On Tuesday, Nicosia welcomed the report compiled by UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres on UNFICYP, which will continue to focus on efforts that contribute to a solution of the island’s division.
Government spokesman Prodromos Prodromou said that the government is satisfied by the assurances provided that the mission and efficiency of the forces in Cyprus will remain unchanged in the general environment of rationalisation. He further added that the force will continue to focus, as stated in the report, on efforts that contribute towards achieving a comprehensive solution of the Cyprus problem, which is the government’s main objective, and to return to normal conditions.
The report circulated on Monday as an official document of the UN General Assembly in the framework of drafting the budget for the period from the 1st of July 2018 to the 30th of June 2019, which amounts to $55.152.000 exclusive of budgeted voluntary contributions amounting to $592.200. The proposed budget represents an increase of 2.1 pct, compared the 2017/18 period and provides for the deployment of up to 860 military personnel, 69 UN police officers, 39 international staff and 119 Cypriot staff.
The report elaborates on the aims that UNFICYP is called on to meet and takes into account the military evaluation and recent UN Security Council resolution 2398, which endorsed it.
Additionally, it is noteworthy that, as in his two previous reports, the SG expressed his concern over the increased civilian activities in the buffer zone, highlighting that “the demining of the buffer zone, the opening of seven crossing points in recent years and the expected opening of two additional crossing points by mid-2018 have all led to an increase in civilian activity in the buffer zone, in particular by civilians seeking to farm, hunt, work or even undertake construction, whether authorised by UNFICYP or not” adding that this “presents an increased risk of tension, not only between civilians but also between civilians and opposing forces, which in turn can increase tension between the opposing forces themselves.”
The report concludes that “UNFICYP will also continue to facilitate the implementation of confidence-building measures requested and agreed upon by the leaders of both communities or as otherwise appropriate.”