Today marks the fiftieth anniversary of the establishment of the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP). On 4 March 1964, the Security Council, by its resolution 186 (1964), mandated UNFICYP to contribute to a return to normal conditions following violence and bloodshed between the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities in Cyprus. Over the past fifty years, UNFICYP has played a crucial role in preventing a recurrence of fighting and contributing to the resolution of issues that affect the everyday lives of Cypriots across the island.
On this special occasion, I wish to express my gratitude to the 32 countries that have contributed either troops or police or both to the Mission and their peacekeepers, but also pay tribute to the 184 peacekeepers who lost their lives in support of peace in Cyprus.
I am confident that this fiftieth anniversary will provide much needed impetus to the ongoing negotiations for a comprehensive settlement of the long-lasting Cyprus problem. I trust that in the period ahead, both sides, with support from the United Nations, will strive for such a comprehensive settlement so that Cyprus may be united again.