By Staff Reporter
Next month, 125 Swedish UN-veterans are returning to Cyprus, 40 years after they witnessed the invasion of the island in the summer of 1974.
It will be the largest reunion ever of Swedish peacekeeping forces outside of Sweden.
Sweden was one of the first troop-contributing countries to UNFICYP. Between 1964 and 1993, a total of 27,981 Swedish military and police officers served in Cyprus.
The Swedish Contingent that took over responsibility for Famagusta district in April 1974 – many of whom are now returning 40 years later – had a strength of 240 military personnel and police officers.
One of many new duties of the Swedish peacekeepers in the wake of the in the aftermath of the invasion was to feed and take care of animals at farms, left behind by their fleeing Greek Cypriot owners.
They also set up and manned new observation posts in Famagusta district and acted as mediators between the opposing forces. The Swedish UN Contingent was also charged with the task of evacuating all Scandinavian tourists from the island. There were over 800 here at the time.
The programme for the reunion visit includes visits to the former Swedish UN headquarters – Carl Gustav Camp – in Famagusta, UNFICYP Headquarters in Nicosia and several other places, both in the government controlled part of the island and in the north.
UNFICYP recently marked 50 years on the island.
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