Turkey fumes at UN Cyprus extension

Turkey fumes at UN Cyprus extension

Turkey has criticised the UN Security Council for extending the mandate of its peacekeeping force on Cyprus, saying it ignored Ankara’s pariah state in the north of the divided island.

The decision extends the presence of UN peacekeeping forces for six months.

The Republic of Cyprus welcomed the renewed mandate.

It accused Turkey of attempting to create “chaos” while it sought to end the dispute.

The pro-Turkish Daily Sabah, however, said Turkey blamed Greek Cypriot intransigence for the failure of the talks, with the rejection of agreements and proposals in 1986, 1992 and 2014.

Jonathan Cohen, Washington’s acting permanent representative to the UN, said the renewed mandate would allow for reconfiguration of UN activities. The peacekeeping battalion was formed in 1964 after an outbreak of communal violence.

Turkey said the renewal contradicted statements by UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres.

“Both in his report on his Mission of Good Offices in Cyprus dated 15 October 2018 and his latest report on the UN operations in Cyprus dated 11 January 2019, submitted to the UN Security Council, UN secretary general had emphasised the need for new ideas, without referring to a specific settlement model,” the Turkish administration reportedly said.

“Despite this fact, in this most recent resolution, the UN Security Council has adopted a position which goes beyond the UN secretary general’s views. Moreover, the UN Security Council has voiced prejudgments regarding the result of the ongoing contacts by the UN official assigned on a temporary basis by the UN secretary-general and the possible future shape of the settlement process,” Ankara added.

The Turkish foreign ministry also criticised the UN for failing to consult the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, which is only recognised by Turkey.

Turkish Cypriot President Mustafa Akıncı said his government had never called for a full withdrawal of UN forces but instead asked for the details of the mandate to be revised.

Akıncı said this week that he was ready for talks on a new model that would strengthen the authorities on both sides as long as it was based on political equality.

“UN peacekeepers were first sent to Cyprus in March 1964. That means 55 years. [They] should not become a symbol of the status quo on the island nor should the mandate serve to further encourage the Greek Cypriot side’s reluctance to work towards a settlement,” Akıncı was quoted saying.

Cyprus remains in limbo. Picture credit: Flickr

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