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United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus

The United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) was established in 1964 to prevent a recurrence of fighting between the Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots and to contribute to the maintenance and restoration of law and order and a return to normal conditions. After the 1974 Greek coup-d’etat and the Turkish invasion of Cyprus, the UN Security Council extended and expanded the mission to prevent that Cyprus dispute turning into war.


In 1995, UNFICYP found that Turkish Cypriots living in the southern part of the island were not subject to a restrictive regime and under the law enjoyed the same rights as other citizens. At the same time, in several respects, it was found that Turkish Cypriots were often the victims of capricious discrimination and harassment and thus did not enjoy a fully normal life. With regard to Greek Cypriots and Maronites living in the northern part of the island, the review confirmed that those communities were the objects of very severe restrictions imposed by the Turkish Cypriot authorities, which curtailed the exercise of many basic freedoms and had the effect of ensuring that, inexorably with the passage of time, those communities would cease to exist in the northern part of the island.

On December 5, 2006, the United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan recommended a further six-month extension in the mandate of the UN mission that has been deployed on the island for over four decades. Mr. Annan said that while the situation remained “calm and stable with no major violations of the ceasefire lines,” he regretted the continued stalemate in the political process and the “missed opportunities” over the past 10 years.

The annual cost for maintaining UNFICYP is estimated at $57,390,000. This includes the voluntary contribution by the Government of Cyprus of one third of the cost of the force and the annual amount of $6,500,000 contributed by the Government of Greece. Turkey does not directly contribute to the force’s budget.


UNFICYP is headquartered from the Blue Beret Camp, next to the abandoned airport of Nicosia.

As of June 30, 2010, the total strength (military personnel and civilian police) of UNFICYP is 920 individuals.

The 858 military personnel are from Argentina, Austria, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Croatia, Hungary, Paraguay, Peru, Serbia, Slovakia and the United Kingdom.

The Argentine contingent includes soldiers from the Argentine military forces, including the Argentine Army and the Argentine Marines, as well as from Brazil, Paraguay and Chile; whereas the Slovak contingent includes soldiers from Croatia and the British Contingent includes British Armed Forces United Kingdom from the Army and Navy.

There are 69 civilian police officers supplied by Australia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, El Salvador, India, Ireland, Italy, Montenegro, the Netherlands and Ukraine. In addition, UNFICYP has 151 civilian staff members, 40 of whom were internationally recruited and 111 locally recruited.

Sector One

Starts at Kokkina exclave and covers approximately 90 kilometres to Mammari, west of Nicosia . Since October 16, 1993, it has been the responsibility of the Argentinian Contingent with 212 soldiers. Sector One Headquarters and Command Company are located in San Martin Camp, which is near Skouriotissa village. Support Company finds its home at Roca Camp, near Xeros in the north. The two line companies are deployed along four permanently manned patrol bases while also conduct mobile patrols from San Martin and Roca camps.

Sector Two

Starts at Mammari, west of Nicosia and covers 30 kilometres to Kaimakli, east of Nicosia. Since 1993, and has been the responsibility of the British contingent .

Sector Four

Starting at Kaimakli, east of Nicosia and covers 65 Kilometres to the village of Dhernia, on the east coast of Cyprus and has been the responsibility of the Slovakian and Hungarian contingent with 202 Soldiers.

Other Units

Force Military Police Unit (FMPU) is 1 of only 2 multi-national sub units within UNFICYP, the other being the Mobile Force Reserve, MFR. The FMPU is commanded by a major of the UK Royal Military Police, with 7 other members of the RMP as part of the 23 strong unit. Other contributing nationalities are Argentina, Hungary and Slovakia.

Mobile Force Reserve (MFR) is the high readiness elite reserve able to react to any incident anywhere on the island. Formed from the Permanent Force Reserve in 1997, it’s composed of Argentinean, British, Hungarian and Slovakian peacekeepers, a mix of customs and cultures, where the four different nationalities work together. From 1997 until their departure in 2001 a select contingent of each rotation of Austrian soldiers was part of the MFR. Equipped with TACTICA APCs which are armed with the GPMG. The MFR is rigidly trained in public order and major incident reaction techniques. In addition the MFR is also trained for air mobile operations using Bell 212 helicopters to rapidly insert into trouble areas.

The UN Flight (ARGAIR) have three helicopters, and since 1994 has been provided by 28 airmen from the Argentine Air Force. They use the Hughes 500 and Bell 212 Helicopters and in 2003 logged 10,000 flight hours without any accident. During the 2006 Israel-Lebanon conflict the Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Siniora was brought in and out Lebanon by one of their helicopters.

Commanders of UN Forces (UNFICYP)

Start Date End Date Name Country
March 6, 1964 June 1964 P.S. Gyani India
July 8, 1964 December 1965 Kodandera Subayya Thimayya India
December 1965 May 1966 Alexander James Wilson (acting) United Kingdom
May 1966 December 1969 Ilmari Armas-Eino Martola Finland
December 1969 December 1976 Dewan Prem Chand India
December 1976 March 1981 J.J. Quinn Ireland
March 1981 April 1988 Gunther G. Greindl Austria
April 1988 April 1992 Clive Milner Canada
April 1992 August 1, 1994 Michael F. Minehane Ireland
August 1, 1994 February 28, 1997 Ahti Toimi Paavali Vartiainen Finland
February 28, 1997 December 15, 1999 Evergisto Arturo de Vergara Argentina
December 16, 1999 December 15, 2001 Victory Rana Nepal
January 7, 2002 December 2003 Jin Ha Hwang South Korea
January 7, 2004 January 12, 2006 Herbert Figoli Uruguay
February 15, 2006 March, 2008 Rafael José Barni Argentina
March, 2008 present Mario Sánchez Debernardi Peru


Up to and including May 31, 2009, UNFICYP has suffered 179 fatalities:

  • Accidents: 97
  • Illnesses: 44
  • Malicious Acts: 15
  • Other: 23

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