United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP)

1 June 1998 - 6 June 2001
Military personnel

The British crown colony became independent on 11 February 1959. Cyprus was not permitted to establish a political or economic alliance with any other country, a stipulation that was prompted by the fear that Greek or Turkish Cypriots would seek an alliance with either Greece or Turkey.

The tensions between the 2 population groups came to a head again, however, in December 1963. The Security Council decided on 4 March 1964 to station a peace force on the island of Cyprus. UNFICYP’s task was to prevent any new outbreak of fighting and help to restore and maintain order and authority and to normalise relations between the 2 population groups. The UN was, however, unable to establish an agreement between the 2 population groups.

Coup d’état

Greek officers who had infiltrated the Cypriot National Guard played an active role in a coup by the national guard on 15 July 1974. Turkey responded with military intervention in the north of Cyprus. Cyprus was split into 2, with the exception of a few Greek Cypriot enclaves in the north.


The division had implications for the peace force's tasks. Since then, UNFICYP has been monitoring the unofficial ceasefire - no formal truce has ever been signed - for which the confrontation line established by UNFICYP on the map has been adopted as a practical standard. A demilitarised buffer zone (the ‘green line’) on both sides of the confrontation line is designed to make the monitoring process easier. The buffer zone is divided into 3 sectors, each of which is assigned to a unit of around 350 men.