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Statement by Ambassador Günter Sautter in the Security Council Meeting on UNFICYP, July 20, 2020

20.07.2020 - Speech

Thanks to the SG and SRSG Spehar for your detailed reports. On behalf of Germany, I would like to address four points, which have been mentioned by many other delegations.

My first point is on the political process. Reports clearly demonstrate that there is still no progress in the political process. It is stalled by the lack of political will of the parties and by the stalemate due to the upcoming elections, first in the North and then in the Republic next year. We must not allow elections to stop the whole process aiming at a long-term solution. We need to come back to the positive momentum from the Berlin meeting last November of the Secretary General with the two leaders. Germany stands ready to support this process.

We are encouraged by the willingness of the two parties to contribute an update on their actions in the current SG report. However, we do observe the usual blaming of the other side. We believe that negative rhetoric, blame game and incitement of division need to stop now! We urge the parties to come back to the negotiation table in order to find common ground for the framework of the discussions.

My second point is on the consequences for the security situation and for UNFICYP. The reports also describe rising tensions and increasing destabilization on the island. We are concerned about reports of very close encounters of soldiers from the two sides. We were also shocked to hear of the first physical attacks against UNFICYP Peacekeepers in 24 years. Both sides need to respect the mandate of UNFICYP and its authority in the buffer zone!

These rising tensions are also driven by the drilling for hydrocarbons off the coast of Cyprus by Turkey. International law needs to be respected, the drillings need to stop. A dialogue between the communities concerning income generated off natural resources is urgently required.

We are equally concerned about the attempts by Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots to reopen the fenced-off city of Varosha. Security Council resolutions are very clear on the status of Varosha: unilateral action will not change its status!

My third point is on confidence-building measures. In the absence of a negotiated settlement, confidence building measures are crucial, including long-term activities such as peace education, youth exchange and history textbook revisions. These measures should include civil society actors.

We call on leaders to advance direct contacts through UN-led mechanisms at all levels, including military, police and civilian administration. Especially in times of the COVID-19 pandemic, we need more cooperation, not less, in order to mitigate the effects of the crisis on the island. It is imperative to maintain the freedom of movement of UNFICYP on the island and across the Green Line.

This brings me to my last point, which regards the participation of women. We call on all parties to more actively engage women from all communities in the peace process. We welcome that the Technical Committee on Gender has finally started regular meetings after three years. We further welcome the concrete steps taken by the good offices for the advancement of a gender-sensitive socio-economic impact assessment of a Settlement.

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