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UNFICYP’s Mission in Cyprus Considered Important by the Security Council

NICOSIA. During yesterday’s regular press briefing at UN headquarters in New York the UN Secretary-General’s Spokesperson, Mr. Stephane Dujarric, was asked to comment on the reports made by SRSG Elizabeth Spehar regarding the UNFICYP.

Mr Dujarric turned down those reports, saying that ‘the Special Representative was misquoted’ and highlighted the importance of the mission and the mandate given by the Security Council.

Replying to another question related to the function of the mission at this time in terms of peace, the UN Spokesperson noted that the mission is there as a monitor liaison for the two communities and that it is not a matter of keeping peace but is to be available for the Cypriot parties to reach a political agreement.

Asked to comment on how the mission of Cyprus is different from other situations, Mr. Dujarric pointed out that the mission in Cyprus is relatively small compare to others and that the UN and the Security Council consider this mission important.

The full text reads as follows:

Question: I wanted to know, there… there are reports… and I just wanted to… to get you to either shoot them down or not… of some discussions by the SRSG [Special Representative of the Secretary-General] Elizabeth Spehar, of the possible pull-out or…

Answer: I will have to shut it down. The UN is not leaving Cyprus. The UN Peacekeeping mission has a mandate, given by the UNSC. That mandate remains, the UN will remain, supporting the Cyprus, the people of Cyprus and I think from what I understand, the Special Representative was misquoted.

Question: Sure, I guess my… bigger picture, if Antonio Guterres one of the things he said, one, peacekeeping shouldn’t be in place where there is no peace to keep, or presumably, like, if there is now no peace process, if in fact the UN said well, the parties don’t seem to want to talk, and so we are not going to force them to talk, what exactly is the function of the mission at this time in terms of peace?

Answer: The mission is there to continue to monitor the line between the two communities. It is not a matter of no peace to keep. No one would ever say that Cyprus is in a state of war or conflict. There is peace. What we are looking for and what we will continue to be available to Cypriot parties is to help reach that political agreement. In the meantime, the UN mission they is staying on the ground.

Question: But if in fact there is peace, and there hasn’t been a shot fired and inaudible in some time, how is this differ than for the situation for example in Haiti or Liberia or other places?

Answer: Well I think there, the clearly remains, I think in the eyes of the UN and in the eyes of the Security Council the need for a peacekeeping mission, albeit a small one relative to the peacekeeping missions that we have in the four corners of the earth, but the need remains.

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