The UN Security Council today unanimously renewed the mandate of the UN peacekeeping mission in Cyprus (UNFICYP) by resolution. UNFICYP has been stationed on the Mediterranean island for 60 years and makes an important contribution to stability on site and in Europe.
In 1964, the UN Security Council deployed the peacekeeping mission following the outbreak of violence between the Turkish Cypriot and Greek Cypriot communities. This makes it one of the oldest UN peacekeeping missions still in operation. Although a ceasefire was signed between the parties to the conflict, the country has remained divided since Turkish troops invaded the north of the island in 1974. In light of this, UNFICYP maintains a buffer zone between the troops of both parties.
By adopting the resolution, the UN Security Council also welcomes the appointment of Maria Angela Holguin Cuellar as the UN Secretary-General's personal envoy to Cyprus. This is an important step in the search for common ground with the aim of returning to formal negotiations and revitalising a possible negotiation process. Switzerland supports the envoy and the good offices of the UN Secretary-General.
In the Council, Switzerland voted in favour of renewing the UN peacekeeping mission and considers a political solution acceptable to both sides to be key. It supports a federalist solution based on two zones for both communities with equal political rights in accordance with Security Council resolutions. In order to achieve such a solution, trust and dialogue between the parties must be strengthened. For this reason, Switzerland is involved at bilateral level in the Committee for Missing Persons in Cyprus, which is made up of Greek-Cypriots and Turkish-Cypriots. Switzerland also continues offering itself as a host for talks. For example, the UN has maintained political dialogue at Bürgenstock (2004), Mont Pèlerin (2016) and Crans-Montana (2017).