Nicosia on Wednesday welcomed the UN Security Council’s unanimous adoption of a resolution extending the peacekeeping (Unficyp) force in Cyprus, which also urged both sides to work towards returning to the negotiating table.

The UN Security Council called on both sides to constructively engage with UNSG’s personal envoy Maria Angela Holguin to find common ground with the goal of returning to formal negotiations for a lasting settlement in Cyprus.

Welcoming Holguin’s appointment, the council expressed its support for her mission. It extended Unficyp’s mandate for one more year until January 31, 2025.

The UNSG has been asked to submit two reports, by July 4, 2024, and January 3, 2025 respectively, on the implementation of the resolution.

Cyprus welcomed the inclusion in the resolution that the basis of a solution is a bizonal, bicommunal federation, the condemnation of the assault against UN personnel at Pyla and other violations in the buffer zone.

The council expressed full support to the secretary-general’s ongoing engagement with the sides and encouraged further rounds of informal talks.

It stressed all participants should “approach this process in the spirit of openness, flexibility and compromise and showing the necessary political will and commitment to freely negotiate a mutually acceptable settlement under United Nations auspices.”

‘Refrain from damaging rhetoric’

The UNSC urged the sides and all involved parties to respect Unficyp’s mandated authority in and delineation of the buffer zone and to refrain from unilateral actions.

It expressed “particular concern over the reported trend of repeated moves forward violations across the northern ceasefire line and challenges to the status quo of the buffer zone in certain areas”.

The UNSC also said it was concerned at the continuing tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean, and underlined 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 called on 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.

The council requested the secretary-general to submit two reports, by July 4, 2024 and January 3, 2025 respectively, on his Good Offices, in particular on progress towards reaching a consensus starting point for meaningful results-oriented negotiations leading to a settlement, and encouraged the leaders of the two communities to provide written updates every six months to the Good Offices Mission of the secretary-general on the actions they have taken in support of the relevant parts of the resolution since its adoption.

Deep regret over Varosha

Regarding Varosha, the UNSC recalled its status as set out in relevant resolutions, including resolutions 550 (1984) and 789 (1992), and its presidential statement which condemns 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.

Furthermore, it expressed deep regret regarding the continuation of unilateral actions that run contrary to its previous resolutions and statements on Varosha and called for the immediate reversal of this course of action and of all steps taken on Varosha since October 2020.

The Security Council also said that it deeply regretted the ongoing disregard of this call for immediate reversal, cautioned against any further actions in relation to Varosha that are not in accordance with its resolutions and emphasised that any further unilateral action may prompt a response from the Security Council.

It also stressed once again the need to avoid any unilateral actions that could raise tensions on the island and undermine the prospects for a peaceful settlement.


As regards Pyla, the UNSC recalled its press statement of August 21, 2023 which condemns the assaults against UN peacekeepers and damage to UN vehicles “by Turkish Cypriot personnel” on August 18, 2023, and expressed regret for the pause in all work that got underway in Pyla after the understanding that was achieved, urging all parties concerned to work constructively with Unficyp to implement the understanding as an important confidence building measure.

Moreover, the council condemned “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 reported increase in number and severity of military violations and unauthorised construction,” which, as it noted, “poses significant challenges to Unficyp’s operations and mandated authority”.