November 25, 2017

Statement by the Permanent Representative Amb. Korneliou – Security Council – UN Peacekeeping Operations

Security Council Open Debate: UN Peacekeeping Operations: Their potential contribution to the overarching goal of sustaining peace

United Nations  – 29 August 2017

Mr. President,

I would like to start by congratulating the Egyptian Presidency of the Security Council for organizing this important and timely debate. Cyprus aligns itself with the statement of the European Union and would like to add the following remarks in its national capacity.

Over 70 years of history, the UN has responded to evolving peace and security challenges by developing and adopting a wide range of tools and instruments and today, it continues to contribute greatly in peace consolidation and conflict prevention.

The 2015 Reviews focused on peacekeeping operations and peacebuilding architecture were all inspired by the urgent need to strengthen the coherence of the UN system as part of renewed efforts to effectively address new threats and challenges to international peace and security. Cyprus agrees with the common patterns emerged from the different reviews and supports the call of the Secretary General for a “comprehensive, modern and effective operational peace architecture, encompassing prevention, conflict resolution, peacekeeping, peacebuilding and long-term development – the peace ‘continuum’’, adapted in accordance with the particularities of each conflict or country.

Since the 60s, Cyprus has continuously benefitted from a UN involvement with the aim of achieving peace and the reunification of the island, through the United Nations Peace-Keeping Force and the Good Offices Mission of the Secretary General.

UNFICYP is an example of effective peacekeeping operation and its continuation is indispensable for as long as a settlement to the Cyprus problem has not been found.

From Cyprus’ long standing experience, the most important priority is to stop the conflict and to ensure it does not erupt again. However, bringing about sustainable peace and preventing conflict are equally important.

  1. From Cyprus’ long standing experience, the most important priority is to stop the conflict and to ensure it does not erupt again. However, bringing about sustainable peace and preventing conflict are equally important.
  2. Addressing the root causes should serve as the basis for the UN involvement.  
  3. Any review of peacekeeping operations should be guided by the situation on the ground.
  4. Objectivity and impartiality are key principles ensuring the United Nations’ credibility and efficiency. 

Mr. President,

It is certain that the situation in Cyprus and the prospects for peace would now be much worse, had it not been for UNFICYP’s continued presence and the United Nations’ involvement all these years. As long as Cyprus remains under illegal military occupation with the presence of thousands of heavily armed Turkish troops rendering the occupied area one of the most densely militarized areas of the world, it is clear that UNFICYP’s presence is absolutely necessary.

At the same time, the United Nations remains the forum through which a settlement can be achieved and should be at the forefront of all efforts.

Cyprus remains committed to reunification, as any alternative to that does not serve the interests of the people of Cyprus, Greek-Cypriots and Turkish-Cypriots alike. We are ready to do our utmost in order to overcome the deadlock and pave the way to a comprehensive settlement that will at last reunify Cyprus in a viable, functional state, in line with UNSC resolutions, the international law and the EU acquis.

We are most grateful to the Secretary General for his tireless efforts and his personal involvement and also for the Security Council’s strong signal of unity and support.

Recognizing the need to review peacekeeping operations on a regular basis in order to optimize their effectiveness and efficiency, the Government of Cyprus has given its consent to SC Res 2369(2017) which provides for a strategic review of UNFICYP within its existing mandate.

Preserving the mandate is a prerequisite acknowledged by the Security Council in the aforementioned Resolution, since the situation on the ground remains unchanged. In this regard, we expect that the strategic review will take place in close cooperation with the host country, the Republic of Cyprus.

Mr. President,

In conclusion, I would like to reaffirm Cyprus’ commitment to work with all member states for an enhanced peace architecture that will ensure increased effectiveness with optimal use of the available tools and resources.