Letter to the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Reporting on the Cyprus Conflict

 

May 24, 1988

 

Dear Mr. Speaker: (Dear Mr. Chairman:)

 

In accordance with Public Law 95 - 384, I am submitting to you a bimonthly report on progress toward a negotiated settlement of the Cyprus question.

 

Major meetings were held by U.S. officials with Cypriot leaders during the past two months. Secretary of State Shultz visited Cyprus on April 8, 1988, during the course of travel to a number of Middle Eastern countries. The Secretary met with Cypriot Foreign Minister Iacovou and stressed to him our desire to be helpful in the effort to achieve a Cyprus solution. The Secretary also underlined our continuing support for the United Nations Secretary General's good offices mission.

 

Special Cyprus Coordinator M. James Wilkinson visited Cyprus, Greece, and Turkey in late March and early April, meeting in Cyprus with President Vassiliou, Foreign Minister Iacovou, Turkish Cypriot community leader Denktash, and other political and government leaders. Mr. Wilkinson strongly emphasized our belief that negotiations should be started as soon as possible under the aegis of the U.N. Secretary General and his representative in Cyprus, Oscar Camilion. Mr. Wilkinson also stated that the United States wishes to be helpful in the effort to start negotiations, but that the parties themselves must elect to begin the process.

 

The new U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Cyprus, Bill K. Perrin, arrived in Cyprus on April 28 and presented his credentials to President Vassiliou on May 3, 1988. Ambassador Perrin begins his tour of duty at a time when we enjoy excellent bilateral relations with Cyprus and stands ready to lend all possible support to efforts to solve the Cyprus dispute.

 

During the period under review both Greek and Turkish Cypriot leaders expressed their continued interest in working with the U.N. Secretary General in pursuit of a settlement. At the same time, both parties pointed to statements and actions by the other side that they argue call into question the sincerity of such expressions.

 

Also, during the reporting period, the Turkish Cypriot authorities began stamping the passports of certain travelers entering the Turkish Cypriot sector across the U.N.-controlled buffer zone. The Turkish Cypriots have asserted that the new measures were established in response to long-standing Greek Cypriot restrictions on travel between the two sectors. We and others have questioned the initiative and urged maximum effort by all parties to restart serious negotiations.

 

Financial problems for the United Nations Force in Cyprus [UNFICYP] remain severe. In mid-April, UNFICYP troop contributors vigorously renewed their appeal for a switch in UNFICYP's funding base to assessed contributions in place of the present voluntary contributions. The United Nations Force in Cyprus's cumulative deficit is over $160 million, borne entirely by the troop-contributing countries. We continue to consult with U.N. officials and the troop contributors on this problem.

 

Regarding congressional interest in Cyprus, I applaud House Concurrent Resolution 274 that commends the Prime Ministers of Greece and Turkey ``on their statesmanship in initiating their current dialogue.'' I agree with the positive thoughts expressed in that Resolution and, like its authors, hope that the high-level meetings between Greece and Turkey ``may result in the creation of an atmosphere that is conducive to . . . a resolution of the Cyprus problem.''

 

The United States continues to believe that the time is ripe for resuming negotiations without preconditions. An early meeting, facilitated as appropriate by the U.N. Secretary General, between the leaders of the two communities also appears desirable. At the same time, we continue to favor expanded contacts at all levels to reduce tensions and to complement, not substitute for, substantive negotiations.

 

Sincerely,

 

Ronald Reagan

 

Note: Identical letters were sent to Jim Wright, Speaker of the House of Representatives, and Claiborne Pell, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.