Statement by Deputy Representative of Cyprus
Mr. James Droushiotis
on Peacekeeping Operations
on 4th Committee

2 November, 1998


Mr. Chairman,

Allow me to take this opportunity to congratulate you and the other members of the Bureau on your unanimous election. I am confident that under your chairmanship the deliberations of the work of the Committee will continue to be conducted constructively and will be led to a successful conclusion. I wish to assure you that you will have the full support of my delegation.

I would also like to pay tribute to the Chairman of the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations, Ambassador Ibrahim Gambari of Nigeria, and the other members of the Bureau especially Ambassador Michel Duval, of Canada who chaired the open-ended working group and to the Rapporteur of the Committee, Mr. Hossam Zaki of Egypt for his introduction of the Special Committee Report (A/53/127).

I would also like to thank Under-Secretary-General Miyet of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations for his important and valuable address to the Fourth Committee.

It gives my delegation special satisfaction to participate in this debate on the comprehensive review of peacekeeping operations in all their aspects, a topic to which Cyprus attaches great importance.

It is of course an added highlight of our current debate that the UN commemorates 50 years of United Nations Peace-Keeping. The commemorative meeting of the General Assembly to mark the 50th anniversary and the presentation of the first Dag Hammerskold medals honouring all those who have sacrificed their lives in the cause of peace was a memorable UN event.

United Nations Peace-Keeping from its inception in 1948 and to its present day evolvement is a hallmark of the Organization's efforts in the promotion and maintenance of international peace and security as attested to by the awarding in 1988 of the Nobel Peace Prize to United Nations Peace-Keeping. Peace-Keeping Operations - as noted by the Secretary-General in his report on the Organization and his adress to the Assembly during the 50th Commemoration - are multidimensional and complex, embracing a varied combination of security enhancing and have become a key element in the machinery of the United Nations in the field of the maintenance of international peace and security.

The Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations at this year's session has achieved fruitful results as appears from its Report. The Special Committee continues to make valuable contributions and its work brooches a full range of issues from basic principles relating to Peace-Keeping Operations to the more technical aspects of operations. Delegations speaking earlier have discussed the issues dealt with by the Special Committee. As an EU associated state, Cyprus has aligned itself with the statement made by the representative of Austria on behalf of the European Union. I would therefore wish to address certain additional aspects of Peacekeeping falling under the agenda item, from the perspective of our own experience and as a host country to UNFICYP.

Mr. Chairman,

Cyprus is itself a case study of this topic and a test case of the relevance and effectiveness of peacekeeping and its mutually necessary components, namely peace-making and peace-building.

The Secretary General of the United Nations in his Report on the Work of the Organization [A/53/1, paragraph 70] emphasizes this point of complementary strategies and cites Cyprus as an example where the United Nations is actively involved in both peace-keeping and peace-making. He further underlines that it is now widely recognized; that most operations combine activities in more than one category of the strategies of prevention, peace-making, peace-keeping and post-conflict peace-building, which required co-ordination.

This recognition is welcomed and I would like to elaborate briefly on this point.

As early as December 1963 we invoked the assistance of the United Nations when threatened with acts of intervention by a much stronger neighbour. UNFICYP was established with the consent of the Government of Cyprus, under Security Council Resolution 186 (1964), while at the same time under the same resolution a UN Mediator was appointed. This enabling resolution in a complementary strategy provided that a diplomatic effort for the peaceful settlement mediator be made in parallel with UNFICYP' s work. Early in 1965 he produced an exemplary report which, if accepted by all concerned, as was accepted by my Government, would have solved the problem and made UNFICYP no longer necessary already as of that time. Uniquely the resolution reiterated in full article 2[4] of the Charter on the prohibition of the threat or use of force in international relations.

Following the 1974 invasion and the forcible division of the island, the Security Council and the General Assembly unanimously adopted resolutions demanding the respect of the sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence of the Republic of Cyprus and the immediate withdrawal of foreign troops. In dramatically changed circumstances UNFICYP adjusted its mandate, supervised the cease-fire and to this day has been fulfilling its role in an admirable way and carrying out other functions to alleviate human suffering resulting from the continued military occupation.

Yet, 24 years later the Cyprus problem still remains unresolved despite resolutions repeatedly adopted by the UN including binding resolutions of the Security Council, despite strenuous efforts of the Secretary General through his good offices mission and considerable diplomatic activity.

The Cyprus example is the best proof that an intense peacemaking effort must be pursued in parallel with every peacekeeping operation.

The lesson to be drawn from the Cyprus peacekeeping efforts is that as long as one of the parties concerned is not willing to comply with the dictates of the international community, as spelled out in unanimously adopted and binding resolutions of the Security Council, and as long as the members of the international community are not willing or able to act effectively in order to implement the resolutions for which they voted, peacemaking lags behind, resulting in the indefinite continuation, if not the perpetuation of the problem.

This is evidently an unsatisfactory situation to the Country concerned no less than to the contributing countries of the United Nations. The answer lies not in abandoning the peacekeeping effort, thereby abdicating responsibility and leaving the weak at the mercy of the strong, but in the face of continued intransigence of one side to press ahead with effective peacemaking through the implementation of the relevant Security Council resolutions by all available means.

This is particularly and especially so in the case of Cyprus, when reports of the Secretary-General to the Security Council clearly identify the party lacking the political will in the peace-making process and when those reports also include a full range of options to the Security Council (S/1994/629, of 30 May 1994), among which is the taking of coercive measures against the side which has consistently flouted the wishes of the international community as reflected in Security Council resolutions and which continues to make proposals not consistent with the objectives of a solution as set out in UN Security Council Resolutions.

In short, Mr. Chairman, peace-keeping and peace-making are complementary and when the peace-making strategy falls behind on account of one party, the Security Council should act promptly and effectively through means available to it in the Charter to redress the situation. Otherwise, intransigence is emboldened and may lead to the kind of threats and actions which we have recently witnessed in our area.

Mr. Chairman,

We would also stress that effective peacekeeping operations must rest on a sure and stable financial footing. We would, therefore, reiterate the need for contributions to be paid in full and on time by member states. May I recall in relation to the financing of UNFICYP, that the Government of Cyprus voluntarily contributes 1/3 of the total cost of the Force and that, moreover, as a further manifestation of our commitment to UN peacekeeping, the Government of Cyprus currently voluntarily contributed an additional 1/3 more than its assessed contribution to all UN Peacekeeping Operations.

Mr. Chairman,
May I place on record the deep appreciation of the Government and people of Cyprus to UNFICYP under the command of General Evergisto de Vergara, as well as to the troop contributing countries and financial contributors, and by all those associated with it, who so ably served and continue to serve the cause of peace in Cyprus.

On the occasion of the UN's 50th anniversary of Peace-Keeping Operations, wish especially to pay tribute to those who gave their lives in the service of the United Nations in Cyprus. In Cyprus - as recalled by Brian Urquhart, former Under-Secretary-General in his book "A Life in Peace and War" - there is a road side memorial to three Austrian UN Peace-Keepers who were killed by the Turkish Airforce in 1974. It is - simple and poignant - three blue helmets and a plaque which reads "In Dienst des Friedens" - In the Service of Peace.

Thank you Mr. Chairman.

* * * * *


Back