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UN Security Council to renew peacekeeping force mandate in Cyprus

Arrival of new special envoy Cuellar brings hope to Cyprus deadlock

Yiannis Ioannou

Yiannis Ioannou

The year 2024 inaugurates a formal series of UN procedures related to Cyprus and simultaneously locks in the arrival of the new Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Cyprus, Colombian Maria-Angela Cuellar- a development that brings some restrained mobility to the deadlock of the last seven years.

Formal meetings
The Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General in Cyprus and head of UNFICYP, Colin Stewart, saw Turkish Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar yesterday and subsequently, today Thursday, January 4, will meet with President Christodoulidis. The double meetings are considered formal in view of Ms. Cuegiar's descent to Cyprus and before Mr. Stewart's departure for New York in view of the annual renewal of the term of the UN peacekeeping force in Cyprus - which historically passes through the Security Council of the Organization.

Renewal without a problem
On January 30, the United Nations Security Council is expected to adopt the resolution renewing the mandate of the UN peacekeeping force in Cyprus (UNFICYP), the terms of which expire on January 31.

Mr. Stewart, in addition to Ms. Cuellar- whose name will be formally announced within a few days - during his visit to New York will see, as usual, representatives of the P5 countries (i.e., the permanent members of the Security Council) as well as the countries that contribute personnel (armed forces and police) to UNFICYP in Cyprus.

The renewal of the term of the peacekeeping force is now done on an annual basis and not every six months as in the past, and there is no issue as to the decision of the Security Council to ratify the relevant decision.

Change of baton in UNFICYP
In another development, the UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, appointed a new commander of UNFICYP, as announced on Tuesday by the United Nations. As stated in the regular briefing of the international media of the UN by the Deputy Spokesperson of the Secretary-General, Ms. Nino, Antonio Guterres appointed Major General Erdenebat Batsuuri from Mongolia as the new commander of UNFICYP.

Major General Batsuuri succeeds Major General Ingrid Gjerde who came from the armed forces of Norway. According to the United Nations, Major General Batsuuri served until recently as Chief of Staff of the administration of the Mongolian Air Force (2020-2023). Previously, he was a senior officer in the general staff of the Armed Forces of Mongolia (2017-2018), as well as head of the Peace Support Operations Directorate in the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Mongolia (2014-2017).

He has participated in eight peacekeeping operations of the United Nations and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), among others in Iraq, Sierra Leone, Sudan, and South Sudan. Specifically, he served as commander of an emergency mission in the United Nations mission in Liberia (2010-2011) and as a battalion commander in the United Nations mission in South Sudan (2013-2014). He also held the positions of Chief of Staff in the Southern Sector of UNMISS (2018-2019) and the commander of the Juba sector (2021-2022).

[This article was translated from its Greek original]

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