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Security Council extends Unficyp mandate

The United Nations Security Council on Thursday adopted a resolution extending the mandate of the peacekeeping force in Cyprus (Unficyp) by another six months up to January 31 of next year.

The Security Council unanimously adopted Resolution 2646 (2022), condemning the July 20, 2021 announcement by Turkish and Turkish Cypriot leaders on the further reopening of a part of the fenced-off area of Varosha, and “expresses deep regret regarding unilateral actions that run contrary to its previous resolutions and statements on Varosha and calls for the immediate reversal of this course of action and of all steps taken on Varosha since October 2020.”

Elsewhere, the Security Council welcomed “the continuing personal engagement of the Secretary-General and that of his team…reiterating its support for his proposal for a United Nations envoy to lead further engagement which could provide critical support in the search for common ground with the goal of returning to formal negotiations.”

The resolution noted “with regret the lack of progress made towards restarting formal negotiations at this time and stressing that the status quo is unsustainable, that the situation on the ground is not static, 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.”

It went on to express alarm at the continued violations of the military status quo along the ceasefire lines, “the reported encroachment by both sides into the Buffer Zone and the risks associated, the challenges to the mission’s delineation of the buffer zone and the increase in unauthorised construction…”

As with previous resolutions, the Security Council said it was concerned at “the continuing tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean, and underlines that disputes should be resolved peacefully in accordance with applicable international law…”

It reiterated the Secretary-General’s previous call “to avoid escalatory steps, and further calls upon the leaders of the two Cypriot communities and all involved parties to refrain from any actions and rhetoric that might damage the settlement process and that could raise tensions on the island.”

In a statement later, the foreign ministry of Cyprus expressed “satisfaction” with the Security Council’s adoption of the resolution, particularly the text’s references to the state of play in Varosha.

The ministry also cited as important the resolution’s opinion that the current status quo in Cyprus is not viable.

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