Cyprus Mail

President praises Unficyp’s 60-year role in peace building (Updated)

Υπουργός Εξωτερικών – Τελετή προς

The significant role of the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (Unficyp) in efforts to “restore peace, stability, and international legality in Cyprus,” was hailed on Monday by President Nikos Christodoulides.

Commenting on the significance of Resolution 186, approved in 1964, and which on Monday marked the 60th anniversary since the establishment of the force, Christodoulides stressed its goal of maintaining international peace and security.

“Sixty years later, on this significant milestone, I pay tribute to the 187 peacekeepers who lost their lives while performing their duty,” he said extending his gratitude to the approximately 150,000 peacekeepers who have served in Cyprus over the years, the UN member states contributing personnel and the countries supporting Unficyp financially, notably Greece.

The president also added that the force “has recently faced challenges from occupying forces”.

“Resolution 186 is significant not only because it established the peacekeeping force, but also because it clarifies that the consent of the sovereign and internationally recognised state of the Republic of Cyprus was necessary under international law.

Turkey’s actions on the island aimed to challenge this,” he said.

Within this framework, Christodoulides highlighted the responsibility of the republic, as stated in the UN resolution, to maintain and restore law and order.

Since 1964 and particularly after the Turkish invasion of 1974, the peacekeeping force has been a significant part of the effort to restore peace, he said.

He also underscored that the role of Unficyp is equally crucial in addressing the numerous humanitarian and other issues arising from the Turkish invasion.

Later, Foreign Minister Constantinos Kombos said Unficyp “must be left free to complete its mission in accordance with the terms of its mandate”.

“We wait in hope and expectance for the day when its presence here will no longer be necessary,” he added.

He went on to pay tribute to the 150,000 peacekeepers who have served in Cyprus since 1964, and honour those who died while serving.

“Unficyp’s mission is particularly difficult and it has contributed in a substantial and multifarious way to the maintenance of peace,” he said.

The UN’s Under-Secretary-General for Peace Operations Jean-Pierre Lacroix also called on all parties involved in the Cyprus problem to double their efforts for a solution.

He also added that, in the absence of an official ceasefire agreement, “the Unficyp has successfully de-escalated tensions in the buffer zone”.

“Over the past 60 years, more than 150,000 personnel from 43 countries have served for peace in Cyprus,” Lacroix wrote in a post on X.

“Each of these men and women serving under the blue flag has made an indispensable contribution to maintaining stability on the island.

“I also pay tribute to the 187 blue helmets and personnel who lost their lives while serving under the United Nations flag in Cyprus,” he said, adding that “this 60-year milestone for Unficyp is a poignant reminder of how long the people of Cyprus have been awaiting a solution.”

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