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26 September, 2020
 
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Cyprus hopes cooler heads will prevail

Cypriot president says new bloodshed in Middle East would affect stability in greater region

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Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades on Thursday said he hoped more sensible ideas would prevail regarding the situation in the Middle East, while sources expect "no unpleasant surprises” ahead of a mandate review for UN peacekeeping on the island.

"I remain hopeful that wiser or more sensible ideas will prevail so as to avoid new bloodshed that would affect not only the region but also Europe in its entirety as well as the global economy and stability in the wider region,” Anastasiades said according to the Cyprus News Agency.

On Wednesday, the Republic of Cyprus said it had accepted a request from Washington regarding the arrival of an American Rapid Deployment Forces unit in case of an emergency.

State-funded network RIK News aired Thursday morning video footage it had obtained shoowing a C130 airplane and a number of Chinook and Blackhawk helicopters over Paphos, saying the aircraft landed and were on stand-by at Andreas Papandreou AFB, an active air base adjacent to Paphos International Airport.

American forces in the region have been reinforcing their outposts, bases and airfields, with Pentagon directing about 4500 additional troops to the region

But government officials later rushed to clarify that the arrangement was based on a humanitarian request to carry out possible evacuation missions and not at all connected to military operations.

According to US media, American forces in the region have been reinforcing their outposts, bases and airfields, with Pentagon directing about 4500 additional troops in addition to some 50,000 already stationed throughout the region.

CNA also reported that the president, who made the comments after having a meeting with UN Special Representative Elizabeth Spehar, expressed his view that “some issues of course must be included in a report” regarding an anticipated extension of the mandate of the UN Peacekeeping forces on Cyprus, known as UNFICYP.

The UN official met with Anastasiades at the Presidential Palace while she was also due to meet with Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci in the north of the divided capital.

No “unpleasant surprises" expected

Spehar, who also heads the UNFICYP, is scheduled to travel to New York and Washington while she is expected to brief the UN Secretary-General on Cyprus ahead of a Security Council meeting later this month. A UNSG report on Cyprus is also expected to be published in the coming days.

Last year, US President Donald Trump made good on his pre-election promises by putting forward a series of criteria concerning peace keeping missions around the world, including future UN Security Council mandate renewal resolutions.

The Cyprus News Agency cited sources saying the Republic of Cyprus was not anticipating any “unpleasant surprises” during the semi-annual formality of renewing UNFICYP, something which has been taking place since 1964.

TAGS
Cyprus  |  Iran  |  UNFICYP  |  Spehar  |  Anastasiades  |  conflict  |  Middle East  |  US

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