01 March 2024 - Address by the Minister of Foreign Affairs at the event on “60 Years of UNFICYP”

Address by the Minister of Foreign Affairs at the event on “60 Years of UNFICYP”

Nicosia, 1 March 2024


Ladies and Gentlemen,

We have gathered here today to pay tribute to the thousands of men and women who have served, and continue to serve in UNFICYP.  It has been 60 years since their arrival and we are grateful for their service.

I want to express the gratitude of the Government and people of the Republic of Cyprus, to the United Nations and to the 43, soon to become 44, troop contributing countries.

Allow me to briefly refer to the historical context.

In December 1963 armed clashes broke out in Cyprus.  The Security Council was seized of the matter.   On the 4th of March 1964, the UN Security Council adopted Resolution 186 recommending “the creation, with the consent of the Government of Cyprus, of a United Nations Peace-keeping Force in Cyprus”. It was tasked to preserve “international peace and security […], to use its best efforts to prevent a recurrence of fighting and, as necessary, to contribute to the maintenance and restoration of law and order and a return to normal conditions.” 

The Force was originally given a three-month mandate.  It has been 60 years.

Especially during the Turkish invasion of 1974, UNFICYP’s contribution has been extremely important. It tried to broker local ceasefires and to assist the afflicted population caught in the midst of war. It has paid a heavy price in human lives during that time.

Allow me to take this opportunity to pay tribute, not only to those peacekeepers who died that tragic summer, but to all the 187 peacekeepers who lost their lives while serving in Cyprus.

In the immediate aftermath of the Turkish invasion, UNFICYP assisted the High Commissioner for Refugees, the ICRC and other international organizations in relief efforts. They rendered assistance to the victims, facilitated deliveries of medical and food supplies, and worked for the location of missing persons as well as the release of prisoners. 

In enforcing its mandate for the prevention of a recurrence of fighting, the Force assumed the supervision of the 180-kilometre-long buffer zone between the ceasefire lines.

It has been given an expanded humanitarian mandate in providing emergency assistance, and thereafter, humanitarian relief to the displaced. Still until today, UNFICYP has been the key point of contact as regards our enclaved people.

Furthermore, throughout these six decades, UNFICYP has supported the efforts of the good offices mission of the United Nations Secretary-General in the “continued search for a peaceful settlement.”

Dear friends,

The exhibition that is presented here today is a snapshot of our history. 

I would like to take the opportunity to thank the Press and Information Office, and especially its Director Ms. Aliki Stylianou, whose valuable contribution made today’s event possible, as well as the Mayor of Nicosia for hosting us in this amazing building. 

The depiction of history serves as a reminder that we are still facing significant and serious challenges, as documented by the UN Security Council. Reference can be made to the recent forward movements of the occupying forces, as well as, to the recent attacks against members of the Peacekeeping Force, an act that the international community has condemned in the strongest possible terms.

In its sixty-year history, UNFICYP has played an invaluable role. We are grateful to the United Nations for the 60 years of service. We are thankful to the troop and police contributing countries, and to the 150,000 men and women in uniform that have served with UNFICYP over the years.

We remain forever grateful.

Thank you.


1 March 2024