The Government believes that in view of the prevailing conditions in Cyprus that remain unchanged since the 1974, Turkish invasion, it is crucial to retain the presence of UNFICYP, in its current mandate and configuration, until a settlement has been reached, Michael Mavros, Second Counsellor at the Delegation of the Republic of Cyprus to the United Nations has said.

He also expressed his satisfaction for the decision of the Secretary General to instruct Jane Holl Lute, his special envoy, to continue discussions and the unanimous support of the Security Council to the efforts under way.

“Our side will continue to engage constructively in the efforts to revive the negotiating process and reach a lasting solution of the Cyprus issue”, Mavros said, addressing a meeting Thursday, where a Comprehensive Review was  made of the whole question of peacekeeping operations in all their aspects.

Mavros said that Cyprus unequivocally supports the review of peacekeeping operations in order to enable them to become more effective and efficient in responding to contemporary challenges and able to fulfill their mandate as prescribed by the Security Council.

He pointed out that Cyprus has expressed its support to the `Declaration of Shared Commitments` and to the Secretary General’s vision for reforming the peace and security pillar with the aim of improving the United Nations peacekeeping operations’ ability to deliver on their mandates with a stronger focus on performance.

“As a host country of a peacekeeping operation since 1964, we are deeply indebted to the United Nations, to all the United Nations member states for their invaluable contributions, their active involvement and their steadfast support. UNFICYP is a successful model of a UN operation, with exemplary performance in exercising its preventive and deterrent tasks, preventing a recurrence of fighting, contributing to the maintenance of law and order and a return to normalcy, preserving stability, de-escalating tension, promoting and facilitating bicommunal activities, undertaking humanitarian activities and, most importantly, underpinning an atmosphere that is conducive to the political peacemaking process”, he said.

Mavros added also that UNIFICYP has been a pioneer in implementing new policies, including on strengthening women’s participation in peacekeeping, having appointed in 2014 the first woman to serve as Force Commander in a United Nations peacekeeping operation.

“While we understand that the size of the peacekeeping budget forces us to review peacekeeping operations, rationalize costs, develop a performance culture, and ensure that all funds and resources are spent prudently, it is important to underline that the particularities of each conflict and each peacekeeping operation should always be taken into account. The performance of the peacekeeping operations cannot be jeopardized by undue weakening or early withdrawal, where the situation on the ground does not warrant such a course of action”, he said.

Mavros also underlined that UNFICYP is already a “lean” peacekeeping operation whose limited strength poses challenges in the execution of its functions and has undergone repeated reviews, the recommendations of which have fully implemented.

“I would like, therefore, to reiterate that, in view of the prevailing conditions in Cyprus that remain unchanged since 1974, it is crucial to retain the presence of UNFICYP, in its current mandate and configuration, until a settlement has been reached”, he said.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. Repeated rounds of UN-led peace talks have so far failed to yield results. The latest round of negotiations, in July 2017 at the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana ended inconclusively.

The United Nations Peace Keeping Force in Cyprus (UNICYP) 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.

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