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Letter to the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Reporting on the Cyprus Conflict

September 22, 1989

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

In accordance with Public Law 95 - 384, I am submitting to you this bimonthly report on progress toward a negotiated settlement of the Cyprus question.

I am pleased to note that the negotiating process under the auspices of the United Nations Secretary General is continuing. The last meeting between the parties was held in New York on June 28 - 29, at which time a communique was issued by the Secretary General noting his satisfaction and declaring that "the effort made by the two leaders since August 1988 had made it possible, as never before, to tackle the issues that must be resolved if a solution to the Cyprus problem is to be found." The communique also stated that an outline under preparation "would provide the basis for the negotiation of an overall agreement."

The Secretary General asked both leaders to continue the talks with his representative in Cyprus, and copies of a draft outline were provided to both communities' leaders in mid-July. As of mid-September, however, these talks have yet to reconvene because of controversy over the status and content of the draft outline. It is our objective to have the talks resume at an early date, and we are working directly with the Secretary General in this endeavor.

The Secretary General used his biannual report to the Security Council on U.N. operations in Cyprus for the period December 1, 1988, to May 31, 1989 (copy attached), to review the progress made in the latest communal negotiations. He also used the report to reiterate his concern about the mounting deficit faced by the U.N. Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP), but recommended that its mandate be renewed for another 6 months. The U.N. Security Council on June 9 voted unanimously to extend UNFICYP's mandate through December 15, 1989.

On July 19, disturbances broke out in the Ayios Kassianos area of Nicosia during a demonstration by Greek Cypriots marking the anniversary of the events of July 1974. According to the United Nations some 1,000 Greek Cypriots forced their way into the U.N.-controlled buffer zone at Ayios Kassianos, in part by ramming a bus through a U.N. fence. The UNFICYP ultimately was able to contain most of the demonstrators. Before all could be contained, however, Turkish Cypriot security forces arrived on the scene and arrested some 100 persons. Those arrested were held in custody by Turkish Cypriot authorities and were released several days later. The apparent unwillingness of Greek Cypriot police to stop the demonstrators from entering the buffer zone and the Turkish Cypriot security authorities' arrest of some of them were both factors detrimental to intercommunal relations and the ongoing efforts to reach a settlement on the island.

From the outset of the disturbances, the United States worked actively in support of U.N. efforts to defuse the situation and to restore the status quo ante. We urged all concerned to act with restraint and to respond to U.N. appeals for the immediate release of those detained. We also stressed the need for both communities to cooperate with the United Nations in preventing the entry of unauthorized persons into the buffer zone.

In my meetings and conversations with then-Greek Prime Minister Papandreou, Turkish President Evren and Prime Minister Ozal, and Cypriot President Vassiliou, I have stressed our continued commitment to support the efforts of the Secretary General to resolve the Cyprus dispute.

Finally, I am pleased to inform you that in June Nelson C. Ledsky was appointed Special Cyprus Coordinator. Unlike his predecessor, M. James Wilkinson, who served with distinction in that position since 1986, Mr. Ledsky will devote all his time to Cyprus. Mr. Ledsky is a career Foreign Service Officer whose most recent assignment was as Special Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs and Senior Director for European and Soviet Affairs at the National Security Council.

Mr. Ledsky's appointment underlines our continued commitment to the search for a Cyprus settlement. He met with the Secretary General and the leaders of the two communities on the margins of their June 28 - 29 meetings in New York. During early August, Mr. Ledsky consulted key authorities in Ankara, Athens, Nicosia, and London. He urged that all support fully the U.N.'s efforts to continue the intercommunal talks, and, to that end, he has worked directly with the staff of the Secretary General during the first part of September in an effort to reschedule the talks.


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 the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Reporting on the Cyprus Conflict Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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