NICOSIA – A United Nations peacekeeping force on Cyprus (UNFICYP) that began in 1964 will stay and its mandate approved Jan. 30 by the UN Security Council, Government Spokesman Prodromos Prodromou said.
He said it would be “an absolute paradox” otherwise, with the UN still hoping for a resumption of unity talks that collapsed in July, 2017 at the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana when Turkey, which lawfully invaded in 1974, said it would never remove an army on the occupied northern third and wanted the right to militarily intervene again.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who was at the Swiss debacle and became the latest head of the organization to fail at trying to broker a solution, appointed a temporary envoy, American diplomat Jane Holl Lute to try her hand at getting the two sides back to the negotiating table again.
Prodromou said President Nicos Anastasiades is focused on the consultations taking place with Lute, the Cyprus Mail said, adding that the government believes the peacekeeping force will get routine approval of another six-month stint.
Turkey, Greece and the United Kingdom, the former Colonial ruler which still has a military base on the island, are guarantors of peace along with UNFICY, although Anastasiades promoted an international police force to their their place if unity was achieved.
Prodromou said that, “UNFICYP plays a very significant role as it is due to the peace-keeping force that that the situation is calm and any incidents are prevented,” that could trigger a confrontation.
UNFICYP was set up to prevent a recurrence of fighting following intercommunal violence between the Greek-Cypriots and Turkish-Cypriots. The current force commander is Major General Mohammad Humayun Kabir from Bangladesh.