In three separate meetings this morning, the Security Council wrapped up its scheduled work for July with the unanimous extension of United Nations peacekeeping operations in Côte d’Ivoire and Darfur, – and a vote to continue the UN mission in Cyprus.
The Council unanimously decided to extend the mandate of the UN Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI) until 30 June 2014 to continue work on its core priorities of protecting civilians, disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of former combatants, and security sector reform.
Members also agreed that the Mission should be reconfigured by 30 June 2014 to consist of 7,137 military personnel from the current limit of 10,400, as recommended in Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s latest report presented earlier this month by Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Hervé Ladsous.
The Council noted a possible further reduction down to 5,437 military personnel by June 2015, depending on the security on the ground and the improved capacity of the Government to take over UNOCI’s security role.
The Council also decided that UNOCI should reconfigure its military presence to concentrate resources in high-risk areas to more effectively assist the Government in protecting civilians and stability the security situation in the country.
Turning to Cyprus, the Council extended until 31 January 2014 the mandate of the UN Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) by a vote of 13 to 0, with two members, Azerbaijan and Pakistan, abstaining.
One of the longest-running UN peacekeeping missions, UNFICYP has been deployed on the island since 1964, when inter-communal fighting erupted between the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities.
The Council today reiterated its call on the leadership of those two communities to accelerate the pace of talks aimed at reunifying the divided Mediterranean island nation.
Also today, the Security Council unanimously extended the mandate of the UN-African Union Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) for a further 13 months, until 31 August 2014.
Briefing the Council last week on security in Darfur, Joint Special Representative Mohamed Ibn Chambas said the situation remains “volatile” amid fighting between Sudanese Government forces and rebels, a recent spate of attacks against peacekeepers and an upsurge in inter-ethnic violence.
Since the beginning of this year, the renewed violence in Darfur has prompted more than 250,000 people to flee their villages and abandon their livelihoods, and the inter-tribal clashes have strained the ability of humanitarian organization to reach vulnerable families.
The clashes have also led to four attacks against UNAMID peacekeepers over the past four months. The most recent incident occurred on 13 July, when seven Tanzanian peacekeepers were killed and 17 other members of the Mission were injured in a roadside ambush.
In this context, the Council requested that Mr. Ban, in close consultation with the African Union, presents options and recommendations on improving UNAMID’s effectiveness to the Security Council by the end of next February.