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Unficyp will be more effective after review, UN official says

File photo: UNSG’s Special Representative in Cyprus Elizabeth Spehar with Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Jean-Pierre Lacroix (Christos Theodorides)

As a result of the strategic review of the UN peacekeeping force in Cyprus, the organisation is convinced that Unficyp will be fully equipped and resourced to implement its mandate and will be in a better position to do it, UN Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Jean-Pierre Lacroix said on Friday.

“We are proceeding to certain adjustments which will, I think, enable the mission to be even more effective in its prevention role,” Lacroix said after a meeting with President Nicos Anastasiades in Nicosia.

The UN official said they talked about the important role that Unficyp is playing according to its mandate in helping to diffuse tension, in helping stability, and also in preventing tension “and helping in liaison work with the other side.”

Asked if there is a scenario of downsizing the UN personnel in Cyprus, Lacroix said the Security Council had requested a strategic review of Unficyp, noting that “we have been conducting strategic reviews on most of our peacekeeping operations and this something that we continue.”

“All peacekeeping operations need to evolve. We need to make sure that they are as best equipped as possible in their resources, in their mandate, in their finance, to fully comply with their mandate. So, we did that strategic review with Unficyp and we are currently implementing it,” he said.

He added that “as a result of the review we are convinced that Unficyp will be fully equipped and resourced to implement its mandate and will be in a better position to do it because we are proceeding to certain adjustments which will, I think, enable the mission to be even more effective in its prevention role.”

The review will see a slight reduction in Unficyp staff and cuts in operating expenses, which will lead to the reduction of the force`s overall overheads.

Unficyp is one of the longest-running UN Peacekeeping missions. It was set up in 1964 to prevent further fighting between the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities on the island and bring about a return to normal conditions.

The Mission’s responsibilities expanded in 1974, after the Turkish invasion.

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