A Critical Interrogation of the Conflict
Edited by Michális S. Michael and Yücel Vural
Chapter 8: Re-engaging the United Nations in Cyprus
The United Nations (UN) has two distinct but complementary mandates in Cyprus. Firstly, the mandate of the Office of the Special Representative of the UN Secretary General (head of the UNFICYP mission), since 1964, when the first peace-keeping forces were stationed in Cyprus, has been to provide ‘international peace and security, to use its best efforts to prevent a recurrence of fighting and, as necessary, to contribute to the maintenance and restoration of law and order and a return to normal conditions’ (Security Council Resolution 186 (1964)). Secondly, the Office of the Special Adviser of the UN Secretary General (head of the Good Office) has the mandate to support the inter-communal peace negotiations between the leaders of the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities. Despite its limited mandate – that is, mostly facilitating the inter-communal negotiations without really ‘mediating’ them, except briefly in the run up to the 2004 referenda on the so-called Annan Plan – the Good Offices has always focused on supporting a comprehensive solution to the Cyprus conflict. During the history of inter-communal negotiations, which started in 1968, there has been one exception – a brief period in 1993 and 1994 when the UN proposed 15 confidence building measures in order to bridge the big gap in trust between the two Cypriot communities. This is one area that the UN could have done much better given its capacity. As for the UNFICYP, it has a lot of potential to play a significant role during the post-solution era in the united federal Cyprus. In this chapter, the author proposes concrete policy recommendations on how the capacity of the UN could be better utilized, first to reach a comprehensive solution, and second to transform the UNFICYP to allow it to play its post-solution peace-building role.
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