UN Security Council Extends Cyprus Peacekeeping Mission, Urges De-escalation

February 1, 2024

The Security Council urged all parties in Cyprus to respect the authority of the UN mission (UNFICYP) and the delineation of the buffer zone, halting unilateral violations.
Military parade held during the Official Ceremony of July 20 Peace and Freedom Day in Nicosia, Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus on July 20, 2023. Photo by Anadolu Images.


he United Nations Security Council unanimously voted on January 30, 2023, to extend the UN peacekeeping mission in Cyprus for another year. The resolution calls on all parties involved, including the rival Green Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, to take measures to de-escalate tensions in and around the buffer zone that divides the Mediterranean island.

The Security Council strongly encouraged all parties to seize the opportunity presented by UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ appointment of a new personal envoy for Cyprus. María Ángela Holguín Cuellar, a former Colombian foreign minister, is the new personal envoy tasked with assessing the conditions for a resumption of peace talks.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974 into a breakaway Turkish Cypriot north and an Greek Cypriot south, following a Turkish intervention triggered by a coup aimed at union with Greece. Numerous rounds of UN-mediated talks have failed, with the most recent attempt in July 2017 concluding in acrimony.

Back to the negotiating table

María Ángela Holguín Cuellar, on her first visit to Cyprus, expressed her belief in working with both Greek Cypriots in the south and Turkish Cypriots in the north to bring them back to the negotiating table after years of deadlock.

The Security Council resolution emphasizes that the current status quo is unsustainable and that the lack of an agreement heightens political tensions and deepens the estrangement of both communities. It stresses the risk of irreversible changes on the ground and a reduction in the prospects of a settlement.

The resolution calls on the leaders of the two Cypriot communities to improve the public atmosphere for negotiations, explicitly encourage contact and cooperation between the communities, support grassroots initiatives, and refrain from actions and rhetoric hindering a settlement.

Extension until 2025

It condemns continued violations of the military status quo along the cease-fire lines, encroachment into the buffer zone, and an increase in the number and severity of military violations and unauthorized construction. The Security Council urged all parties to respect the authority of the UN mission (UNFICYP) and the delineation of the buffer zone, halting unilateral violations.

Expressing concern over unauthorized or criminal activities in the buffer zone, the resolution highlighted the risks they pose to peacekeeper safety and security. The UNFICYP mission, consisting of 1,000 personnel, has been extended until January 31, 2025.

Source: Anadolu Agency.

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