Major General Kristin Lund was named by UN chief Ban Ki-moon to take command of the UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) which marks its 50th anniversary this year, the UN has announced. The Norwegian commander will be the first woman ever to serve as Force Commander in a United Nations peacekeeping operation. Kristin Lund, 56, will replace Major General Chao Liu of China on August 13, who has led the UNFICYP since 2011.
Lund has over 34 years of military command and staff experience at national and international levels and she heads the Veteran Affairs section of the Norwegian Defense, staring this year. She was also the first woman army officer to be promoted to the rank of Major General, in 2009, and Lund was appointed Chief of Staff of the Norwegian Home Guard.
It is not the first time she is in contact with the UN service, as she served in the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), in 1986, and the UN Protection Force (UNPROFOR). Lund’s international deployments include also Saudi Arabia during Operation Desert Storm in 1991 and Afghanistan, at NATO’s International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) Headquarters in the country.
UNFICYP was set up by the Security Council in 1964 to prevent further fighting between the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities, and it is now a force of 930 soldiers and 66 police. Following the 1974 division of Cyprus when the Turkish military intervened and occupied the island’s north following a coup by a group of Greek officers, the Security Council adopted a number of resolutions expanding the mandate of UNFICYP. The new mandate includes “supervising a de facto ceasefire, which came into effect on 16 August 1974, and maintaining a buffer zone between the lines of the Cyprus National Guard and of the Turkish and Turkish Cypriot forces.”