Members of the UN Security Council expressed support for the role of UNFICYP and the renewal of its mandate for a further six months during Tuesday’s deliberations at the Security Council, which was briefed by the SG’s Special Representative in Cyprus Elizabeth Spehar.

Diplomatic sources have said that the members expressed satisfaction for the imminent mission to Cyprus and other interested parties by Jane Hall Lute and hoped that the discussions which will take place will set the course again for negotiations.  Lute, according to the same sources, is expected to return to New York immediately after she completes her contacts in Cyprus and once she briefs the SG she will visit the capitals of the three guarantor powers (UK, Greece and Turkey) around the end of the month.

The members of the Security Council have also asked to be briefed on Lute’s contacts in Cyprus but secretariat officials are not yet in a position to set a date or the manner in which the briefing will take place.

As far as the US stance is concerned on UN peacekeeping missions, United States Deputy Representative to the United Nations, Jonathan Cohen said he was satisfied with Lute’s mission and repeated the US position that the presence of peacekeeping forces should be associated with progress in the political procedure and the absence of such progress should call for re-evaluation of the mission.

Poland maintained the same position, the same sources added.

The United Nations Peace Keeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP), comprising military and civilian personnel from various contributing countries, arrived in Cyprus in March 1964 after intercommunal fighting broke out. The mandate of the force is renewed every six months by the Security Council.

The Republic of Cyprus has been divided since the 1974 Turkish invasion. The latest round of peace talks, in July last year, ended inconclusively.

Apostolis Zoupaniotis

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