UN Security Council once again extends mandate of Cyprus peacekeeping force

The Security Council today extended, through mid-June 2006, the mandate of the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP), which monitors the ceasefire lines extending some 180 kilometres across the island.By a unanimously adopting a resolution to that effect, the Council followed the assessment of Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s report, which said that the situation in Cyprus was calm but “progress toward a political solution remains negligible at best.” “I continue to believe that only the achievement of a comprehensive settlement will bring an end to the Cyprus problem,” Mr. Annan said.Established in 1964 to prevent further fighting between the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities, UNFICYP remains on the island to supervise ceasefire lines, maintain a buffer zone, and undertake humanitarian activities.Urging both parties to avoid any action which could lead to an increase in tension, the Council, through today’s resolution, also expressed concern over the conduct of military exercises that had not been seen since 2001.In addition, it called on the parities to restore the military status quo that existed before 30 June 2000 in Strovilia, a small hamlet inhabited by Greek Cypriots.UNFICYP’s mandate, which was set to expire tomorrow, will now be extended through 15 June 2006.

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