Nicosia scrambles to keep Cyprus problem on UN agenda

Nicosia scrambles to keep Cyprus problem on UN agenda

Greek Cypriots want UN reports on the Cyprus problem to continue ever six months, but sources say the Security Council is leaning towards an annual extension at least for the peacekeeping force mandate following “no meaningful progress” on the issue.

According to the Cyprus News Agency, a UNSC resolution on the renewal of the UNFICYP mandate is expected to be approved on January 30, as it has been done every six months for half a century, but this time the period will be for 12 months.

CNA cited a source that said the United Kingdom, one of Cyprus’ three guarantor powers and the penholder on the issue, had suggested the idea of extending UNFICYP for 12 instead of six months.

Nicosia reportedly supports the change provided that the UN Secretary General’s reports on Cyprus “will continue to come out normally every six months, so that the Cyprus issue can be discussed,” the source was quoted as saying.

Last year Turkish Cypriots in the northern part of the divided island submitted their own proposal to the United Nations, calling for a formal Status of Forces Agreement with UNFICYP. The move was condemned by Greek Cypriots in the south who argued the north was not an entity that was recognized to sign formal agreements.

UNFICYP presence in Cyprus was established based on an agreement between the United Nations and the Greek Cypriots in the Republic of Cyprus in March 1964, just months after the bicommunal state collapsed following ethnic tensions.

Turkish Cypriots recently warned that UNFICYP could be kicked out of the northern part of the island unless a military agreement was signed with them as well.

UN officials say there has been “no meaningful progress on the political front” and “no direct formal engagement between the Cypriot leaders” towards peace talks over the past six months.

Greek Cypriots have renewed a commitment to a chancy federal solution based on political equality, while the Turkish Cypriots call for a two-state settlement based on sovereign equality and accuse the south of not being sincere.

It is not yet clear what kind of language the Security Council will adopt regarding in the final vote regarding specific details on the solution formula for a path to peace. [Kathimerini Cyprus]


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