Britain has always been the evil demon of the Cyprus problem because in addition to its special involvement in Cyprus, it also has the responsibility of writing Security Council texts that deal with the problem. A privileged position that London is skillfully exploiting to the fullest, in order to push the discussion on the Cyprus issue where it wanted. With the umbrella of the United Nations which he knew no one would question.
It is this practice that British diplomats call “normal procedure” to justify the very simple question “why spend so many hours on changes to texts that from the beginning can be written clearly”. As penholders (those who have the responsibility to write a text in the SA) the British have undertaken in recent weeks to prepare two texts concerning the developments in Cyprus. One text is the resolution on the renewal of the UNFICYP term, which passed unanimously last Thursday, and the other was the statement of the President of the Security Council, which was unanimously agreed a week in advance.
The course of the two issues, from the initial text to the final, showed that the British as the penholders wanted to take advantage of their position in order to pass mainly through the resolution on UNFICYP their own views on the Cyprus issue. They themselves in the individual meetings they had on both sides of the dividing line call them “food for thought”, or “bridging proposals” that can help remove the impasse.
The aim of the British was to open another umbrella of constructive ambiguity in a way that would allow the Turkish side to talk formally on the basis of the two states. Something for which the Cypriot government reacted from the beginning, rejecting the British ideas. On the other hand, it is no coincidence that the Turkish Cypriot side, after each meeting with British officials, appeared to be satisfied with the understanding it found from its interlocutors.
They wanted a queue at 2587
If there is one thing that characterizes the British in the Cyprus issue, it is the fact that they never put it down even if the proposals or bridging ideas they promote are not accepted. They come and go until they succeed. And so they acted in this case as well. The fact that one side did not agree with the “bridging ideas” they were unofficially throwing during their discussions does not mean that it deprived them of the right to keep trying. And they wanted to put them on paper through a Security Council resolution, in order to gain the appropriate “weight” and “legitimacy”.
In preparing the text of the resolution for the renewal of the mandate of UNFICYP, Britain did not stay in the word of the report of the Secretary General of the United Nations but tried to put its own elements in the text. In particular, he tried to put “compromise references” in paragraph 4 in the preamble to the resolution. Reports which, however, would broaden the meaning of the solution base and include the element of satisfaction of the concerns of both sides.
Britain did not stick to the agreed text as mentioned in the resolution adopted in January 2021 to renew the mandate of UNFICYP. Something that the Americans had pointed out in the discussions within the Security Council. According to information from the United Nations headquarters, the Americans had requested that the word be returned to the form agreed upon last January. Position agreed by Russia, France, China, India, Ireland, Mexico and Estonia.
In its original form the paragraph read as follows:
“Expressing full support for the Secretary-General's ongoing efforts and noting the importance of being open, flexible and compromising in finding common ground to address the concerns of both sides with a view to a return to formal negotiations, and urging parties to renew their efforts to achieve a lasting, comprehensive and just settlement based on the parameters of a bi-communal, bi-zonal federation with political equality, as set out in the relevant Security Council resolutions, including paragraph 4 of its operative resolution 16 (1991); “noting that these parameters provide a clear framework for a number of adjustments, they can address the concerns of both sides.”
This time it was China's turn to speak first and demand the return of paragraph 4 to its original and agreed form. This position was supported by the United States, France, Mexico and India, which in turn reiterated their initial demand for the changes to be made.
As a result of these pressures, the phrases “to address the concerns of both sides” and “noting that these parameters provide a clear framework for a series of adjustments, can address the concerns of both sides”. And in resolution 2587 the paragraph was worded as follows:
“Expressing full support for the Secretary-General's ongoing efforts and noting the importance of being open, flexible and compromising in finding common ground for a return to formal negotiations, and urging the parties to renew their efforts to achieve a lasting, comprehensive and just settlement based on the principles of a bi-communal, bi-zonal federation with political equality, as set out in the relevant Security Council resolutions, including paragraph 4 of its operative part of Resolution 716 (1991) “.
The queue that the British tried to add was not accidental and unintentional. Their aim was very specific as they wanted to set – through a resolution – a framework that would give the Turkish side the right to officially put on the table its proposal for dialogue between two equal state entities but also to lead the bi-zonal bi-communal federation. closer to a federal form of solution.
He was kicking for Varosi
In the paragraph referring to the issue of Famagusta, he tried again to achieve what he had failed a week earlier, that is, not to have a nominal reference in the text to the leaders of Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots. At the time of the writing of the Presidential Declaration on Developments in Famagusta, the British, as penholders, had attempted to omit a nominal reference to the leaders of Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots, an action that provoked reactions from the other permanent members of the Security Council. And in the final their position passed and there was a nominal report.
Given that the resolution is stronger than a presidential statement, the British tried through 2587 to delete references to the Turkish leadership.
In this case, too, the United States acted in support of Cyprus and requested that paragraphs 7 (preamble) and 14 (operative part) include all the key elements contained in the Presidential Declaration of the Security Council on the issue of Varos. The Americans were joined by China, France, India, Ireland and Estonia, and a reference was made to the Turkish and Turkish Cypriot leaderships: calls for the immediate reversal of this course of action and the reversal of all steps taken for Varosha since October 2020, reaffirming the status of the Varosas as set out in its previous resolutions and to take action in relation to Varosya which is not in line with these resolutions and stressing the need to avoid any unilateral action that could provoke tensions on the island and undermine the prospects for a peaceful settlement. “
The mobilization of Britain bore fruit
Throughout this period, the Cypriot diplomacy was constantly mobilized both in Nicosia and in various capitals, but mainly in the main centers that dealt with the developments in Cyprus, New York and Brussels.
Nikos Christodoulidis had taken on the full weight of the efforts both in terms of the Presidential Declaration and the resolution on UNFICYP and the joint declaration of the European Union. He was accompanied by diplomatic missions to New York and Brussels, the cities at the center of the consultations. But there was also mobilization in other capitals.
It is obvious from the result so far that the mobilization has borne fruit. And if there is one thing that Nicosia holds at the moment as an important point of reference, it is the support it had from countries that did not expect to make dynamic interventions.
The United States took the lead this time in the Security Council debates and stood on several fronts against the British. It may be the first time that the Americans have been so clear and demanding in their attitudes towards the British regarding the Cyprus issue. Russia, France and China were the three countries on which until recently Cyprus relied more.
The interventions made by Israel are also very important. The first intervention was made in the direction of Germany in relation to the joint statement of the 27 EU on the developments in Famagusta. Berlin had objections which were set aside following actions by Jerusalem.
Interventions from the Israeli side but also from the United Arab Emirates were made during the discussion of the resolution on UNFICYP. Actions like these satisfy Nicosia, which is seeing the fruits of the alliances and synergies it is building in the Eastern Mediterranean region and in the Gulf. And this is for the Cypriot government the best answer it can give today to those who have questioned or are questioning the importance of these collaborations.