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Nicosia scrambling to have ‘negative references’ removed from Unficyp mandate resolution

Unficyp soldiers manning the Green Line in Nicosia

Nicosia was making contacts in New York to change negative references on the UN Security Council’s resolution on the renewal of the Unficyp, which provides for more cooperation between the two sides on problem-solving to avoiding unnecessary tensions.

According to the Cyprus News Agency’s correspondent in New York, Apostolos Zoupaniotis, the Security Council’s resolution will include a call for the creation of mechanisms aimed at more systematic exchange of information between the two sides, and problem-solving in order to avoid tensions and negative incidents, as per the suggestion by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in his latest report.

This provision is a “thorny issue”, according to Zoupaniotis.

The Cypriot government has already developed its views on this issue through continuous contacts between its permanent representative to the UN, Andreas Mavroyiannis and the members of the Security Council.

Guterres, in his latest report, highlighted the two sides’ positions on military mechanisms and stated that while the Turkish Cypriot side expressed its willingness to examine strengthened or new mechanisms, the Greek Cypriot side was reluctant as regards any new arrangements which it considered might give more recognition to the north, arguing instead that these issues needed to be addressed through the existing technical committees.

As regards the Unficyp mandate, the US has persistently raised the urgency to resume negotiations, suggesting that some deadlines ought to be in place in the case of a new procedure, according to CNA.

Washington also reiterated its position that peacekeeping operations must not be a substitute for the political process.

Citing a diplomatic source, CNA reported that the resolution – which is shorter and more specific than the previous one – aims to strengthen the mandate of the UNSG and his envoy Jane Holl Lute’s efforts to reach agreement on the terms of reference to resume talks. It also calls on Guterres to submit a new report on his Good Offices by November 15.

The UN Special Representative and Unficyp Chief of Mission Elizabeth Spehar who briefed the Security Council last Friday on the recent developments and activities of both Unficyp and the UN’s Good Offices in Cyprus, supported the expansion of the law enforcement and illegal migration mechanisms. However, according to the diplomatic source, there is no clarity in the positions of the Secretariat, CNA reported.

During the briefing, several references were made to the tension in the Eastern Mediterranean while several members expressed support for the sovereign rights of the Republic of Cyprus, and some Europeans referred to the decisions of the EU ministers on measures against Turkey.

The Russian attitude was also positive, CNA reported.  The resolution is expected to be adopted on July 24.


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