Listen to article

15 June - The Security Council today extended by six months the mandate of the United Nations peacekeeping mission in Cyprus, where the world body is facilitating talks aimed at reunifying the Mediterranean island.

The mission, known as UNFICYP, was set up in March 1964 following the outbreak of violence between the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities.

In a meeting this morning, 14 Council members backed the resolution to extend the mission's mandate until 15 December and one member, Turkey, voted against it.

As part of the resolution the Council welcomed the progress made in talks between the Greek Cypriots and the Turkish Cypriots and encouraged them to reach a comprehensive, durable settlement.

The text called for “full exploitation of this opportunity, including by intensifying the momentum of negotiations, preserving the current atmosphere of trust and goodwill, and engaging in the process in a constructive and open manner.”

Last Thursday Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon also urged both the Greek Cypriot leader and his newly-elected Turkish Cypriot counterpart to maintain the momentum of the ongoing talks.

The talks that resumed in late May were the first between Dervis Eroglu – who replaced Mehmet Ali Talat as the Turkish Cypriot leader following elections in the northern part of the island in April – and Greek Cypriot leader Demetris Christofias.

The UN-backed negotiations began in 2008 after Mr. Christofias and Mr. Talat committed themselves to working towards “a bi-communal, bi-zonal federation with political equality, as defined by relevant Security Council resolution.”

That partnership would comprise a federal government with a single international personality, along with a Turkish Cypriot constituent state and a Greek Cypriot constituent state, which would be of equal status.