U.N. missions in Côte d'Ivoire, Darfur and Cyprus will continue

The United Nations Security Council met on Wednesday and decided to extend U.N. peacekeeping operations in Côte d'Ivoire, Darfur and Cyprus.

The Council held three separate meetings to discuss the missions. A unanimous decision was made to continue the U.N. mission in Côte d'Ivoire to build upon the foundation the mission has set on teaching authorities the importance of protecting civilians, disarmament, security sector litigation, reintegration into normal life for former soldiers and demobilization. The Council also decided the amount of military personnel in the nation should decrease from 10,400 to 7,137 by next June and potentially to 5,437 the following June by focusing on high-risk areas and being more effective.

A unanimous decision was also made to extend the U.N.-African Union Hybrid Operation in Darfur until August of next year. The security situation in Darfur was reported as "volatile" by the Joint Special Representative Mohamed Ibn Chambas, who said attacks against peacekeepers and inter-ethnic attacks are becoming common. Since January, 250,000 people have fled their villages to escape the violence. UNAMID peacekeepers were attacked on July 13, killing seven and injuring 17others.

The vote to continue the U.N. Force in Cyprus was nearly unanimous; 13:0 with Azerbaijan and Pakistan abstaining. The mission is Cyprus began in 1964 to help prevent inter-ethnic violence between Turkish and Greek residents on the island.