UNFICYP draft under ‘silence procedure’

UNFICYP draft under ‘silence procedure’

A resolution renewing the mandate of the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus for an additional six months is under the “silence procedure” and it is expected to be adopted on Thursday if no member breaks the silence.

Following a period of consultations, it appeared earlier this week that there was wide support among Council members to extend the mandate of the mission in its current configuration, but talks also focused on some contentious issues.

Nicosia was concerned over several paragraphs in an early draft that would have called on Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots to intensify efforts for direct cooperation between the two sides, a situation the Republic of Cyprus in the south wants to avoid as the administration in the north is not officially recognized by any country except Turkey.

Diplomatic sources in New York reportedly pointed out the latest draft had changed in Nicosia’s favour, as it drew heavily from the latest mandate renewal resolution in July 2018.

But the draft also contains new elements raised by some Council members.

Russia broke silence Tuesday over language on peacekeeping performance, while daily Phileleftheros reported China had raised concerns over technicalities.

In previous UNFICYP renewals, the United States have been taking the initiative to emphasize the need for peacekeeping missions to support political processes, calling on the Council to reexamine mandates of missions where progress on the political track was absent.

Some UNSC members have called on the need of a more clear comprehensive review of UNFICYP, while others questioned the timing of the issue, citing UN special envoy Jane Lute’s efforts on the divided island.

It is expected that the final text will include a request to UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres to explain “how all UN activities in Cyprus can be best configured to advance political progress while preserving stability,” according to reports.

UNFICYP, comprising military and civilian personnel from various contributing countries, arrived in Cyprus in March 1964 following intercommunal fighting. The mandate is expected to be renewed ahead of its expiry on January 31.

[Kathimerini Cyprus]

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