Since 1964 the UN has been operating a peacekeeping mission, UNFICYP, to prevent clashes between the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities on the island, according to the official UNFICYP website.
A “Green Line”, which divides the two halves from Morphou through Nicosia to Famagusta, is patrolled by United Nations troops. The UN drew up the Green Line as a ceasefire demarcation line in 1963 after intervening to end communal tension, reads the BBC News website’s country profile on Cyprus.
“Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkey invaded the north in response to a military coup on the island which was backed by the Athens government,” the BBC website states. According to the BBC profile, in 1983 the Turkish-held area declared itself the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. Northern Cyprus is recognised as an independent entity only by Turkey.
Since a de facto ceasefire in August, 1974, UNFICYP has supervised the ceasefire lines, provided humanitarian assistance, and maintained a buffer zone between the Turkish Cypriot forces in the north and the Greek Cypriot forces in the south. UNFICYP currently comprises contingents from several countries including Slovakia, the UNFICYP website reads.
18. Mar 2013 at 0:00 | Compiled by Spectator staff