Cyprus: Ingrid Gjerde’s appointment as Head of UNFICYP raises eyebrows in Turkey

Cyprus: Ingrid Gjerde’s appointment as Head of UNFICYP raises eyebrows in Turkey

Lt. Gen. Ingrid Gjerde from Norway is the new Commander of the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP)

Speaking at the regular update to the UN international media, UN Under-Secretary-General Farhan Haq said Antonio Guterres had announced the appointment of Lt. Gen. Ingrid Gjerde from Norway as the new UNFICY Commander.

Haq said Lt. Gen. Gjerde had a long and distinguished career in the defense forces in Norway, and is currently Head of the Strategic Plans. She is a graduate of the Norwegian Military academy, as well as from the US Army command and staff college and from the US Army War College.

Ingrid Gjerde, she added, succeeds Lt. Gen. Cheryl Pearce of Australia.

Turkey reacted to the appointment of Ingrid Gjerde. Responding to a reporter’s question regarding the appointment of a Norwegian General to the UNFICYP based in Cyprus, announced by the United Nations (UN) on March 24, 2021, Turkish Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hami Aksoy said Turkey supports “the statement of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkish Republic of ‘Northern Cyprus (TRNC)’ regarding this appointment, which, contrary to established practices, was made without the information and approval of the TRNC authorities..”

“In a period when we are preparing for the informal 5+UN meeting to be held in Geneva on 27-29 April, which will aim to determine whether common ground exits towards a settlement to the Cyprus issue, this approach in ignorance of the most basic UN principle of the equal treatment of the two sides on the Island, is highly unfortunate..”

“The UNFICYP operates in the ‘TRNC’ territory within the context of ‘TRNC’ authorities’ constructive and bona fide approach, still without a legal basis. It should not be forgotten that the ability of UNFICYP to carry out its operations depends on its cooperation with the TRNC authorities. /ibna