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From U Thant to Kofi Annan: UN Peacemaking in Cyprus, 1964-2004

Date: 2005
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2004 marked the fortieth anniversary of the United Nations presence in Cyprus. Since March 1964, the UN has been responsible for addressing and managing both peacekeeping and peacemaking efforts on the island.

This paper focuses on this latter task. Starting with U Thant, who served as UN Secretary-General from 1961-71, it surveys and summarises the efforts of five successive secretaries-general of the United Nations to resolve the political differences between the Greek and Turkish Cypriots over the course of four decades. It concludes with the most recent effort to broker a settlement undertaken by the current Secretary-General, Kofi Annan. In addition to evaluating the various types of UN efforts undertaken, such as mediation and the mission of good offices, it also reviews the way in which the goals of the peacemaking process have changed along the way, such as the search for increased autonomy for the Turkish Cypriots, the creation of a bi-communal, bi-zonal federal settlement and confidence building. Looking ahead, and in view of suggestions that the European Union might take over a peacemaking role, the paper concludes that the UN will in fact continue to manage attempts at reunification in the future.

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