In its sixty-year history, UNFICYP has played an invaluable role and its presence is required, until a lasting settlement is reached, ending foreign occupation and reuniting the island and its people, Minister of Foreign Affairs Constantinos Kombos said Monday, on the occasion of the 60th Anniversary of the establishment of UNFICYP on the island.

An event was organized to pay tribute to those who have lost their lives while serving in Cyprus and through them, to the troop contributing countries. 

Kombos said that 60 years ago, the UN Security Council adopted Resolution 186, which authorized the establishment of the Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus. He recalled that UNFICYP was tasked with a mandate to preserve “international peace and security, to use its best efforts to prevent a recurrence of fighting and, as necessary, to contribute to the maintenance and restoration of law and order, and a return to normal conditions.” 

”That mandate has been carried out with commitment and at high cost”, he underlined.

The event was organized at Koshi village in the outskirts of Nicosia, at a monument founded to commemorate the sacrifice of three Austrian peacekeepers, First Lieutenant Johann Izay, Master Sergeant Paul Decombe and Corporal August Isaak, who lost their lives on August 14, 1974 when their white jeep, carrying the UN flag was hit in an air attack, during the second phase of the Turkish invasion.

As Minister of Foreign Affairs noted, many UNFICYP soldiers were killed during that time, when their positions came under fire and in defence of what is now UNFICYP Headquarters in Nicosia Airport.

“The Government and the people of the Republic of Cyprus are deeply indebted to the people that lost their lives during their service in Cyprus, and equally to their families and their countries. We are grateful to the United Nations for 60 years of service in the name of peace in Cyprus, to the 43 troop and police contributing countries, and the 150,000 men and women in uniform that have served with UNFICYP over the years”, he said.

Moreover, in a brief statement Kombos said that the peacekeeping force should be left free to complete its mission according to the terms of its mandate, adding that “we await, anticipate and work for the day when its presence here will no longer be necessary.”

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. 

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