National Guard Chief Lieutenant General Ilias Leontaris has said that the Republic of Cyprus recognizes the long-standing successful presence of the UN peacekeeping force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) and the effective implementatin of its mandate, adding that the mission creates the conditions for the resumption of the negotiations for a Cyprus settlement.
Addressing the 3rd UN Conference for UN Chiefs of Defence Conference entitled “Generating Capabilities to Meet High-Performance Requirements”, that took place in New York on July 10 and 11, Leontaris said that apart from its voluntary annual contribution which covers 1/3 of UNFICYP`s budget, the Republic of Cyprus actively supports, to the extent it is able to do so, other UN peacekeeping operations with staff and means, as well as by providing facilities, means and services within Cyprus.
According to an official press release issued here, Leontaris represented the Republic of Cyprus at the Conference, accompanied by other officials of the National Guard General Staff, at the invitation of the UN Military Adviser, Lieutenant General, Carlos Humberto Loitey.
The National Guard Chief had on the sidelines of the Conference a series of meetings of high-ranking UN officials, Chiefs of Staff from other countries and the EU Military Committee Chairman, whom he briefed on the situation and the developments in the Southeastern Mediterranean.
During his stay in New York, Leontaris also met with Archbishop of America Elpidoforos, whom he congratulated for his election and enthronement. Moreover he attended a dinner hosted in his honour by the Federation of Cypriot American Organizations.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37% of its territory. Repeated rounds of UN-led peace talks have so far failed to yield results. The last round of negotiations, in the summer of 2017, at the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana ended inconclusively.
Comprising military and civilian personnel from various contributing countries, UNFICYP arrived in Cyprus in March 1964 after intercommunal fighting broke out. The mandate of the force is renewed every six months by the UN Security Council.
(Cyprus News Agency)