"Matters relating to cooperation with UNFICYP forms part of our regular and ongoing dialogue with the Turkish Cypriot side," said Stéphane Dujarric, Spokesperson for the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, when asked by the Cyprus News Agency to comment about a request by the Turkish Cypriot side for a "status of forces agreement" with them regarding the peacekeeping force.
Dujarric confirmed that the UN received a letter from the Turkish Cypriot side on UNFICYP, which requests the conclusion of an agreement with the United Nations.
"Matters relating to cooperation with UNFICYP forms part of our regular and ongoing dialogue with the Turkish Cypriot side. I can confirm that we have received a letter from the Turkish Cypriot side" he noted.
According to Dujarric, "the Mission continues to work closely with both sides."
Speaking earlier this week to CNA, Cyprus Interior Minister Nikos Nouris said that he raised the Turkish Cypriot letter during his meeting in New York with the Secretary-General for Peace Operations, Jean-Pierre Lacroix and called it unacceptable. The request, he added, could not be granted since it is made by a "non-existing state."
On Wednesday, Cyprus' Foreign Ministry said it would proceed with the necessary actions and representations to UNFICYP, from which it will expect an "appropriate reaction."
The Ministry noted that the mandate of the UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus is determined by the relevant UN Security Council resolutions on Cyprus according to which the government of the Republic of Cyprus gives its consent for the development and presence of the Peacekeeping Force in its territory.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. Repeated rounds of UN-led peace talks have so far failed to yield results. The latest round of negotiations, in July 2017 at the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana ended inconclusively.