Security Council renews mandate of peacekeeping mission in Cyprus

January 29, 2016 7:30 am 

UNITED NATIONS, Jan. 29 — The UN Security Council on Thursday extended the mandate of the UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) for an additional six months until July 31, 2016, while increasing its force levels by 28 troops to 888 to facilitate ongoing confidence-building measures on the island.

The resolution welcomed the good progress of negotiations by the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot leaders, and urged both sides to continue to engage in consultations with UNFICYP on the demarcation of the buffer zone, "with a view to reaching early agreement on outstanding issues."

Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when the Turkish military intervened and controlled the north of the island after a coup by a group of Greek officers. For several decades, the United Nations has continuously worked to persuade the two communities to find a solution to the issue.

The leaders of the divided Greek and Turkish communities in Cyprus have resumed peace talks in May last year. Negotiators are striving to spell out the details of criteria to be applied in deciding whether owners will recover their properties, now occupied by Turkish Cypriots or Turkey settlers, or be compensated or receive other property.

UNFICYP was originally set up by the Security Council in 1964 to prevent further fighting between the two communities. After the hostilities of 1974, the Security Council has mandated the force to perform certain additional functions.

In the absence of a political settlement to the Cyprus problem, UNFICYP has remained on the island to supervise ceasefire lines, maintain a buffer zone, undertake humanitarian activities and support the good offices efforts of the UN secretary-general. (PNA/Xinhua)

JBP/EBP

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