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UN Security Council expected to renew Unficyp mandate

Unficyp soldiers in the buffer zone (CNA)

The UN Security Council is expected to unanimously adopt a resolution renewing Unficyp’s mandate for another six months, until July 31, during a procedure expected to end on Friday afternoon New York time.

In the resolution, the Security Council will express support for the UN Secretary General’s efforts and emphasise that responsibility for resolving the island’s division “lies first and foremost with the Cypriots themselves.”

The Security Council also welcomes the UNSG’s intention to convene an informal “five plus UN meeting” with the leaders of the two communities and the guarantor powers at the earliest opportunity.

It also urges “the sides to renew their efforts to achieve an enduring, comprehensive and just settlement based on a bicommunal, bizonal federation with political equality, as set out in relevant Security Council resolutions.”

The resolution stresses that the status quo is unsustainable, and that the lack of an agreement furthers political tensions and deepens the estrangement of both communities, risking irreversible changes on the ground, and reducing the prospects of a settlement and expresses “deep concern at the ongoing tensions in the eastern Mediterranean over hydrocarbons exploration.”

It also calls for a reversal of the Turkish side’s actions in Varosha and reaffirms the town’s status as set in previous resolutions.

“No actions should be carried out in relation to Varosha that are not in accordance with those resolutions,” the resolution says, “stressing the need to avoid any unilateral actions that could trigger tensions on the island and undermine the prospects for a peaceful settlement.”

It also notes the two sides’ largely uncoordinated responses to the Covid-19 pandemic and expresses concern that the closure of the crossing points along the Green line has limited opportunities for bi-communal engagement and trust-building activities, and that the continued and prolonged closure of some crossing points threatens to set back the progress made in this area since 2003.

The resolution urges the sides to step up their efforts to promote intercommunal contacts, reconciliation, and the active engagement of civil society, in particular women and youth

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