Yearbook of the United Nations, 2004. Part 1, Political and security questions. Chapter 5, Europe and the Mediterranean
In 2004, progress towards the restoration of peace and stability and the settlement of several long-standing disputes in Europe and the Mediterranean suffered serious setbacks, as renewed violence risked derailing the stabilization and normalization process in the Serbia and Montenegro province of Kosovo, and almost brought the Georgian/Abkhaz peace process to a standstill, while efforts to reunite Cyprus in a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation ended in a stalemate with no immediate prospects of a way forward. Only in Bosnia and Herzegovina was there any significant progress to report regarding United Nations efforts to restore stability. Bosnia and Herzegovina made steps towards restoring normality to its institutions and promoting further Euro-Atlantic integration by adopting requisite legislation and establishing new State-level institutions, although the continued lack of cooperation, especially by its constituent Republic, Republika Srpska, with the International Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia resulted in the country being denied membership in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Partnership for Peace programme. Because of the positive security situation in the country, NATO announced in June that it was ending its multinational Stabilization Force there in December. The European Union (EU) indicated its intention to fill the resulting gap by installing an EU force as the successor to the NATO Force, which the Security Council authorized in December. In the Serbia and Montenegro province of Kosovo, an eruption of violence in March caused a serious setback to the stabilization and normalization processes aimed at assisting the authorities and people of Kosovo to build a modern, multi-ethnic society. Despite the outbreak, the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo and the Special Representative of the Secretary-General launched the Kosovo Standards Implementation Plan, which included priority actions in response to the March violence. Also arising out of the March events, the Secretary-General appointed a team to conduct a comprehensive review of the policies and practices of all actors. The team, among its recommendations, suggested that a comprehensive and integrated strategy be elaborated and that the “standards before status” policy, which established in 2002 benchmarks for Kosovo to attain before talks on its status could begin, be replaced by a priority-based policy to facilitate future status discussions. General elections, organized for the first time by Kosovo authorities, were held on 23 October leading to the formation of a coalition Government. The Georgian/Abkhaz peace process came perilously close to a standstill. While the parties came together during the course of the year on some substantive issues, efforts to advance a dialogue on the 2001 Basic Principles for the Distribution of Competences between Tbilisi (Georgia's Government) and Sukhumi (the Abkhaz leadership) encountered serious challenges. The Principles, which were intended to serve as a basis for negotiations on the status of Abkhazia as a sovereign entity within the State of Georgia, encountered serious challenges. Renewed violence in March led to a chain of events that brought all contacts between the sides to a halt. The Georgian side announced a proposal for settling the conflict, which included substantial autonomy for a reintegrated Abkhazia into the State of Georgia and power sharing at the national level, but there was no movement in the position of the Abkhaz side. No progress was made towards a settlement of the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the Nagorny Karabakh region in Azerbaijan. In the Mediterranean, after a 40-year effort by the United Nations, the Cyprus problem remained unresolved at the end of 2004 with no obvious avenue to achieve successful negotiations. The Secretary-General reconvened talks in February in Cyprus, which were resumed in Bürgenstock, Switzerland, on 24 March. As no agreement was achievable during those negotiations between the two sides—the Greek Cypriots and the Turkish Cypriots—the Secretary-General, in accordance with prior agreements, finalized a text on the basis of his proposed settlement plan. The “Comprehensive Settlement of the Cyprus Problem”, which comprised, among other documents, a Foundation Agreement and constituent State constitutions, was submitted for approval by each side in simultaneous referenda on 24 April. The Greek Cypriot electorate, by a margin of three to one, rejected the settlement proposal; the Turkish Cypriot side approved it by a margin of two to one. The Foundation Agreement could not therefore enter into force and all the agreements of the Comprehensive Settlement became null and void. The Republic of Cyprus acceded to EU membership on 1 May, putting into question the future status of the northern part of the island. In those circumstances, the Secretary-General reviewed the mandate and concept of operations of the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus and recommended a reduction in the mission's military component. He undertook to maintain continuous contact at the highest level with the parties and promised to designate on an ad hoc basis senior Secretariat officials to deal with any particular aspect of his mission of good offices that might require attention.
Yearbook of the United Nations, 2004. v. 58; Vol. 58
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