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Letter to Congressional Leaders Reporting on the Cyprus Conflict

November 29, 1990

Dear Mr. Speaker: (Dear Mr. Chairman:)

In accordance with Public Law 95 - 384 (92 Stat. 739; 22 USC 2373(c)), I am submitting to you this bimonthly report on progress toward a negotiated settlement of the Cyprus question.

This report covers the period from August through early October 1990, a time in which both U.N. and U.S. efforts concentrated on trying to get the Cyprus intercommunal talks restarted.

In early August, the Secretary General sent his Special Representative on Cyprus, Ambassador Oscar Camilion, and Mr. Gustave Feissel of the Secretary General's New York staff to Ankara and Athens. In both capitals the two U.N. officials discussed the continuing stalemate in the negotiations and asked for Turkish and Greek Government support in furthering the Secretary General's "plan of action," which he outlined in his report to the U.N. Security Council on July 12.

Both the Turkish and Greek Governments conveyed their willingness to cooperate with the U.N., and on September 11 the UNSYG's spokesman released the following statement in New York in describing the status of the Cyprus negotiations:

"In recent days, I have been asked about the intentions of the Secretary General with regard to his mission of good offices in Cyprus and the questions that have been raised about the application of Cyprus to the EC.

"The Security Council has called on the leaders of the two communities in Cyprus to pursue their efforts to reach freely a mutually acceptable solution and to cooperate, on an equal footing, with the Secretary General. To achieve this goal, the members of the Council have endorsed the plan of action proposed by the Secretary General in his report of 12 July.

"In resolution 649 (1990), the Council has made it clear that the solution being sought has to be a bi-communal and bi-zonal federation that will ensure the sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity and non-alignment of Cyprus and will exclude union in part or in whole with any other country or any form of partition or secession.

"The overall agreement to be negotiated by the two leaders must cover all the issues that make up the Cyprus question. It is envisaged that matters related to the membership of Cyprus in the EC will be discussed in this connection.

"The Secretary General is concerned by the continued deterioration of the situation in Cyprus due to developments in past months and the lack of progress in the negotiating process. This trend must be reversed. He therefore hopes that it will be possible to implement his plan of action without delay."

Six days later, on September 17, 1990, the Council of the European Community, meeting in Brussels, considered the Government of Cyprus' July 4 application for membership in the European Community and decided to refer the application to the Commission of the European Community for study.

On September 25, during Turkish President Ozal's meeting with me, we discussed ways of supporting the U.N. Secretary General in his attempts to promote reconciliation on the island. Secretary of State Baker also had several such conversations with Greek Foreign Minister Samaras in the same period. On September 25, Under Secretary of State Kimmitt met with Cypriot President Vassiliou in New York to stress continuing U.S. support for U.N.-sponsored efforts in Cyprus. President Vassiliou, in turn, recalled his speech earlier that day before the UNGA in which he insisted that "a just and viable solution to the Cyprus problem necessitates that negotiations are entered into in good faith and are result-oriented. We have, time and time again, displayed our commitment as well as our good will during the course of negotiations. We have presented proposals to the Turkish Cypriot side going far beyond the protection of cultural, religious and linguistic identity, aiming at creating a federation consisting of two regions, one to be administered by the Turkish Cypriot community and the other by the Greek Cypriot."

President Vassiliou returned to Cyprus several days later and, in a speech before a special session of his House of Representatives marking the island's 30th anniversary of its independence, he included the following notable passage:

"Naturally foremost in our hearts and our minds is the national problem which is directly connected with our survival and on whose solution much else depends. We carry 30 years of experience as well as many wounds from which all of us, Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots should learn. Mistakes and omissions were made by both sides in the past. However, history and our present situation have convinced us that all these, as well as foreign interventions, do not serve the interest of any Cypriot. Our destiny was and remains common. Consequently, with goodwill, tolerance, mutual respect for our differences and views, we can find a solution acceptable to all. We can and we must pinpoint the points which unite us and serve us all and build on them. The future cannot be secured with separatist trends and sterile confrontation. Through contact and the exchange of views on all levels, a climate of mutual trust and understanding can be created, which will eliminate the mistrust created and maintained by isolation. That is why we work for rapprochement."

In late September, the U.N. Secretary General and his advisers reached agreement on how their "plan of action" would be implemented. Ambassador Camilion and Mr. Feissel returned to Cyprus in mid-October to begin a series of separate meetings with the leaders of the Turkish Cypriot and Greek Cypriot communities to see if work could be restarted on a draft outline for a Cyprus settlement. My special Cyprus Coordinator, Nelson Ledsky, met with these U.N. negotiators and with representatives of the interested parties in New York and travelled to the eastern Mediterranean in late October, to reemphasize U.S. support for the U.N. negotiating effort. The UNSYG has sent a further report to the U.N. Security Council detailing the status of the negotiations through October 31.


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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