Cyprus, as a member of the European Union, strongly believes that a multilateral approach to disarmament and non-proliferation can contribute significantly towards the furthering of international peace and security.
With Geneva functioning as a traditional centre for global security and disarmament affairs, the Permanent Mission is responsible for Cyprus’s representation as an observer to the Conference on Disarmament (CD), which is the single multilateral disarmament negotiating forum internationally. Cyprus has submitted an application for membership to the Conference as far back as September 1996, however the question of enlargement has been put on hold as the CD has experienced a situation of continued deadlock since 1998, due to the inability of its members to agree on a programme of work. Cyprus is a member of the Informal Group of Observer States (IGOS), along with 38 other States, advocating jointly in favour of the expansion of membership of the CD.
The Permanent Mission is also responsible for actively following developments and meetings taking place in Geneva, relating to a number of international instruments (Conventions and Treaties) directly relevant to disarmament and arms control, such as:
· The Biological Weapons Convention (BWC)
· The Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW)
· The Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention (APMBC, known also as the ‘Ottawa Convention’)
· The Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM)
· The Arms Trade Treaty (ATT)
Special reference deserves to be made, in this context, to the committed efforts by the authorities of the Republic of Cyprus to rid the island of all anti-personnel land mines, in accordance to the relevant obligations emanating from the Anti-Personnel Land Mine Ban Convention, in spite of the continued military occupation by Turkey (since the invasion of 1974) of the northern part of the Cyprus and the forceful division of the island.
It is worth noting that, the Republic of Cyprus has fully complied with its obligations under Article 5.1 of the Ottawa Convention, by destroying all anti-personnel mines in the areas under its effective control, including within the buffer zone patrolled by the United Nations Force in Cyprus. The extension of the deadline for destroying or ensuring the destruction of anti-personnel mines in the entire sovereign territory of Cyprus for a further 3 years, until July 2019, was deemed necessary due to the fact that part of this territory remains under Turkish military occupation, where mined areas containing anti-personnel mines are known to exist and which are not accessible to the authorities of the Republic. Once Turkey ceases the military occupation of Cyprus and returns control of the occupied areas under proper conditions to the authorities of the Republic, they will be able to assume full responsibility and compliance with the provisions of Article 5 for the entire sovereign territory of the Republic of Cyprus.