The Office of the Special Adviser and UNFICYP share an overall goal: supporting the comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem. However, the specific mandates and tasks of each, while complementary, differ considerably. The mandate of UNFICYP is, “in the interest of preserving international peace and security, to use its best efforts to prevent a recurrence of fighting and, as necessary, to contribute to the maintenance and restoration of law and order and a return to normal conditions” (Security Council resolution 186 (1964)). The mandate of the Secretary General’s Good Offices and the Office of his Special Adviser is to support the conduct of negotiations between the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot leaders.
In March 2008 the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot leaders agreed on a path towards a comprehensive settlement. They established six working groups to initiate a review of the key substantive points to be negotiated (governance and power-sharing, European Union matters, security and guarantees, territory, property and economic matters). They also established seven technical committees to work on confidence-building measures aimed not only at improving the everyday life of Cypriots, but also at encouraging and facilitating greater interaction between the two communities. The two leaders requested the United Nations to “provide infrastructure and personnel support” for the negotiations. After approximately four months of preparatory work, the leaders decided to begin full-fledged negotiations on 3 September 2008, with the facilitation of the Secretary-General’s good offices.
While there is close cooperation between UNFICYP and the Office of the Special Adviser in supporting the peace negotiations, there is no overlap between the two missions. UNFICYP, with its present mandate and structure, is not equipped to provide direct support to the negotiations. It does, however, play a vital role in support of the peace process by ensuring a stable environment conducive to the negotiation process. The Office of the Special Adviser has been established specifically to provide direct support to the negotiations. Consequently, the office consists of political affairs officers and thematic experts, whose main task is to provide in-house expertise and facilitate the negotiation process, including support for the working groups and technical committees and the chairing of the meetings of the leaders and of their Representatives.
The Office of the Special Adviser relies on the support of UNFICYP in the areas where it has the necessary capacity, such as crime and criminal matters, issues related to cultural heritage, communication, logistics and administration. In addition, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and head of UNFICYP serves as the Deputy Special Adviser to the Secretary-General, which allows the United Nations to act coherently in pursuing its overall goal, as described above.
More information is available on www.uncyprustalks.org