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The function of UNFICYP was originally defined by Security Council resolution 186 (1964) PDF Document of 4 March 1964 in the following terms: “[...] in the interest of preserving international peace and security, to use its best efforts to prevent a recurrence of fighting [between the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities] and, as necessary, to contribute to the maintenance and restoration of law and order and a return to normal conditions”.  UNFICYP became operational on 27 March 1964.

Following the hostilities of 1974, the Security Council adopted a number of resolutions expanding the mandate of UNFICYP to include supervising a de facto ceasefire, which came into effect on 16 August 1974, and maintaining a buffer zone between the lines of the Cyprus National Guard and of the Turkish and Turkish Cypriot forces.

In the absence of a political settlement to the Cyprus problem, the mandate of UNFICYP has been periodically extended by the Security Council and the Force has continued its presence on the island to supervise ceasefire lines, maintain a buffer zone, undertake humanitarian activities and support the good offices mission of the Secretary-General.