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    • BSCP has led study visit to peace mission UNFICYP in Cyprus

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    • Date: 26 May 2015
      Main challanges in peacekeeping mission UNFICYP in Cyprus are of civil charachter and they reflect the need for various civli expertise in peacekeeping missions. That is the main conclusion of study visit which BCSP has organized for representatives of state institutions and civil society from Western Balkans countries.

      BCSP, MoI and MFA in a study visit to Serbian contingent in the UNFICYP peacekeeping mission in Cyprus
      BCSP, MoI and MFA in a study visit to Serbian contingent in the UNFICYP peacekeeping mission in Cyprus

      Familiarization with particularities and challenges with one of the most durable UN peacekeepingmissions was the main aim of study visit to civil and military component of UNFICYP mission which Belgrade Centre for Security Policy organized 25th and 26th of May for nine-member delegation from Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia and Norway.

      Special Representative and Head of the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus Lisa Buttenheim and Major general Kristin Lund, Force commander, adressed the delegation. UNFICYP is only mission in which women are at the head of mission.  In order  to introduce the challenges of civilian dimension of peacekeeping in Cyprus Munehiko Harada from Department for Civil Affairs, legal adviser Fabio Buonomo, Nenad Djurić from civilian police and Major Nikolaus Barthl liaison officer from the Office for Civil Relations presented their point of vews.

      Main challanges are of civil charachter, but due to modest police presence, military is often tasked to address them. Representatives of mission emphasized that over 10 000 people live and work in Buffer zone and, even though there weren’t human fatalities and armed incidents lately, during 2014 there were over 1000 incidents which makes this mission very demanding.

      "The largest military challenges were violations of status of military forces, such as increasing number of personnel and construction of military infrastructure.The civilian challenges are more frequent and they include hunting and poaching in the Buffer zone, cultivating land without adequate permits and illegal construction. These, seemingly ephemeral challenges, are creating big political pressure and are triggers for riots in this community, as testified by Liaison officer for link with civilians in contigent of Military of Serbia. Munehiko Harada capitalized on this talking about multi-ethnic riotswhich are caused by asphalting a pathway in front of the kindergarten. Kindergarten is Turkish one, and the works were performed by the Greeks, which resultedin riots, fight and damage to a UN vehicle“, as stated by BCSP resercher Marko Milošević, leader of study visit.

      UNFICYP is one of the first UN missions, its mandate defined in accordance with Chapter 6, which implies peaceful separation of the forces. Mission members pointed out that this mission is relatively safe, thus the soldiers are mostly unarmed.

      Serbian army members are parts of parent Slovakian and Hungarian contingents in the mission. They have been assigned the task of monitoring the condition of Turkish and Greek Cypriots military forces. Serbian delegation visited members of Serbian police and army in Cyprus.

      “In the civil part of the mission Serbia is represented by two police officers. It is interesting that both of them are team leaders in Pyla and Athienou stations, which is the evidence of their professionalism. Serbian contingent enjoys great reputation among Cyprus population, that can be seen in order of flags on one official building in Pyla. This is the only place on Cyprus where Greek and Turkish Cypriots live together and that fact makes the conduct of inter-ethnic relations quite challenging. Participants from Serbian delegation have given immeasurable contribution to the study visit with their constructive questions with which they have set these challenges in a broader context of civil engagement in the missions“, said the BCSP researcher.

      In evaluation forms, completed by participants of the study visit, it was stated that that experience from this visit can be useful for preparation of officers  that are going to be sent in missions and for planning of future engagement in missions.

      Marko Milosevic, BCSP researcher and John Karlsrud from NUPI led this study visit. They were accompanied with: Milan Milošević form Ministry of Interior of the Republic of Serbia, Igor Kuželka from Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Serbia, Gordan Bosanac from Center for Peace Studies from Zagreb, analyst at OBRIS Igor Tabak, Denis Hadžović from Center for Security Studies from Sarajevo, Ankica Tomić from Ministry of Security of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Andreja Bogdanovski from organization Analytica from Skopje. 

      This visit is a part of activities in the project „Western Balkans Civilian Capacities for Peace Operations “ conducted by Belgrade Centre for Security Policy (BCSP) and Norwegian Institute for International Affairs (NUPI), financially supported by Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.  Regional partners in this project are Centre for Peace Studies (CMS), Zagreb,  Centre for Security Studies (CSS) from Bosnia and Herzegovina and Analytica from Macedonia.

      Coffee shop in the immediate vicinity of the separation zone
      Coffee shop in the immediate vicinity of the separation zone
      Presentation of General Major Kristin Lund, commander of the military mission in Cyprus, has attracted great attention of the delegation led by the BCSP
      Presentation of General Major Kristin Lund, commander of the military mission in Cyprus, has attracted great attention of the delegation led by the BCSP

      Translated by BCSP Intern Ivana Markulic

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