“Sixty years ago, Canadian peacekeepers joined the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus in response to fighting and unrest between Greek and Turkish forces that broke out across the Mediterranean island.

“When fighting began in Cyprus, United Nations peacekeepers, including troops from Canada, became trapped in a war zone. They faced many challenges while trying to keep the fragile peace from shattering, and played a critical role as multiple ceasefires were negotiated and formal peace talks began. These negotiations led to the creation of a 180 kilometre “Green Line” that served as a buffer zone across the island, patrolled by United Nations peacekeepers.

“More than 36,000 Canadians have served on peacekeeping operations in Cyprus since 1964, including peacekeeping civilians acting, among others, as Head of Mission for UNFICYP Special Representative of the Secretary-General. Sadly, 28 brave individuals made the ultimate sacrifice in the service of peace.

“In addition, some Canadian peacekeepers continue to live with the physical and psychological injuries they suffered while there.

“The last large deployment of Canadian peacekeepers left Cyprus in 1993, but a continuous Canadian presence – Operation SNOWGOOSE – remains to this day. The operation is one of Canada’s longest overseas military commitments.

On this anniversary, we recognize the high cost of this operation on the Canadian Armed Forces personnel who served there and honour their sacrifices and contributions to peace. Today, our thoughts are with them and their families that supported them.”