United Nations names first female peacekeeping mission commander

(Photo: REUTERS / Neil Hall)A sign marking the boundary of the United Nations buffer zone stands in the village of Pyla in Cyprus March 11, 2014.

UNITED NATIONS, May 12 (Reuters) - The United Nations appointed on Monday the first woman to command one of the world body's peacekeeping operations.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon named Major General Kristin Lund, of Norway, as the force commander for the U.N. peacekeeping operation in Cyprus. She will replace Major General Chao Liu, of China, on Aug. 13.

"Major General Lund has had a distinguished military career, with over 34 years of military command and staff experience at national and international levels," Ban said in a statement.

Lund will command some 900 troops and police that monitor a 112-mile (180-km) buffer zone that has separated Greek and Turkish Cypriots for decades. Turkey invaded Cyprus's north in 1974 after a Greek-inspired coup. It provides political and financial support to a breakaway Turkish Cypriot state there.

(Reporting by Michelle Nichols; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)