A draft on UNFICYP renewal expected to pass Thursday in the Security Council includes concerns over military surveillance equipment being placed near the divided island’s buffer zone.
The UN Security Council is scheduled to vote on a draft resolution renewing the mandate of the UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) for another six months.
While no big changes were expected in the draft, UN officials pointed fingers at the two communities on the island, Greek Cypriots in the south and Turkish Cypriots in the north, for failing to heed a call from UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres to address surveillance issues near the buffer zone.
Guterres wants to unman military positions along ceasefire lines in return for UN assurances that surveillance by both sides is not deployed inside the buffer zone or capable of seeing beyond
Guterres had proposed “to unman the military positions along the ceasefire lines in return for UN validation that each side’s surveillance technology is not deployed inside the buffer zone or capable of seeing beyond it.”
The UNFICYP report reportedly points out that the “sides’ response has so far not allowed for tangible progress”.
Last year Greek Cypriots signed an agreement to buy a hi-tech surveillance system from Israel. While the interior ministry said the network was needed to monitor illegal crossings of economic migrants, concerns had been raised over the deal having been signed by the Republic’s defense ministry.
UNFICYP was established in March 1964 in an attempt to prevent the recurrence of interethnic violence between the two major ethnic communities on the island, which remains divided between a recognized south in the Republic of Cyprus governed by Greek Cypriots and a Turkish Cypriot north not recognized by any country except Turkey.