Rapporteur : Mr. Hannu Kemppainen (Finland), Chairman of the Committee

At its 160th session (15 April 1997), the IPU Council took note of the Committee's report and endorsed its recommendations*


7. In the light of the material before it and of the hearings which it conducted, the Committee tackled all matters previously examined and expressed its views on them to its interlocutors, as appropriate. However, it felt it helpful, in the present report, to present views and recommendations on a limited number of issues only. For reference, the members of the IPU Council will also find attached a few notes regarding various key aspects.


8. In his report S/1996/1055 of 17 December 1996 to the Security Council, the UN Secretary-General states that " the developments of recent months and the military build-up in Cyprus have underscored what the Security Council has pointed out for so long, that the status quo in Cyprus is most unstable and is not tenable. The events of recent months are a warning. If the current situation is allowed to persist, the consequences will be to the detriment of both communities. "

9. The Committee agrees with this assessment of the situation in Cyprus. There can be no doubt that the status quo is detrimental to both communities and that it generates among the populations a growing exasperation that may lead to tragic developments such as the events of the second half of 1996. This needs to be prevented at any cost.

10. From the information with which it was submitted, the Committee is hopeful that the direct talks between the Leaders of the two Cypriot Communities will in fact be resumed under UN auspices by June 1997. This would be most welcome especially as the start of the talks is expected to coincide, the same month, with the end of the mandate of UNFICYP (which, despite considerations linked to the financial crisis affecting the UN, was once again renewed for six months in December 1996 by the UN Security Council) and the expected initiation of the negotiations for Cyprus' accession to the European Union.

11. According to the information presented to the Committee, in addition to the efforts of the UN Secretary-General and his representatives, the main documents in the context of the direct talks will be the following:

12. As again expressed in UN Security Council resolution S/RES/1092 of 23 December 1996, it remains clear that the only framework for the settlement of the Cyprus issue "is a State of Cyprus with a single sovereignty and international personality and a singly citizenship, with its independence and territorial integrity safeguarded, and comprising two politically equal communities as described in the relevant Security Council resolutions, in a bi-communal and bi-zonal federation, and ... such a settlement must exclude union in whole or in part with any other country or any form of partition or secession.".

13. The Committee notes that the visions that the two communities have of a federal Cyprus continue to diverge. There are, however, some areas of agreement - a single international personality and a single citizenship; the differences concern the nature of sovereignty of the regions vis-à-vis the federation. The Committee is convinced that the matter is negotiable and, as this question is at the very heart of the settlement, it hopes that renewed efforts will be made by both parties to reach acceptable and tenable common ground.

14. Both the Cypriots and the international community place great hopes and expectations in the initiation and sustained success of the forthcoming direct talks, and the Committee was pleased to note that the European Union and all other mediators in the Cyprus issue have affirmed that they support the UN Secretary-General's efforts.

15. Preparations for the necessary conditions for the signing of the Accession Treaty of Cyprus to the EU (see Annex I) have raised hopes that an overall settlement could thus be facilitated. The IPU Council already stated that it shares such hopes, provided that the negotiations take full account of the interests of the two Communities and are consistent with the principles of the United Nations and its recommendations regarding Cyprus.

16. In this connection, it welcomes the various initiatives of Professor Han Sung-Joo, the UN Secretary-General's Special Representative for Cyprus, and the meeting held on 14 February between him, the European Commissioner for External Affairs, Mr. Van der Broek, the US representative, Mr. Cavanaugh, the UK representative, Sir David Hannay, and Mr. Heaslip on behalf of the EU presidency, which focused on finding ways to ensure that their activities are mutually reinforcing.

  • The Committee invites the IPU Council to reiterate its strong support to the UN Secretary-General in his efforts to bring the two parties together to hold direct talks, and to encourage between them a constructive dialogue, leading to concrete and positive steps, on the basis of mutual acknowledgement of each other's concern and a willingness to compromise as well as a commitment to prevent during the talks any action likely to jeopardise them.


17. The IPU has always considered the political parties to be important partners in the search for a negotiated settlement in Cyprus since they relay the full range of views and feelings of civil society in an organised way to the political arena. With this in mind, in 1994 and 1995, it facilitated, on the occasion of successive IPU Statutory Meetings and on the occasion of a visit to Cyprus, three rounds of inter-communal talks at the level of political parties. Such meetings have proved to be successful in permitting a constructive dialogue among political leaders who do not meet often owing to the partition of the island, and have further proved to be useful in tackling some key and sensitive issues, ending up with concrete proposals for solutions. The political parties later expressed a preference for continuing their contacts in Cyprus, at their own initiative.

18. While such contacts have in fact been irregular since then, the Committee is very happy to note that the parties resumed them, with UN involvement, in January and February 1997. Beyond giving a positive signal to civil society that a climate for reconciliation and confidence can be created, such meetings can facilitate the resumption of the direct talks and provide a think tank to support and assist them.

With this in mind, the Committee invites the IPU Council to encourage political parties:

  • To pursue and develop the practice of holding joint meetings, suggesting that they preferably take place at short intervals so as to keep and take advantage of their momentum;
  • To take advantage of the flexibility inherent to their meetings for exploring ideas and specific proposals in support of successful face-to-face talks between the two Leaders;
  • To consider holding a joint meeting in parallel to the direct talks between the two Leaders, so as to serve as a think tank and consultation framework in support of these talks.


19. The IPU has repeatedly underlined the fundamental right to contacts between the two communities and the importance of increased inter-communal events as one of the most important avenues to promote mutual understanding and tolerance and as a sign of détente between the two parties. While welcoming some minute progress in this connection, as reported in the February 1997 UN Secretary-General's report (excerpts in Annex I), the Committee notes with concern the serious obstacles with which Turkish Cypriots wishing to engage in such activities continue to be faced on the part of the Turkish Cypriot leadership. It supports all UN efforts to secure the removal of these obstacles.

20. The Committee firmly believes that increased dialogue at the level of civil society is not only badly needed but can also efficiently sustain and ease the political dialogue, for which it may serve as an indicator.

With this in mind, the Committees invites the IPU Council to:

  • Urge the Turkish Cypriot Leader to re-consider his approach to the matter so as to offer a positive response to the requests of the Turkish Cypriots wishing to engage in inter-communal activities;
  • To encourage civil society - particularly the Chambers of commerce, professional organisations and trade unions as well as non governmental organisations - in any initiatives expressing its desire to take its share in the process of settlement of the Cyprus issue;
  • To express its firm support to the UN Secretary-General and his representatives in their efforts to ease inter-communal contacts and events.


21. All the information before the Committee most unfortunately converges to show that tension in Cyprus has not decreased since September 1996. This tension and the level of violence - unprecedented since 1974 according to the United Nations - have been particularly heightened following the tragic events of the second half of 1996 involving violence along the cease-fire lines, the death of three Greek Cypriot civilians and one member of the Turkish Cypriot Security Forces as well as injuries to civilians and UNFICYP personnel.

22. In September 1996, the Inter-Parliamentary Council urged the appropriate authorities of the two Communities and the Government of Turkey to conduct without delay the necessary in-depth investigations and promptly bring to justice all those suspected of being directly or indirectly responsible in such events. It expressed its conviction that such legal action would be the best means for each party to demonstrate respect for the rule of law and the United Nations, and contribute to lessening tension and strengthening confidence between the two Communities.

23. The Committee noted the correspondence addressed to it on 4 November 1996 by President Clerides in which he states: "As to the issue of in-depth investigation and legal proceedings regarding the recent tragic events, the Cyprus Police under the direction of the Attorney-General of the Republic, is taking all necessary action". During the hearing, the Greek Cypriot representatives stated that the investigations had permitted to identify those having taken part in the killings of the Greek Cypriot civilians.

24. The Committee was shocked to hear from the Turkish Cypriot side that they had no intention of taking any steps to investigate the incidents and was leaving the matter up to the United Nations.

  • The Committee urges the IPU Council to reiterate that it is adamant that the appropriate authorities of the Turkish Cypriot Community and the Government of Turkey have to conduct in-depth investigations into the events of the second half of 1996. Both communities have promptly to bring to justice all those suspected of being directly or indirectly responsible in such events. Such action will indeed contribute greatly to creating a welcome climate of reconciliation and mutual confidence.


25. The Committee is concerned with the worsening military situation on the island. Both sides have affirmed their willingness to reduce tensions. At the same time, their actions have had the effects of escalating military tensions.

26. Report S/1996/1016 of 10 December 1996 on the UN operations in Cyprus states: "With regard to the level of military forces and armaments on the island, there was no significant change on the Turkish side, which maintained a strength of some 30,000 Turkish and 4,500 Turkish Cypriot troops." The Committee is concerned that there are no signs of disengagement from Cyprus by Turkey and notes with preoccupation allegations from the Greek Cypriot side that, on the contrary, it constantly up-grades its presence in that part of the island, qualitatively and quantitatively. It is particularly concerned in that connection with recent violations of Cyprus airspace by Turkish aircrafts and other incidents, to which a reference is made on paragraph 36.

27. On the other hand, the same report states: "On the Government side, the National Guard acquired 27 modern T-800M and 52 AMX-30 main battle tanks, for a total of 123 main battle tanks; the Guard's strength stands at approximately 11,500 troops. ".

28. The Greek Cypriot side argues that this fresh armament is of a purely defensive nature, and it justifies its acquisition by referring to " the need to strengthen the defence of the Republic of Cyprus (which) arises from the continuing Turkish occupation, the increased Turkish threat and aggressiveness, the huge imbalance of military forces and the continuing upgrading, quantitative and qualitative, of the Turkish occupation forces ". Assurances were given by the Cypriot Government that the newly purchased missiles will not be deployed, nor any part of the system transferred to Cyprus during the next sixteen months.

29. The Committee does not intend to question the sovereign right of the Republic of Cyprus to defend itself and purchase armament. However, it can only note with concern that such acquisitions can contribute to the escalation of tension and provide an unwelcome justification for the maintenance in Cyprus of the Turkish troops whose withdrawal has been unceasingly demanded since 1974 by the Government of Cyprus and the entire international community.

30. The UN Secretary-General has stated that Cyprus is now the most heavily militarised area of the world.

31. The IPU has expressed its support to the constructive call by President Clerides for a complete demilitarisation of the island. However, the very memorandum presented to the Committee by the Greek Cypriot side acknowledges that " Turkish threats were exacerbated in response to the decision of the Cyprus Government to purchase the Russian S-300 anti-aircraft missile system ", quoting specific statements in that connection by the Turkish National Defence Minister and the Turkish Minister for Foreign Affairs; the memorandum also refers to statements by the Turkish Cypriot side suggesting that, in retaliation, Varosha could be opened to settlement by the Turkish Cypriots. Indeed, the “Joint Declaration” of 20 January 1997 of the President of Turkey and Mr. R. Denktash unequivocally states that “military and political measures will continue to be adopted without hesitation if the Greek-Cypriot side maintains its efforts to disrupt the balance in Cyprus.”

32. The Committee noted that the Greek Cypriot representatives - while affirming that the purchase was not a mere tactical move - stated that the purchase could be cancelled should the Turkish troops be withdrawn.

The Committee wishes to urge the IPU Council:

  • To express its grave concern at the increased level of armaments on the island, which complicates all efforts to reach a negotiated political settlement;
  • To repeat its call on Turkey to abide by UN and IPU resolutions demanding the withdrawal of its troops from northern Cyprus and that it refrain from up-grading its military presence there;
  • To urge the Cypriot Government to re-think the purchase of the S-300 missiles as well as refrain from any further acquisition of armaments so as to ease the way to a politically negotiated settlement.

33. As stated in the Security Council documents of December 1996, the UN has been actively urging the parties " to accept as a package, without delay or preconditions, the reciprocal measures proposed by UNFICYP, namely: a) to extend the 1989 unmanning agreement to other areas where the two sides remain in close proximity to each other; b) to prohibit loaded weapons along the cease-fire lines, and c) to adopt a code of conduct, based on the concept of minimal force and proportional response, to be followed by troops on both sides along the cease-fire lines. " Unfortunately, no progress has been registered in this connection so far.

34. An urgent appeal by the UN Security Council to the military authorities on both sides to cease military constructions in the immediate vicinity of the buffer zone and to refrain from any military exercises along the buffer zone has also remained unheard. In fact, the National Guard of the Republic of Cyprus has continued its military construction programme and, more especially its construction works in and around Nicosia Central Prison, which is close to a sensitive area of the buffer zone and, according to UNFICYP's observation, “appears to be intended as a military position”. For their part, the Turkish Forces have also pursued the construction works which, in reaction, they have initiated in the same area.

35. Similarly, a call by the UN Security Council to the military authorities on both sides to clear without further delay all 39 minefields and booby-trapped areas within the buffer zone and a further 71 located on either side within 500 meters of it, has remained unheeded.

  • The Committee is distressed at this complete disregard by both parties of UN above demands and recommendations, and invites the IPU Council to urge the parties to abide strictly by the UN Security Council resolution and co-operate urgently with UNFICYP.

36. The Committee was informed that, on 4 November 1996, Turkish warplanes had landed for the first time in northern Cyprus and that their pilots had presented plaques to, inter alia, the Leader of the Turkish Cypriot Community; that, on 15 November, Turkish military aircraft again violated Cyprus air space and that, on 25 January 1997, three warships of the Turkish navy docked at the closed port of Famagusta, in clear breach of international law and UN resolutions.

  • The Committee feels that the above acts, which contribute to increasing the tension in Cyprus, should not be tolerated, and urges the Council to express its dissatisfaction and request that they should not repeated.

37. In September 1996, the Inter-Parliamentary Council appealed to the parties to do everything in their power to find a mutually acceptable formula permitting a dialogue under the auspices of the general commanding the United Nations Forces in Cyprus, between the head of the National Guard of the Republic of Cyprus, and the general heading the Turkish forces in Cyprus on purely technical military matters, as had been suggested by the US. Unfortunately, no progress can be reported in this connection, and each party blames the other for this failure.

38. President Clerides stated in a letter dated 4 November 1996 to the Committee: "I have accepted the proposal of the United States for a dialogue of military commanders on deconfrontation issues. At the time, I repeated in writing to Mr. Denktash, the Turkish Cypriot Leader, my proposal for an early meeting to discuss the total demilitarisation of the island."

39. The Turkish side demanded Turkish Cypriot participation in the military dialogue, which was rejected by the Greek Cypriot side for fear that it would imply an indirect recognition.

40. The Committee notes that, in a letter of 23 December 1996, Mr. Denktash states: “The Greek objections regarding who UNIFICYP should talk to on our side are totally unwarranted. What is important in this respect is not with whom UNFICYP will conduct its negotiations but the achievements of results, namely the implementation of practical measures aimed at reducing tension in the buffer zone and along the demarcation lines”.

  • On this basis, the Committee invites the IPU Council to reiterate its hope that practical arrangements may be found by which both sides consider that their interests are properly and thoroughly represented, so that the military dialogue - which is badly needed - may be initiated without any further delay, under the auspices of the general commanding the United Nations Forces in Cyprus.


41. The Committee is most unhappy to note the lack of progress since its last report. It hopes that, after the period of violence of last year, lasting calm has been re-established on the island.

42. The present report concentrates on a limited number of issues. This does not mean that the interest and the concerns of the Committee have diminished with regard to other issues such as the refugees, the disappeared, the enclaved or fundamental questions like property and settlement rights and cultural heritage, inter alia. Any settlement of the Cyprus problem clearly will have to include all issues.

43. At the time when the Leaders of the two Communities are expected to resume their direct talks, the Committee feels that IPU's main concern should be both to encourage them and the UN Secretary-General in a decisive fashion, and at the same time offer its views and recommendations on matters which, besides Cyprus, affect or may affect the international community at large. The UN Secretary-General's efforts should be supported by all for the resumption and success of the direct talks between the two Leaders.

Annex I

Notes on various key aspects (I. Cyprus' request for accession to the European Union; II. Mediation efforts with regard to Cyprus; III. Freedom of movement and inter-communal contacts and events; IV. The Turkish settlers in northern Cyprus and the emigration of Turkish Cypriots; V. The enclaved; VI. The missing persons)

Annex II

1977 High-Level Agreement (Nicosia, 12 February 1977)
Makarios/Denktash Guidelines
1979 High-Level Agreement (Nicosia, 19 May 1979)
Ten-Point Kyprianou/Denktash Agreement

* The delegation of Turkey moved amendments to the recommendations presented after paragraph 24 (remove the words "and the Government of Turkey") and paragraph 32 (replace the words "To repeat its call on Turkey to abide by UN and IPU resolutions demanding the withdrawal of its troops from Northern Cyporus and that it refrain from upgrading its military presence there" by the words "To repeat its call upon all concerned to commit themselves to the withdrawal of non-Cypriot forces as described in the UN Set of Ideas", and replace the word "re-think" by the words "renounce its decision concerning"). These amendments were rejected by the IPU Council.

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