THE UN Secretary-General Bank Ki-moon is calling on all sides in Cyprus to “make every effort to avoid raising tensions” over hydrocarbon explorations that could negatively impact on the security situation on or around the island.
According to yesterday’s Cyprus News Agency, the statement was made in a draft report on the operation of UNFICYP, the UN’s peacekeeping force in Cyprus, where Ban recommended the extension of its mandate for a period of six months, until January 19, 2013.
In the draft report, given to members of the Security Council, Ban refers to the tension over the exploration of natural resources in Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone, as well as to Turkey’s reaction to the launch of a second round of licencing for offshore exploration by Cyprus.
In his observations, the UN chief calls for restraint, noting: “It is important to ensure that any newfound wealth from natural resources, which belongs to all Cypriots, will benefit both communities.”
“This development constitutes another strong incentive to find a durable solution to the Cyprus problem,” he added.
He called on both sides to agree on a way forward in the talks, noting that the Turkish Cypriot side has indicated it would only continue discussions on matters of substance if there was a binding timeframe culminating in a multilateral conference. The Greek Cypriot side rejects timeframes and will only go to a multilateral conference once all internal issues have been resolved.
Ban encourages both leaders to “fully embrace the concept and practice of a more inclusive dialogue which ensures that civil society actors can have a meaningful role in the peace process”.
He expressed his disappointment for the lack of progress in the opening of more crossing points, despite the stated readiness by the parties.
On the identification of remains of the missing, Ban said a contract is in the process of being finalised for DNA analysis with the genetic laboratory of the International Committee of Missing Persons in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The report is expected to be adopted by the Security Council on July 18, after being briefed by the UNSG’s envoys in Cyprus Lisa Buttenheim and Alexander Downer.
By Stefanos Evripidou
Published on July 1, 2012