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United Nations Debates Cyprus Problem

About two weeks later the U.N. General Assembly convened to consider the Cyprus problem and on 13 May 1983 it adopted by an overwhelming majority a very strong resolution on Cyprus (37/253). Among other things, the resolution, which was sponsored by the Non-Aligned Contact Group and 12 other countries, rejects the faits accomplis and demands the immediate withdrawal of all occupation troops from the island. Moreover, it considers that withdrawal of these troops is an essential basis for a speedy and mutually acceptable solution of the Cyprus problem. The resolution also calls upon the parties concerned to refrain from any unilateral action which might adversely affect the prospects of a just and lasting solution and also to refrain from any action which violates or is designed to violate the independence, unity, sovereignty, and territorial integrity of Cyprus.
The reaction of the Turkish Cypriot side to the verdict of the vast majority of the world's nations was to introduce the Turkish lira as legal tender in the occupied area and to go ahead with the setting up of a "Central Bank", as a further step in the steady implementation of Ankara's policy to annex the northern part of the island to Turkey. To complicate matters, the "Legislative Assembly of the T.F.S.C." voted on 17 June 1983 in favour of a "resolution" to hold a "referendum" on the declaration of a separate state in the Turkish-held northern section of the island. The "resolution" in question claims, inter alia, that the "Turkish people of Cyprus have the exclusive right of self-determination" and that they have "the right to administer themselves in their own soil". The international community expressed strong opposition to this move for it is universally held that separate self-determination for ethnic communities or groups within the confines of sovereign independent states would mean the fragmentation and dismemberment of a large number of countries.

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Giorgos Zacharia (lysi@mit.edu) 1995-1999.