UN extends mandate of peacekeeping force in Cyprus for 6 months

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Photograph artwork copyright © Travel Gazette. www.travel-gazette.com

The UN Security Council on Tuesday renewed the mandate of the UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) for six months and endorsed implementation of recommendations contained in the Secretary-General’s strategic review of the mission.

Unanimously adopting resolution 2398 (2018), the Council extended UNFICYP’s mandate until July 31 and welcomed efforts by the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot leadership to reach a comprehensive and durable settlement.

Noting the outcome of the Conference on Cyprus, which reconvened in June 2017 in Crans-Montana, Switzerland, it urged the sides and all involved participants to renew their political will and commitment to a settlement under United Nations auspices.

Recalling its resolution 2369 (2017), the Council called upon leaders of the two sides to, among other things, put their efforts behind further work on reaching convergences on core issues, and to improve the atmosphere for negotiation, including through more constructive and harmonized messages and refraining from rhetoric that could make success harder to achieve.

Requesting the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to maintain transition planning in relation to a settlement, the Council welcomed his report on the Strategic Review of UNFICYP (document S/2017/1008) and endorsed implementation of its recommendations within existing resources.

The Council held consultations on Cyprus on Jan. 17 during which Special Representative and head of UNFICYP Elizabeth Spehar briefed on the latest Secretary-General’s report, as well as on the report on the strategic review of the mission.

During the consultations, Council members expressed unanimous support for the work of the UN mission and its good offices.

Spehar also told the members that UNFICYP is ready to implement any recommendations of the strategic review that are endorsed by the Council.
After independence in 1960, the tensions between Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots increased. UNFICYP was originally set up by the UN Security Council in 1964 to prevent further fighting between the two sides.

Turkish troops occupied the northern part of Cyprus in 1974 in reaction to a coup by the military rulers of Greece at the time.

Since then, the small Mediterranean island has been divided into two. The southern Greek Cypriot side is recognized by the international community and is a member of the European Union; only Turkey officially recognizes the break-away northern region.

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