Foreign relations of Cyprus

This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
Cyprus

Cyprus is a member of the United Nations[1] along with most of its agencies as well as the Commonwealth of Nations, World Bank, International Monetary Fund and Council of Europe. In addition, the country has signed the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) and the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency Agreement (MIGA). Cyprus has been a member of the European Union since 2004 and in the second half of the 2012 it held the Presidency of the Council of the European Union.[2]

Non-alignment

Cyprus has historically followed a non-aligned foreign policy, although it increasingly identifies with the West in its cultural affinities and trade patterns, and maintains close relations with European Union, Greece and Israel.

The prime originator of Cypriot non-alignment was Makarios III, the first President (1960–1977) of the independent republic of Cyprus. Prior to independence, Makarios - by virtue of his post as Archbishop of Cyprus and head of the Cypriot Orthodox Church - was the Greek Cypriot Ethnarch, or de facto leader of the community. A highly influential figure well before independence, he participated in the 1955 Bandung Conference. After independence, Makarios took part in the 1961 founding meeting of the Non-Aligned Movement in Belgrade.

Reasons for this neutrality may lie in the extreme pressures exerted on the infant Republic by its larger neighbours, Turkey and Greece. Intercommunal rivalries and movements for union with Greece or partial union with Turkey may have persuaded Makarios to steer clear of close affiliation with either side. In any case Cyprus became a high-profile member of the Non-Aligned Movement and retained its membership until its entry into the European Union in 2004. At the non-governmental level, Cyprus has also been a member of the popular extension of the Non-Aligned Movement, the Afro-Asian Peoples' Solidarity Organisation hosting several high-level meetings.

Immediately after the 1974 Greek-sponsored coup d'état and the Turkish invasion, Makarios secured international recognition of his administration as the legitimate government of the whole island. This was disputed only by Turkey, which currently recognises only the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, established in 1983.

Since the 1974 crisis, the chief aim of the foreign policy of the Republic of Cyprus has been to secure the withdrawal of Turkish forces and the reunification of the island under the most favourable constitutional and territorial settlement possible. This campaign has been pursued primarily through international forums such as the United Nations and the Non-Aligned Movement, and in recent years through the European Union.


Bilateral relations

Africa

Country Formal relations began Notes
 Algeria See Algeria–Cyprus relations
 BotswanaFebruary 22, 2005

Diplomatic relations between Botswana and Cyprus were established on February 22, 2005.[4]

 Burundi
 Cape Verde2000

Both countries established diplomatic relations on May 31, 2000[9].

 Comoros

Cyprus is represented in Comoros by its embassy in Pretoria.[10]

 EgyptSee Cyprus–Egypt relations
  • Cyprus has an embassy in Cairo.
  • Egypt has an embassy in Nicosia.

Egypt is a close ally of Cyprus with whom it shares an oilfield. Egypt Conquered Cyprus many times in both ancient, Medieval and Modern era and it was ruled by Egyptians during many period which added bases of Egyptian culture to the local culture and supported increasing the relationship between both countries for many ages, The relationship between the two countries was also strained in February 1978 when Cypriot National Guardsmen shot dead Egyptian Commandos at Larnaca International Airport when the commandos attempted to intervene in a hostage situation.

 GambiaDecember 8, 2000

Both countries established diplomatic relations on December 8, 2000.[11]

 Guinea-BissauMay 21, 2008
 Lesotho25 February 2004
  • Both countries established diplomatic relations on 25 February 2004.[12]
  • Cyprus is represented in Lesotho through its embassy in Pretoria, South Africa.[13]
  • Lesotho is represented in Cyprus via parallel accreditation of its embassy in London.[14]
  • Both countries are full members of Commonwealth of Nations.
 Libya
 Madagascar
 Malawi
 Mauritania
  • Cyprus is represented in Mauritania by its embassy in Tripoli.[18]
  • Mauritania is represented in Cyprus by its embassy in Rome.[19]
 MauritiusFebruary 1, 2001[20]
 Morocco
 Namibia
 São Tomé and Príncipe

Both countries established diplomatic relations on November 7, 2000[25].

 Sierra Leone

Both countries established diplomatic relations on November 22, 2000[26].

 Seychelles
 South AfricaDecember 10, 1993
  • Both countries established diplomatic relations on December 10, 1993.[30][31]
  • Cyprus has a High Commission in Pretoria.[15]
  • South Africa is represented in Cyprus through its embassy in Athens, Greece.[30]
 Swaziland
 Togo

Cyprus is represented in Togo by its embassy in Paris, France[34].

 Tunisia1999
 Zambia


Americas

Country Formal relations began Notes
 Argentina
 Belize
  • Both countries established diplomatic relations on July 21, 2000.[41]
  • Cyprus is represented in Belize through its embassy in Mexico.[13]
  • Both countries are members of Commonwealth of Nations.
 BrazilJuly 21, 1964
  • Diplomatic relations were established on July 21, 1964[42]
  • Cyprus has an embassy in Brasilia.[43]
  • Brazil has an embassy in Nicosia.[44]
 CanadaSee Canada–Cyprus relations

Canadian bilateral political relations with Cyprus stemmed initially from Cypriot Commonwealth membership at independence in 1960 (that had followed a guerrilla struggle with Britain). These relations quickly expanded in 1964 when Canada became a major troop contributor to UNFICYP. The participation lasted for the next 29 years, during which 50,000 Canadian soldiers served and 28 were killed. In large measure Canadian relations with Cyprus continue to revolve around support for the ongoing efforts of the United Nations, G8 and others to resolve the Island's divided status. Contacts with Cyprus on other issues also take place in international organizations such as the UN, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe and the Commonwealth of Nations.

  • Canada is accredited to Cyprus from its high commission in Athens, Greece and an honorary consulate in Nicosia.[45]
  • Cyprus has a high-commission in Ottawa and an honorary consulate in Vancouver.[46]
 ColombiaJanuary 25, 1966
  • Colombia is represented in Cyprus through its embassy in Rome, Italy.
  • Cyprus is represented in Colombia through its embassy in Mexico City, Mexico.

In 2010, both Ministers of Foreign Affairs signed a cooperation agreement regarding tourism and the war on drugs.[47]

 Dominica2001[48]

Both countries are members of the Commonwealth of Nations. A Joint Communiqué on the Establishment of Diplomatic Relations between the Republic of Cyprus and the Commonwealth of Dominica was signed on the 13 June 2001 in New York[48]

 GuyanaMay 11, 2011
 Mexico1960
 Panama1971

Both countries established diplomatic relations on 1 April 1971.[53]

 Peru1966
  • Both countries established diplomatic relations in 1966.[54]
  • Cyprus is represented in Peru through its embassy in Brasilia, Brazil.[15]
 Saint Vincent and the Grenadines2006
 Trinidad and Tobago
 United StatesSee Cyprus–United States relations


Asia

Country Formal relations began Notes
 Armenia1991See Armenia–Cyprus relations
 ChinaSee Cyprus–China relations
 East Timor2002

Both countries established diplomatic relations on June 12, 2002.[61]

 Georgia9 July 1993See Cyprus-Georgia relations
 India
 Iran1960s
 Indonesia
  • Diplomatic relations were established on December 4, 1987[64][65]
  • Cyprus is represented in Cyprus through its embassy in Canberra, Australia.[66]
  • Indonesia is represented in Cyprus through its embassy in Rome, Italy.[67]
 Israel1960 See Cyprus–Israel relations

In the case of Israel, Cyprus has occasionally outwardly backed the Palestinians in the Arab–Israeli conflict, to the annoyance of some in the Israeli government. Cyprus, like over 100 other countries, officially recognizes Palestine as a de facto state. The island is also host to a number of Palestinian and Lebanese refugees.

Relations between the two countries continued to suffer when Cypriot first lady Antroulla Vasiliou, the wife of President George Vasiliou, was declared persona non grata in Israel when a delegation she was leading attempted to meet with Yasser Arafat, who was under house arrest.

Controversy and public outcry arose in the early 2000s, when members of the Cypriot branch of the Greek Orthodox Church were accused of selling church-owned land in the West Bank to Israeli developers, putting Cypriot commitment to the Palestinian cause at question. The expulsion of two alleged Israeli spies from the island in 1998 also caused tension between the two governments.

The two countries now appear to be on improving terms, there has been coopertation on numerous areas but mostly on agriculture, military and tourism. The Cypriot government has also been reported to be making deals with both Israel and Egypt in exploring for oil off the southern Cyprus coast.

Israeli foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman visited Cyprus at the invitation of his Cypriot counterpart when Netanyahu was in Washington for the direct talks with the Palestinian leader. Lieberman and Cyprus foreign minister Kyprianou have met several times this year in an effort to strengthen relations between their countries.

 Japan1962-06
 Jordan1960
 Kazakhstan1960
 Kyrgyzstan1992
 MongoliaDecember 19, 1973
  • Both countries established diplomatic relations on December 19, 1973.[72][73]
  • Cyprus is represented in Mongolia through its embassy in Beijing, China.[15]
  • Mongolia is represented in Cyprus through its embassy in Sofia, Bulgaria[74]
 North Korea1991
 Lebanon1960
 Maldives1997
 Oman1978
 Qatar1960 See Cyprus–Qatar relations
 Saudi Arabia1960 See Cyprus–Saudi Arabia relations
  • Cyprus is represented through its honorary consulate in Jeddah.
  • Saudi Arabia is represented through its embassy in Nicosia.
  • Both countries are members of the United Nations.
 South Korea28 December 1995[79]
  • The establishment of diplomatic relations between the Republic of Korea and the Republic of Cyprus began on 28 December 1995.
  • The Republic of Cyprus is accredited to the Republic of Korea from its non-resident ambassador based in Canberra (Australia).
  • The Republic of Korea is accredited to Cyprus from its non-resident ambassador based in Athens (Greece) and an honorary consulate in Nicosia.
 Sri Lanka
 Syria
 Tajikistan
 Thailand
 Turkey

Turkey does not recognize the government of the Republic of Cyprus, stating that the Republic—as established by the Constitution of 1960—ceased to exist when the intercommunal violence that commenced in December 1963 ended Turkish Cypriot participation in the Cypriot government. The attempted coup in July 1974—engineered by Greek Military Junta—was responded to by Turkey by a full military invasion, which resulted in the northern third of the island being occupied by Turkish military forces. This portion of Cyprus unilaterally declared independence in November 1983 as the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), which only Turkey recognizes. Turkey refers to the Republic of Cyprus government as "The Greek Cypriot Administration of Southern Cyprus."

Cyprus takes the view that the TRNC government is a puppet administration, and thus prefers to negotiate with Turkey over the resolution of the Cyprus Problem. Turkey insists that the TRNC government is the institution that the RoC government must refer to in negotiations.

Cyprus' accession to the European Union has had a negative impact on Turkey in regards to its own accession negotiations. The refusal of Turkey to allow Cypriot-flagged ships to access Turkish ports has resulted in a partial suspension of its accession negotiations.

 United Arab Emirates
 Vietnam

Cyprus is represented in Vietnam through its embassy in New Delhi, India. Vietnam is represented in Cyprus through its embassy in Tripoli, Libya.


Europe

Cyprus' 1990 application for full EU membership caused a storm in the Turkish Cypriot community, which argued that the move required their consent. Following the December 1997 EU Summit decisions on EU enlargement, accession negotiations began 31 March 1998. Cyprus joined the European Union on 1 May 2004. To fulfil its commitment as a member of the European Union, Cyprus withdrew from the Non-Aligned Movement on accession, retaining observer status.

Country Formal relations began Notes
 Albania1991
  • Both countries established diplomatic relations on 28 August 1991.[86]
  • Albania is represented in Cyprus by its embassy in Athens, Greece[87] and an honorary consulate in Larnaca.[88]
  • Cyprus is represented in Albania by its embassy in Athens, Greece[13][89] and an honorary consulate in Tirane.[90]
  • Both countries have a number of bilateral agreements.[91]
 Bulgaria1960See Bulgaria–Cyprus relations
 Czech Republic1960sSee Cyprus–Czech Republic relations
 DenmarkSee Cyprus–Denmark relations
 Estonia22 January 1992
  • Cyprus recognized the Republic of Estonia on 12 September 1991.
  • Cyprus is represented in Estonia through its embassy in Helsinki (Finland).
  • Estonia is represented in Cyprus through its embassy in Athens (Greece) and through 2 honorary consulates in Nicosia.

Both countries are full members of the European Union.

 Finland2 September 1961
 France
 Germany1960See Cyprus–Germany relations
 Greece
  • See Cyprus–Greece relations
  • Cyprus has an embassy in Athens and a consulate-general in Thessaloniki.
  • Greece has an embassy in Nicosia.
  • Both countries are members of the European Union.
  • The Greek Cypriot majority in Cyprus and the ethnic Greek population of Greece share a common ethnicity, heritage, language, and religion, leading to an exceptionally close relationship between the two countries.
 Hungary1960
IrelandSee Cyprus–Ireland relations
 Italy1960
 Lithuania
 Malta See Cyprus–Malta relations
 Moldova12 February 1992
 Monaco24 February 2011
 Montenegro13 March 2007
 Netherlands1960
 NorwaySee Cyprus–Norway relations

Cyprus–Norway relations are foreign relations between Cyprus and Norway. Diplomatic relations were established on 22 March 1963.[106] The government in Cyprus considers that "bilateral relations between Cyprus and Norway are excellent in all fields".[107]

Neither country has resident ambassadors. Cyprus is represented in Norway through its embassy in Stockholm, Sweden, and 2 honorary consulates, one in Oslo and the second in Kristiansand. Norway is represented in Cyprus through its embassy in Athens, Greece, and an honorary consulate in Nicosia.[108] Both countries are full members of the Council of Europe. Diplomatic relations were established on 22 March 1963.[107]

On 21 August 1951, there was a Consular Convention and an Exchange of Letters relating to establishing diplomatic relations. On 2 May 1951, there was a Convention for the Avoidance of Double Taxation and the Prevention of Fiscal Evasion with respect to Taxes on Income. On 17 May 1962, there was an Exchange of Letters constituting an Agreement on the Abolition of Visa Requirement in Nicosia. On 5 March 1963, there was an Agreement on Commercial Scheduled Air Transport signed in London.[109]

The taxation levels in Cyprus are considerably lower than in Norway, and Cyprus has actively courted Norwegians to move to Cyprus.[110] Among the Norwegians who moved to Cyprus is the shipping billionaire John Fredriksen, who was the richest man in Norway.[111][112][113]

In 1996 tax rules in Norway were changed to keep shipping companies competitive and under the Norwegian flag. By 2008 changes to the tonnage tax regime to harmonize them with the European Union forced some companies to register in Cyprus.[114] Norwegian Service rig company Prosafe moved their headquarters to Cyprus.[115]

Several Norwegian retirees also moved to Cyprus; this too is largely to benefit from the lower tax rate on Cyprus and the minimal crime.[116][117]

 Poland1960sSee Cyprus–Poland relations
 Portugal
 Romania16 August 1960
 RussiaSee Cyprus–Russia relations
  • The USSR established diplomatic relations with the newly independent Republic of Cyprus on 18 August 1960.
  • Cooperation between both countries has increased since the 1990s and the fall of the USSR.
  • Cyprus has an embassy in Moscow.
  • Russia has an embassy in Nicosia.
 SerbiaSee Cyprus–Serbia relations
 Slovakia
 Slovenia
 Spain25 December 1967
 SwedenSee Cyprus–Sweden relations
 Ukraine
 United KingdomSee Cyprus–United Kingdom relations

The continuing British sovereignty of the Dhekelia and Akrotiri areas, has continued to divide Cypriots. The base areas are not under the jurisdiction of the Cypriot government. Several Cypriot villages remain enclaved in the areas, and there have been numerous arrests of anti-British demonstrators over the past few years. These activists assert that the UK should not continue to hold territory in another EU state.


Oceania

Country Formal relations began Notes
 Australia
  • Australia has a high commission in Nicosia.[129]
  • Cyprus has a high commission in Canberra.[130]
 Fiji
 Nauru2000

Both countries established diplomatic relations on March 23, 2000[131].

 New Zealand
 SamoaMarch 24, 2000

Both countries established diplomatic relations on March 24, 2000[132][133].

 Solomon IslandsMay 5, 2010
 TongaJune 22, 2009
 Vanuatu

Overview

The Republic of Cyprus maintains diplomatic relations with 178 states (including the Holy See and Palestinian National Authority ) and is United Nations, Union for the Mediterranean and European Union full member. It does not maintain diplomatic relations with:[135][136]

The Republic of Cyprus is not recognised by Turkey.

International disputes

The 1974 invasion of the Turkish army divided the island nation into two. The internationally recognised Republic of Cyprus currently has effective control in the south of the island (59% of the island's land area) while its area not under its effective control makes up 37% of the island. Turkey utilising the territory occupied during the invasion recognizes a declared separatist[137] UDI of Turkish Cypriots in 1983, contrary to multiple United Nations Security Council Resolutions. The two territories of the Republic are separated by a United Nations Buffer Zone (4% of the island); there are two UK sovereign base areas mostly within the Greek Cypriot portion of the island.

Illicit drugs

Cyprus is a minor transit point for heroin and hashish via air routes and container traffic to Europe, especially from Lebanon; some cocaine transits as well. The island has also been criticised for supposedly lax arms control legislation.

Cyprus and the Commonwealth of Nations

See also; Cyprus and the Commonwealth of Nations

Although Cyprus became an independent republic in 1960, Cyprus has been a member state of the Commonwealth of Nations since 1961.

See also

References

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