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Our View: Unficyp mandate welcomed as renews status quo

Unficyp soldiers at the Ledra St checkpoint (Christos Theodorides)

Cyprus’ permanent representative to the UN Andreas Mavroyiannis told the CyBC on Tuesday that the deliberations for the renewal of the Unficyp mandate had begun. This is the only reason the Cyprus problem gets into the news and the only movement, if you could call it that, nowadays.

The renewal of the mandate is welcomed by the Cyprus government and the Greek Cypriot political parties because it ensures the continuation of the status quo for another six months. This has become an end in itself for our parties, reinforcing their complacency and allowing them to carry on serving us with their defiant rhetoric that leads nowhere.

If the mandate could be renewed for three years instead of every six months there is no doubt the government would campaign for it and would have the full support of the political parties. The reality is that they are all very comfortable and content with the status quo, and having Unficyp standing between us and the occupation army. Probably the majority of Greek Cypriots would also back such an arrangement because it has offered them security for 46 years.

We would be deluding ourselves if we actually believed we could carry on securing a renewal of the mandate indefinitely. Each time seems to become a little more difficult than the previous one and there have already been voices on the UN Security Council questioning the continued presence of Unficyp at a time when UN resources are stretched and the United States has been calling for a reduction in peace operation costs.

It is no coincidence that whenever the discussion of the renewal of the Unficyp mandate approaches our government seeks some movement in the peace process. Last September President Anastasiades was in New York asking the UNSG for a resumption of talks and Antonio Guterres called a meeting in Berlin with Mustafa Akinci that produced another document of platitudes, which was enough to secure another renewal in January.

Now it seems Mavroyiannis has made contact with Guterres who, he said, expressed his will to become involved in the Cyprus problem. Any developments, however, would be after October, said Mavroyiannis, as the elections in the north would have to be held first. The predicted developments after October could be an argument for the renewal of the mandate for another six months, but it is no indication that there would actually be any development.

After all, the only objective of the Cyprus government is to keep the peacekeeping force on the island for another six months.

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