UNFICYP renewal mandate to be adopted

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The UN Security Council is expected to adopt unanimously on Tuesday a resolution renewing for a further six months the UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) mandate with minor changes.

In its resolution, the Security Council “expresses its full support for UNFICYP, and decides to extend its mandate for a further period ending on 31 January, 2021”.

It also “reaffirms all its relevant resolutions on Cyprus, in particular resolution 1251 (1999).”

The resolution “calls on the Turkish Cypriot side and Turkish forces to restore in Strovilia the military status quo which existed there prior to 30 June 2000.

It also recalls the status of fenced-off Varosha as set out in resolutions 550 (1984) and 789 (1992), and reaffirms that UNFICYP’s freedom of movement should be respected.

The Security Council expressed “deep concern at the further escalation and increased tensions in the eastern Mediterranean over hydrocarbons exploration”.

The UN called for a “reduction of tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean, 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 chances of success.”

It also “calls for the establishment of an effective mechanism for direct military contacts between the sides and the relevant involved parties, encourages full engagement with the proposal on the establishment of such a mechanism presented by UNFICYP, and calls for its timely implementation.”

The Security Council called for the reopening of all the crossing points and the return to the operating status that existed prior to 29 February 2020 as soon as practically achievable.

The UN said any continuing restrictions on movement across the divided island to prevent the spread of COVID-19 to be “coordinated, and not go beyond what is necessary to protect public health”.

“The opening of the crossings since 2003 has been an important confidence-building measure between both communities and one which is essential for the settlement process.”

Furthermore, the resolution urged Cypriot leaders to “ensure effective coordination and cooperation on health matters, including in response to the COVID-19 pandemic”.

It also “requests the Secretary-General to submit by 10 January 2021 a report on his Good Offices, in particular on progress towards reaching a consensus starting-point for meaningful results-oriented negotiations leading to a settlement.”

The resolution encourages the leaders to provide written updates to the Good Offices Mission of the Secretary-General on the actions they have taken “with a view to reaching a sustainable and comprehensive settlement”. (source CNA)