Annan recommends 6-month extension of UN peacekeeping force in Cyprus

Annan recommends 6-month extension of UN peacekeeping force in Cyprus

While the situation along the ceasefire lines in Cyprus is calm, the United Nations peacekeeping force should remain on the island for a further six months, according to a new report by Secretary-General Kofi Annan

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In recommending that the UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) be extended through 15 December, the Secretary-General points out that the mission’s operations “continued to be impeded by the restrictions imposed on it by the Turkish Cypriot authorities and the Turkish forces. Similarly, no progress was achieved in restoring the status quo ante in Strovilla.”

On the civilian side, the Secretary-General says he was “encouraged that there were increased contacts between the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities.” According to the report, UNFICYP facilitated 39 events, involving an estimated 6,600 people, in the buffer zone between the two communities.

The largest event – a youth festival held in April which drew 4,300 people – was organized by two political parties, Akel from the south and CTP (Turkish Republican Party) from the north. “UNFICYP also arranged a meeting between a 10-year-old Greek Cypriot girl and her 30-year-old Turkish Cypriot bone marrow donor,” the Secretary-General writes, adding, “Turkish Cypriot authorities denied permission for Turkish Cypriots to attend some events.”

The Force comprised 1,195 troops and 35 civilian police as of May. The Security Council is expected to meet on UNFICYP before its current mandate expires on 15 June.