UN extends Cyprus peacekeeping force

July 19, 2012 - 5:36 PM

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The U.N. Security Council has extended the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus through January 2013, and again urged the Greek Cypriot and the Turkish Cypriot leaders to speed up talks aimed at reunifying the divided Mediterranean island nation.

The council adopted the resolution 13-0 and with two abstentions - from Azerbaijan and Pakistan. It noted that the decades-long Cyprus stalemate has failed to move toward a comprehensive and durable settlement.

The UNFICYP peacekeeping force has been deployed on the island since 1964 to deter eruptions of inter-communal fighting. At least 850 troops and 60 police officers are deployed now.

Cyprus was split in 1974 when Turkey invaded after a coup by supporters of union with Greece. Turkish Cypriots declared an independent northern state in 1983, only recognized by Turkey.