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Annan Recommends Extension Of UN Mission In Cyprus

Annan Recommends Extension Of UN Mission In Cyprus

New York, Jun 8 2005

Saying the situation in Cyprus was calm but "still lacked a viable political solution," United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan today recommended that the mandate of the UN peacekeeping force there be extended for six-months, under its present authorized strength.

"The distrust between the Greek Cypriot and the Turkish Cypriot side has persisted, as has the military posture and the concomitant perception of threat," Mr. Annan says in a <"">report to the Security Council, which recommends that the mandate of the UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP), set to expire on 16 June, be extended through 15 December 2005.

"In this situation," he continues, "I continue to believe that the presence of UNFICYP on the island remains necessary for the maintenance of the ceasefire and in order to foster conditions conducive to a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem."

The Secretary-General adds that he does not believe that the time is ripe to appoint a full-time representative, saying that the UNFICYP chief will continue to act as his representative on the ground. He will, in addition, dispatch a senior Secretariat official to visit Cyprus, Greece and Turkey to assess the situation.

There has been little political movement, he says in the report. Official contacts between the two parties have not resumed since the April 2004 a referendum on a comprehensive settlement plan failed.

About 65 per cent of Turkish Cypriots voted in favour of the plan, while 76 per cent of Greek Cypriots voted against it.

Last October, following both the referendum and over eight years of an improved security climate, the Council accepted Mr. Annan's proposal to restructure UNFICYP, cutting the military component from 1,224 to 860 and increasing the deployment of UN civilian police, which then stood at 45 and has yet to reach the mandated ceiling of 69. The report says that the strength of the military component now stands at 869, with 52 civilian police.

Security Council consultations on Cyprus are scheduled for tomorrow.


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