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Confidence Building Measures (1992-1994)


In his report to the UN Security Council on his mission of good offices in Cyprus, dated 19 November 1992 (S/24830), the UN Secretary-General described the progress of the New York talks and the position of the two sides in relation to the UN "set of ideas". The Secretary-General observed that "there is a deep crisis of confidence between the two sides. It is difficult to envisage any successful outcome to the talks for as long as this situation prevails (para.63)". With the UN Secretary-General's evaluation of the situation as such, the exercise on instituting Confidence Building Measures (CBMs) between the two sides got underway.

In February 1993 "presidential elections" were held in South Cyprus. Mr. Clerides who had the backing of Mr.Kyprianou's Party, which is known for its rejectionist policy towards the UN initiatives, was elected. After the elections in the South, the UN Secretary-General as well as the President of the Security Council, urged the two leaders (Denktaş and Clerides) to resume negotiations on the basis of the "set of ideas" starting with the CBM.

Proximity talks on the implementation of the CBMs were held with the UN representatives in Cyprus from February through June 16,1994. In line with the call made to the two sides by the UN Secretary-General, the Turkish Cypriot side displayed a constructive and flexible stance throughout this process with a view to facilitating an early settlement on the package.

The Turkish Cypriot side expressed its readiness in June 1994 to conclude and sign a CBM agreement. The Greek Cypriot leader, Mr. Clerides, or the other hand, began making public remarks, which reflected the position of the Greek Cypriot National Council, to the effect that "the package of CBMs and the process is dead." The opportunity which had thus been created by this process towards fostering confidence between the two sides was marred due to the rejectionist attitude of the Greek Cypriot side.

Between 18-31 October,1994 President Denktas and Mr. Clerides met for a series of informal consultations. The agenda was determined by the Secretary-General's call for an effort "to exploring in a practical and concrete manner ways in which progress might be made both in respect of the implementation of the Confidence-Building Measures and the long-contemplated overall settlement of the Cyprus problem".

Mr. Clerides, however, put the EU membership of "Cyprus" as a precondition for talks and thereby altered the agenda. Mr. Clerides made it abundantly clear that he did not want to discuss the Confidence-Building Measures (CBMs) until after a settlement. Despite this negative stance of the Greek Cypriot leader, President Denktas made constructive proposals which entailed further sacrifices for the Turkish Cypriot people. However, the consultations ended without any progress as a result of the rejectionist attitude of the Greek Cypriot side.

On January 20, 1995, President Denktas, took the initiative on Cyprus by launching a new peace offensive directed at the Greek Cypriot side. President Denktas produced a 14- point proposal aimed at paving the way towards a new atmosphere of trust and an eventual overall agreement.

With this new peace offensive, the Turkish Cypriot side expressed its readiness to implement the UN-sponsored Confidence Building Measures and to begin talks without preconditions towards a viable bi-communal, bi-zonal Federal solution. President Denktas, in his statement before the world press, announced that the Turkish Cypriot side is prepared to discuss the subject of EU membership of the federal Republic once an overall agreement was reached. He also stated that the Turkish Cypriot side would support the approach of "land for a viable solution" which reflects the "give and take understanding necessary for reaching a realistic and viable solution".

On January 21, the Greek Cypriot leader, Glafcos Clerides, responded to the Turkish Cypriot side's proposals with a written statement in which he basically rejected the Turkish Cypriot document of January 20. Whereas the Greek Cypriot side rejected the Turkish Cypriot document of January 20, both the UN and US circles acclaimed the document as containing "positive elements" which should be carefully examined.

On January 23, US Presidential Envoy for Cyprus, Mr. Richard Beattic handed to President Denktas a special message from US President Bill Clinton, which underlined the support of the US far a "bi-zonal, bi-communal federation in which the two political communities can exist as a single state". President Clinton emphasized that the way forward in Cyprus was the implementation of the Confidence Building Measures.