Set of ideas (1992)

In June 1992 the new UN Secretary-General, Boutros-Boutros Ghali invited the leaders of the two communities for discussion on a new UN initiative, namely the "set of ideas", for an overall framework agreement on Cyprus.

Between 18-23 June 1992, the Secretary-General held five meetings with each leader in New York and also arranged a brief joint encounter between the two leaders. It was agreed that these talks would be resumed on 15 July. During the period of resumed proximity talks (15 July - 11 August) the UN Secretary-General and his representatives had various separate meetings with the two leaders and numerous informal contacts with them and their delegations. The Greek Cypriot leader, Mr. Vassiliou insisted that the Turkish Cypriot side concede to his demands for territorial concessions before other issues could he taken up. These talks focused on territorial adjustments and displaced persons, constituting two of the eight headings of the Secretary-General's Set of Ideas (Annex to the Report of the Secretary-General to the Security Council, S/24472 dated 21 August 1992).

The Secretary-General stressed that he would not proceed to a discussion of the other issues unless he was satisfied that reasonable progress had been made in bringing the parties within agreement range on those two issues. The Turkish Cypriot side showed maximum flexibility at the talks with the understanding that the draft outline of a settlement to be negotiated with the Greek Cypriot side would be an integrated whole which would eventually be submitted to the referendum of the two peoples separately.

However, it became clear that the Greek Cypriot leader had not come to New York to negotiate in a spirit of goodwill and reconciliation but merely to win territorial concessions from the Turkish Cypriot side without conceding to anything in return.

It was the Turkish Cypriot side that facilitated the progress of the talks by making the above concessions. In view of this, the Secretary-General considered that enough progress was made to bring the parties within agreement range on the above issues. On 14 August the talks were recessed, to be re-convened at UN Headquarters an 26 October.

Between 28 October and 11 November,1992, the third round of talks between the two leaders on the "Set of Ideas" were held in New York under the Chairmanship of the UN Secretary-General. The eight heading of the "set of ideas" were taken up in sequence;

Displaced persons, constitutional aspects and territorial adjustments, overall objectives, guiding principles, security and guarantee, economic development and safeguards and territorial arrangements.

During the course of the joint meetings the Secretary-General took record of the positions taken by each side. In general terms, the Turkish Cypriot side affirmed that it was in basic agreement with 91 out of the 100 paragraphs" of the "set of ideas". The Greek Cypriot side, on the other hand, stated that it accepted the "set of ideas" as "a basis for reaching an overall framework agreement" but subject to negotiation.

The Greek Cypriot side once again chose to look constructive but in effect to push the process to a deadlock by leaving everything achieved open to further negotiation. Basic difference between the positions of the two sides could not be bridged and the talks were adjourned to be resumed in early March 1993, after the "presidential elections" in South Cyprus.