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Cyprus; United Nations: Extension of Peacekeeping Force Until July 2012

(Dec. 20, 2011) On December 14, 2011, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) adopted resolution 2026, which extends the mandate of the U.N. Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) until July 2012. (Press Release SC/10486, United Nations Security Council, Security Council Extends Mandate of Cyprus Peacekeeping Force Until 19 July 2012, Unanimously Adopting Resolution 2026 (2011) (Dec. 14, 2011), United Nations website.)

In its resolution, the UNSC stated that it concurs with Cyprus's government that due to the existing conditions in Cyprus, the presence of UNFICYP should be extended for an additional six-month period, until July 2012. UNFICYP was first established in Cyprus in 1964, following a period of conflict between the two communities, the Greek Cypriots and the Turkish Cypriots. Since the 1974 invasion and occupation of 37% of Cyprus by Turkish forces, the UNFICYP has been responsible for ensuring the cease fire between Greek and Turkish Cypriots, and for maintaining a buffer zone. The UNSC encouraged the movement of people through the existing seven crossing points across the “Green Line” that divides Cyprus and urged the opening of additional crossings, in an effort to build up trust and confidence between the two communities. (Id.)

The UNSC reiterated its opinion that the Cypriot citizens are primarily the key players in finding a comprehensive and viable solution to the Cyprus conflict. Since 1974, the U.N. has played a vital role in facilitating the negotiations between the leaders of the two communities under the good offices of the Secretary-General. (Id.)

The UNSC expressed optimism about the current state of negotiations between the leaders of the two communities and urged them to step up their efforts to reach an agreement on the pending core issues during the upcoming summit in New York, in January 2012. This meeting will be under the leadership of the Secretary-General of the U.N., Ban Ki-moon. The UNSC also requested that the Secretary-General draft a report as a follow-up to the negotiations. (Id.)