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Security Council extends mandate of UN peacekeeping force in Cyprus

Security Council extends mandate of UN peacekeeping force in Cyprus

UNFICYP on patrol
The Security Council agreed today to extend the mandate of the United Nations peacekeeping mission in Cyprus (UNFICYP) by another six months and the top UN political official announced plans to visit the Mediterranean island next week as discussions continue on possible reunification.

Council members voted unanimously to keep UNFICYP, which has operated since 1964 after the eruption of violence between the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities, in place through 15 December this year.

They also welcomed the agreements between the leaders of the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities that have emerged during their tête-à-tête discussions this year, particularly their commitment “to a bicommunal, bizonal federation with political equality” and to such confidence-building measures as the re-opening of the Ledra Street crossing in Nicosia.

The resolution urges both sides “to build on the present momentum and continue their efforts to identify, to the greatest possible extent, areas of convergence and disagreement, while preparing options where feasible on the more sensitive elements, and to work to ensure that fully-fledged negotiations can begin expeditiously and smoothly.”

Meanwhile, a UN spokesperson told reporters that Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs B. Lynn Pascoe will visit Cyprus on Tuesday for consultations about the ongoing political process.

He is expected to hold talks with Greek Cypriot leader Demetrios Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat.