Cyprus (UNFICYP)

Background

The United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) was established in 1964 to prevent further fighting between the Greek-Cypriot and Turkish-Cypriot communities, who have historically failed to share political power on the ethnically divided island of Cyprus. As the result of an attempted coup d’état in 1974, UNFICYP’s mandate was expanded to monitoring a buffer zone, restoring law and order, and promoting confidence-building measures between the parties. Although a de facto ceasefire has held ever since, because it was never formalized, demilitarization is an ongoing challenge.

The mission continues to provide necessary humanitarian assistance and improve the country’s infrastructure, as well as facilitate discussions between the two sides for a solution to reunify the island.

How UNFICYP Supports U.S. Interests

UNFICYP is one of the oldest peacekeeping missions, but it remains critically important to U.S. interests.

Promotes regional stability

As key NATO allies, the U.S. relies on cooperation between Cyprus’s neighbors Greece and Turkey, the latter of which boasts NATO’s second-largest army. Peace in Cyprus is critical not only to the stability of the entire Mediterranean region, but also necessary for NATO’s continued political and military cooperation and effective response to security threats.

Facilitates reconciliation

UNFICYP is currently the only source of dialogue between the Greek and Turkish-Cypriot communities. Under UN guidance, the two parties have engaged in continuous negotiations, though a comprehensive settlement has yet to be reached.

In addition, U.S. diplomat, Jane Holl Lute, was appointed in 2018, as the UN Special Envoy for Cyprus, to assist the parties to work towards a political solution.

Budget

While the U.S. is the largest single contributor to the UN’s peacekeeping budget at 28% or $1.8 billion of the total budget, other UN member states pay the vast majority of costs and contribute 99% of the nearly 100,000 troops. Provided below is a breakdown of the cost of each mission and the U.S. contribution to UNFICYP.

Resources

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