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Six-Month Extension Of UN Force In Cyprus

Annan Calls For Six-Month Extension Of UN Force In Cyprus With Mid-Term Review

United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan has recommended a six-month extension of the UN operation in Cyprus (UNFICYP), while pledging a review before the mid-point aimed at adapting its mandate to the prevailing circumstances.

In a new report to the Security Council, Mr. Annan notes that the situation along the ceasefire lines remains calm, while people from both sides continue to regularly pass through the crossing points.

Following the referenda of 24 April - when voters failed to adopt a reunification plan - consultations have been conducted with both sides on the island and the guarantor powers, according to the report. "I remain convinced that, in the absence of a comprehensive settlement, the presence of UNFICYP on the island continues to be necessary for the maintenance of the ceasefire," Mr. Annan asserts.

Greek Cypriots rejected and Turkish Cypriots approved the plan, which would have created a United Cyprus Republic, composed of a Greek Cypriot constituent state and a Turkish Cypriot constituent state linked by federal government.

Given this "watershed" event, the Secretary-General says he will conduct a review, to be completed within three months, of UNFICYP's mandate, force levels and concept of operations, "in the light of developments on the ground, the positions of the parties and any views the Security Council might have." Based on this exercise, he says he will make recommendations on any UNFICYP adjustments or restructuring that may be required.

Meanwhile, the Secretary-General urges the Turkish Cypriot authorities to provide full freedom of movement for UNFICYP so that it can carry out its mandate more effectively.

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