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UN deny troop withdrawal talk

Unficyp soldiers in the buffer zone (CNA)

The United Nations have denied media reports claiming special representative (SRSG) in Cyprus Elizabeth Spehar has spoken about the possibility of withdrawing the UN peacekeeping force from the island.

The Office of the UN spokesperson in Cyprus said that “at their request, SRSG Spehar met with the bi-communal peace initiative – United Cyprus on August 2, 2017. The nature of the meeting and statements the SRSG made during the meeting have been misrepresented in some media,” it added.

It also noted that “at no point during the meeting did she allude to the withdrawal of UNFICYP troops from the island. She noted that the Security Council had recently renewed the mandate of UNFICYP for six months while asking the Secretary-General to conduct a strategic review of the mission.”

The UN Spokesperson’s Office also noted the fact that the bi-communal peace initiative – United Cyprus has since issued a press release clarifying the nature of the discussions with the SRSG and expressing regret for the misrepresentation.

The bi-communal peace initiative – United Cyprus press release said among others that “the bi-communal peace initiative – United Cyprus regrets the misrepresentation of the nature of the meeting and statements by SRSG Spehar that have been published in the media.”

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