Austrian Federal Army deployed in Cyprus since 1964

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Austria has been participating in the “United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus” (UNFICYP) with a contingent since April 14, 1964, after the UN Security Council in March 1964 gave the then UN Secretary General U Thant a mandate to set up a force of over 6.300 men UN peacekeeping force had issued. At that time, Austria provided a field hospital with a capacity of 55 people.

Defense Minister Tanner: “From the very beginning, Austrian soldiers made an important contribution to maintaining peace in Cyprus. In the meantime, with an operational strength of over 300 'Peacekeepers', we were also one of the largest troop contributors. The climatic conditions presented a major challenge in operational management. Above all, the tensions between the conflicting parties demanded the highest level of diplomatic action from our soldiers. As an honorary member of the Association of Austrian “Peacekeepers”, I have a particularly close relationship with our soldiers deployed abroad. I am therefore particularly pleased to be able to congratulate you all on this milestone anniversary.”

In 1972, with the reduction of the Irish contingent in Cyprus, the Austrian contingent grew to battalion strength, around 300 soldiers. Tensions on the island reached their peak in 1974 with the overthrow of Cypriot President Archbishop Makarios. At that time, parts of the Austrian UN battalion were involved in the fighting for Nicosia airport. On August 14th, three Austrian “peacekeepers” fell victim to a Turkish air strike near Goshi. A total of 16 Austrian soldiers fell or died during their deployment on the Mediterranean island.

Around 17.000 Austrian “peacekeepers” were deployed in Cyprus. With the withdrawal of the Austrian UN battalion in 2001, Austria still occupied some staff positions in the multinational staff. Two officers and one non-commissioned officer are currently serving for peace in Cyprus.

Flag of the Republic of Cyprus (south) (Photo: Pixabay).
Flag of the Republic of Cyprus (south) (Photo: Pixabay).