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Foreign minister meets UN peacekeeping head

Foreign Minister Nicos Christodoulides reaffirmed the government’s support to the UN peacekeeping force (Unficyp) to effectively carry out its mandate during a meeting on Friday morning with United Nations Assistant Secretary-General for peacekeeping operations Bintou Keita, who is in Cyprus for a three-day visit.

During their meeting the two officials discussed relations between Cyprus and Unficyp as well as the ongoing implementation of the force’s strategic review, as mandated by the Security Council.

“The foreign minister also reaffirmed the Republic of Cyprus’ appreciation for Unficyp and the government’s support to the force’s efforts to effectively carry out its mandate,” the foreign ministry said in an announcement.

Keita arrived in Cyprus on Wednesday. The purpose of her visit is to review Unficyp and the ongoing progress in the implementation of the recommendations of the Security Council-mandated strategic review of the mission.

The UN official was received by the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Elizabeth Spehar and Unficyp’s force commander Major General Mohammad Humayun Kabir.

During her visit she was to also meet Unficyp peacekeepers as well as stakeholders on both sides of the island, representatives of the diplomatic community and civil society.

A recent report by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres recommended scaling down military personnel in Unficyp to 802. Its current strength is 1,102 (including uniformed and civilian personnel) to cover the 180 km-long buffer zone and is seen as ‘just enough’ to fulfil its mandate.

Unficyp, set up in 1964, is one of the longest-running UN peacekeeping missions worldwide.

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