May 19, 1981
Dear Mr. Speaker: (Dear Mr. Chairman:)
In accordance with the provision of Public Law 95 - 384, I am submitting the following report on progress made during the past sixty days toward reaching a negotiated settlement of the Cyprus problem.
The intercommunal negotiations between Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot representatives continue under the chairmanship of the Secretary General's Special Representative on Cyprus, Ambassador Hugo Gobbi. The two sides are proceeding in their detailed review of the four basic, mutually agreed-upon issues and continuing to devote each session to one topic.
Meetings were held on March 18, April 2, 15, and 29, and May 6. The pace of weekly sessions has slowed somewhat as both Greek and Turkish Cypriots prepare for elections. A reduced schedule in May and June is anticipated with resumption of a regular schedule in July. Both sides have continued their talks in a congenial negotiating atmosphere.
Although not directly connected to the intercommunal talks, the problem of missing persons in Cyprus has been a significant issue dividing the communities. Consequently, we are pleased to note a significant, positive development in this area. Ambassador Gobbi announced on April 22 that an intercommunal agreement had been reached on the terms of reference for a Committee on Missing Persons (text attached). The date for the first meeting of the Committee will be fixed soon following coordination with the International Committee of the Red Cross and appointment of members of the Committee.
The issue of setting up a Committee on Missing Persons could, in our view, only be resolved with the cooperation of both Cypriot communities. Consequently, we are gratified by the United Nations' announcement and hope that subsequent discussion in the Committee will be productive and lead to a resolution of this important, humanitarian question.
We also believe the formation of a Committee will contribute to a positive negotiating atmosphere facilitating progress in the intercommunal talks. The agreement reached to form a Committee suggests that patient, persistent negotiating between both communities, under United Nations aegis, holds the potential for success even on the most difficult of issues. I am confident that the productive attitudes characterized by the formation of a Committee on Missing Persons can be employed in the pursuit of a just and lasting settlement of the Cyprus question.
Statement of Agreement on Missing Persons Committee
Following is the text of a statement made April 22 by SRSG Gobbi at the Ledra Palace in Nicosia, Cyprus:
"On behalf of the Secretary-General, I am very pleased to announce that agreement has been reached by the two sides on the terms of reference for the establishment of a committee on missing persons in Cyprus.
"The Secretary-General has asked me to thank both sides for their important cooperation which has made this agreement possible. In particular, I wish to thank the representatives of the two sides who, over the past few months, were engaged in intensive efforts to bring about the setting up of this committee. The Secretary-General also wishes to thank the International Committee of the Red Cross for its cooperation in facilitating this significant achievement. On the basis of this agreement it is possible now to proceed to the establishment of the committee. This development represents a very important step forward in the solution of a long-standing issue of great concern to the two sides.
"Furthermore, we hope the efforts of the committee on missing persons will strengthen the spirit of cooperation and the joint endeavor undertaken in the framework of the intercommunal talks."
Note: This is the text of identical letters addressed to Thomas P. O'Neill, Jr., Speaker of the House of Representatives, and Charles H. Percy, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.