Peacekeeping and Diplomacy in Cyprus, 1964-1993 (Case Study #16)


This case examines the post-WWII conflict between ethnic Greek and Turkish communities on the island of Cyprus. In the brief history of the conflict that Tad Szulc sketches, he highlights the roles played by the international community, which has often attempted action without understanding the nature of the conflict.

He raises the question of what is the moral and political responsibility of the international community if the Greek and Turkish Cypriots resume the "ethnic cleansing" practices and go back to slaughtering each other as they did in the 1960s and 1970s, before United Nations peacekeepers stopped them?

In the early 1990s, the UN force began to shrink as Danish and Canadian governments withdrew their troops over disputes with the UN on funding and the failure of negotiations to change the status quo. At the same time, the UN Security Council passed resolutions aimed at criticizing the continued partition of the island, but failed to properly fund the peacekeeping operation.

The world community is faced with the choice of rebuilding the UN force to prevent new hostilities from breaking out and maintain mediation efforts in the hope of a diplomatic breakthrough, or washing its hands of the entire operation citing the failure of both sides to reach a settlement after 30 years of conflict.

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