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US hikes its UN contributions for 2022, more money for Unficyp

Unficyp soldiers in the buffer zone (CNA)

The US State Department has proposed raising its contribution to UN peacekeeping by some $472 million for 2022, which will include an additional $5.8m for Unficyp, reports said on Saturday.

According to CNA, the budget was submitted to Congress on Friday and provides a total of $1.9 billion to fund peacekeeping operations, as well as $300 million in arrears over the past four years.

Unficyp’s share, which currently stands at around $15.7m will receive $5.8m more than in 2021). In 2020, $8.7m was allocated.

The relevant explanatory test on Unficyp states that the force “will continue to maintain the necessary stability for the resumption of the UN-facilitated talks in Cyprus approved by the Security Council within the framework of a bi-zonal bi-communal federation “.

“The mission serves US national security priorities, maintaining peace in the Eastern Mediterranean and reducing the likelihood of a wider regional conflict involving Nato allies Greece and Turkey,” it added.

The 2022 budget also includes $500,000 for the training of Cypriot soldiers through the US International Military Training Programme (IMET). The corresponding amount for Greece is $1m.

According to Unficyp, which has been in Cyprus since 1964, the force’s total budget to June 30, 2019 amounted to $55.1m.

Originally, Unficyp, was supported entirely by voluntary contributions. This resulted in a shortfall, which prompted the UN General Assembly in 1993 to decree that from then on, the costs not covered by voluntary contributions should be borne by member states in accordance with Article 17 of the UN Charter.

Today, one-third of Unficyp’s budget is financed by the government of Cyprus, while Greece contributes $6.5m annually. The rest is financed from contributions assessed on the entire membership of the United Nations, as decreed in 1993.

Meanwhile, the UN Secretary-General’s special envoy Jane Holl Lute was in Athens on Friday to discuss the next steps on the Cyprus issue, following the Geneva five-party summit in April, which failed to find common ground to move the process forward. Lute was also due to visit Ankara and then on to Cyprus after Sunday’s parliamentary elections. 

The  Secretary-General is expected to submit two reports on Cyprus in the beginning of July, on Unficyp and on his Good Offices Mission. He plans another Cyprus summit in the near future. 

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