Security Council extends mandate of UN peacekeeping force in Cyprus

UNFICYP on patrol

13 June 2011 – The Security Council today extended the mandate of the United Nations peacekeeping force in Cyprus for another six months and urged the leadership of the Greek Cypriot and the Turkish Cypriot communities to accelerate the pace of talks aimed at reunification.

Expressing full support for the UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP), the Council voted to extend its mandate until 15 December this year. The UN has maintained the peacekeeping force on the island since 1964. The force’s current strength is nearly 1,000 uniformed personnel and 150 international and national civilian staff.

In a resolution adopted unanimously, the Council urged the Greek Cypriot and the Turkish Cypriot leaders to “intensify the momentum of negotiations, engage in the process in a constructive and open manner, and work on reaching convergences on the remaining core issues in preparation for their meeting with the Secretary-General in July 2011.”

It also called on them to “improve the public atmosphere in which the negotiations are proceeding, including by focusing public messages on convergences and the way ahead, and delivering more constructive and harmonised messages.” The Council also called for increasing the participation of civil society in the negotiations process where appropriate.

The Council echoed the Secretary-General’s view that a solution is well within reach, saying it looked forward to decisive progress in the near future.

The 15-member panel said it was convinced of the many important benefits for all Cypriots accrue from a comprehensive and durable settlement and urged the two sides and their leaders to “foster positive public rhetoric.” It encouraged them to explain the benefits of a settlement, as well as the need for increased flexibility and compromise in order to reach an agreement.

The resolution noted with regret that both sides had withheld access to the remaining minefields in the buffer zone, causing demining work to stop. It called for rapid agreement on facilitating the resumption of demining operations and clearance of the remaining minefields.

The UN has been facilitating talks between the leadership of the two communities with a view to the establishment of a Federal Government with a single international personality, consisting of a Turkish Cypriot Constituent State and a Greek Cypriot Constituent State, each of equal status.

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