, and asks him to report again to the Security Council in November, including in that report, if conditions are not ripe for a meeting, the set of the ideas for a settlement as they have been developed by U.N. representatives by that time.

I would like to reemphasize that I believe that the work already done by the Secretary General and his representatives is substantial and extremely positive and can serve as the basis for a fair and lasting settlement to the Cyprus issue. With a good faith effort by all parties, a high-level meeting can be held under U.N. auspices and an overall framework agreement signed by the end of 1991. I urge all parties to continue their efforts toward this end. The United States, for its part, will continue to stay involved and active, serving, whenever possible, to stimulate and encourage the process.


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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