Foreign relations of Cyprus

Foreign relations of Cyprus

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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 stub.svg

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 Greece.

Cyprus former President Makarios III at a state visit in Munich with the German Chancellor in 1962

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.

Cyprus representations abroad
  resident embassy
  non-resident embassy
  diplomatic relations only, but no mission

  states that don't recognise the Republic of Cyprus

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.

Cyprus is expanding relations with Russia, Israel, and Syria, from which it purchases most of its oil. In the past it had some difficulty with both Israel and Egypt.

Presidents of Russia and Cyprus meet at least once every year.
Cyprus president Dimitris Christofias and Cyprus first lady with U.S. President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama


Cyprus has frequently expressed concern over Israel's close defense relationship with Turkey. 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.


Turkey flatly refuses to 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 Turkey recognizes. Turkey refers to the Republic of Cyprus government as "The Greek Cypriot Administration of South 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. However Cyprus is in favor of Turkey's Accession to the EU with the hope it will facilitate a viable and just solution of the Cyprus Problem.[2]


Cyprus embassy in Stockholm
Cyprus embassy in Moscow

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 March 31, 1998. Cyprus joined the European Union on May 1, 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
 Armenia 1991
 Austria See Foreign relations of Austria
 Bosnia and Herzegovina See Foreign relations of Bosnia and Herzegovina
 Croatia See Foreign relations of Croatia
 Czech Republic 1960s
 Estonia January 22, 1992
  • Cyprus recognized the Republic of Estonia on September 12, 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.

 Finland September 2, 1961
 Georgia July 9, 1993
  • Cyprus has an embassy in Athens and a consulate-general in Thessaloniki.
  • Greece has an embassy in Nicosia.
 Hungary 1960
 Italy 1960
 Malta See Cyprus – Malta relations
 Moldova February 12, 1992
 Montenegro March 13, 2007
 Netherlands 1960
 Norway See Cyprus-Norway relations

Cyprus-Norway relations are foreign relations between Cyprus and Norway. Diplomatic relations were established on March 22, 1963.[16] The government in Cyprus considers that "bilateral relations between Cyprus and Norway are excellent in all fields".[17]

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.[18] Both countries are full members of the Council of Europe. Diplomatic relations were established on 22 March 1963.[17]

On August 21, 1951 there was a Consular Convention and an Exchange of Letters relating to establishing diplomatic relations. On May 2, 1951 there was a Convention for the Avoidance of Double Taxation and the Prevention of Fiscal Evasion with respect to Taxes on Income. On May 17, 1962 there was an Exchange of Letters constituting an Agreement on the Abolition of Visa Requirement in Nicosia. On March 5, 1963 there was an Agreement on Commercial Scheduled Air Transport signed in London.[19]

Norway provides direct funding to the Cypriot Government and also to local authorities, NGOs and educational institutions through EEA and Norway Grants.[20] The NGO Fund in Cyprus is co-financed by the European Economic Area (EEA) Financial Mechanism and the Norwegian Financial Mechanism. It was established in 2004.[21] In 2006, Norway increased its commitment to offer a total contribution of 4.66 million euros.[21] In 2007 a delegation from the EEA and Norway Grants went to Cyprus to "monitor the spending of Norwegian funds given to Cyprus as part of the European Economic Area."[22] In 2008 Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre traveled to Cyprus to meet President Demetris Christofias. They met to discuss Norway's assistance to the Cypriot village of Salamiou, in Paphos. The Norwegians plan to rebuild an old elementary school in the village. It will then become a Regional Centre for Environmental Education at the cost of € 735,000.[23]

The taxation levels in Cyprus are considerably lower than in Norway, and Cyprus has actively courted Norwegians to move to Cyprus.[24] Among the Norwegians who moved to Cyprus is the shipping billionaire John Fredriksen, who was the richest man in Norway.[25][26][27]

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.[28] Norwegian Service rig company Prosafe moved their headquarters to Cyprus.[29]

Several Norwegian retirees also moved to Cyprus; this too is largely to benefit from the lower tax rate on Cyprus and the minimal crime.[30][31] The Norwegian colony on Cyprus is in Paphos.[31]

 Poland 1960s See Cyprus–Poland relations
 Romania August 16, 1960
 Russia See Cyprus–Russia relations
  • The USSR established diplomatic relations with the newly independent Republic of Cyprus on August 18, 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.
 Serbia 1960
 Spain December 25, 1967
 Sweden See Sweden-Cyprus relations
 United Kingdom See Cyprus–United Kingdom relations
  • The two countries share membership of the European Union and Commonwealth of Nations.
  • Cyprus gained its independence from the United Kingdom in 1961, after 83 years of British control.

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.

North Africa

Country Formal Relations Began Notes
 Algeria See Algeria–Cyprus relations
 Egypt See Cyprus–Egypt relations
  • Cyprus has an embassy in Cairo.
  • Egypt has an embassy in Nicosia.

Egypt is a close ally, sharing as it does an oilfield with Cyprus.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.

 Tunisia 1999

Middle East

Country Formal Relations Began Notes
 Iran 1960s
 Israel 1960 See Israel-Cyprus relations
 Lebanon 1960
 Oman 1978
 Qatar 1960 See Qatar-Cyprus relations

Far East

Country Formal Relations Began Notes
 Japan 1962-06
 People's Republic of China See Foreign relations of the People's Republic of China
 South Korea December 28, 1995

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

Rest of World

Country Formal Relations Began Notes
 Australia See Foreign relations of Australia
 Canada See 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 UN, 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 OSCE and the Commonwealth of Nations.

 Mexico 1960
 New Zealand
 United States See Cyprus – United States relations

The United States regards the status quo on Cyprus as unacceptable.


The Republic of Cyprus maintains diplomatic relations with 177 states (including the Holy See and Palestine) and is member of the European Union. It does not maintain diplomatic relations with:[51][52]

The Republic of Cyprus is not recognised by Turkey and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.

Disputes - international

Condoleezza Rice by US ambassadors in Larnaca International Airport, Cyprus

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[53] 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.

See also


  1. ^ "UN Security Council Resolution 155 (1960)" (PDF). United Nations. August 23, 1960. Retrieved January 29, 2007. 
  2. ^ Stephanos Constantinides and Jean Catsiapis Cyprus, Greece, Turkey. From The Summit of Helsinki to The Summit of Nice, Etudes helléniques / Hellenic Studies, 9 (2), Spring 2001. ISSN 0824-8621
  3. ^ Cyprus embassy in Prague
  4. ^ Czech embassy in Nicosia
  5. ^ Cyprus embassy in Copenhagen
  6. ^ Danish embassy in Nicosia
  7. ^ Cyprus embassy in Helsinki
  8. ^ Finish embassy in Nicosia
  9. ^ Cyprus embassy in Berlin
  10. ^ German embassy Nicosia
  11. ^ Hungarian embassy in Nicosia
  12. ^ Italian embassy in Nicosia
  13. ^ Lithuanian embassy in Athens (also accredited to Cyprus)
  14. ^ Cyprus embassy in The Hague
  15. ^ Dutch embassy in Nicosia
  16. ^ "Kingdom of Norway". Cyprus.$file/Norway.pdf?OpenElement. Retrieved 2010-05-15. 
  17. ^ a b "Cyprus – Norway Bilateral Relations". Embassy of Cyprus in Sweden. Retrieved May 03, 2009. 
  18. ^ "Consulates in Greece and Cyprus". Norway. Retrieved 2010-05-15. "There are several Norwegian Honorary Consulates in Greece, and one in Nicosia, Cyprus." [dead link]
  19. ^ "Kingdom of Norway". Cyprus.$file/Norway.pdf%3FOpenElement. Retrieved 2010-05-21. [dead link]
  20. ^ "Norwegian partners get valuable insight in Cyprus". Royal Norwegian Embassy in Athens. 2008. Retrieved 2010-05-15. [dead link]
  21. ^ a b "NGO Fund Launch Event". The Fund for Non Governmental Organisations in Cyprus. Retrieved May 01, 2009. 
  22. ^ "Norway allocates 4.7 million euro to Cyprus". Cyprus News Agency. November 13, 2007. Retrieved 2010-05-16. "A delegation of the Norwegian EEA Financial Mechanism is on the island to monitor the spending of Norwegian funds given to Cyprus as part of the European Economic Area Agreement. A meeting on this issue was held at the Planning Bureau between the Norwegian delegation and a Cypriot ..." 
  23. ^ "Norway’s FM visits to inaugurate environmental project". Cyprus Mail. June 29, 2008. Retrieved 2010-05-21. 
  24. ^ "Kypros jakter på rike nordmenn" (in Norwegian). Dagsavisen. May 11, 2006. Retrieved 2009-05-06. "Det ble i går kjent at skipsreder John Fredriksen tidligere Norges rikeste mann har gitt opp sitt norske pass og blitt kypriot. Fredriksen kom dermed kypriotene i forkjøpet." 
  25. ^ "Norway's richest man no longer". Aftenposten. May 11, 2006. Retrieved 2010-05-15. 
  26. ^ "Skatteflyktet til Kypros" (in Norwegian). Ukeavisenledelse. August 23, 2006. Retrieved 2010-05-15. "Norges rikeste mann, god for minst 33 milliarder kroner, John Fredriksen (61), har gitt opp sitt norske statsborgerskap og allerede fått innvilget kypriotisk – av skattemessige årsaker." 
  27. ^ "Fredriksen blir kypriot" (in Norwegian). Aftenposten. May 10, 2006. Retrieved 2009-05-06. 
  28. ^ "Norway's Whilhelmsen moving shipping unit to Malta". Reuters. June 18, 2008. Retrieved 2010-05-15. "The changes were aimed at making Norwegian shipping rules more like those in the European Union, but industry groups have said the move might force some to register in tax havens such as Bermuda or Cyprus." 
  29. ^ "Rømmer norsk utbytteskatt" (in Norwegian). E24 Næringsliv. February 9, 2007. Retrieved 2009-05-06. 
  30. ^ Rowlinson, Liz (April 9, 2009). "Cyprus is surging forward with state-of-the-art homes". Daily Mail (London). Retrieved 2010-05-21. "What's more, since Norway's richest man, John Fredriksen, took Cypriot citizenship in 2006, the flow of his fellow countrymen has increased, too, with investors taking advantage of the lowest income tax in Europe and minimal crime rates." 
  31. ^ a b "Norske pensjonister: Flytter til 8% skatt på Kypros". VG Nett. December 4, 2008. Retrieved 2009-05-06. "Low taxation, low living costs and summery winter temperature limits more and more Norwegians to settle on the Mediterranean island. Now we have established a Norwegian "colony" in Paphos in Cyprus similar seen in Spain." 
  32. ^ Polish embassy in Nicosia
  33. ^ Cyprus embassy in Lisbon
  34. ^ Romanian embassy in Nicosia
  35. ^ Serbian Ministry of Foreign Affairs about relations with Cyprus
    • The Cypriot Minister voiced his full support to Serbia’s territorial integrity and EU integration, which should lead to full EU membership.
    • Serbian embassy in Nicosia
  36. ^ Slovakian embassy in Nicosia
  37. ^ Cyprus embassy in Madrid
  38. ^ Spanish embassy in Nicosia (in Spanish only)
  39. ^ "Swedish, Finn Troops Due on Cyprus Today". Chicago Tribune. March 26, 1964. Retrieved June 11, 2009. "The full contingents from Sweden, Ireland, and Finland are due within the next month to bring the ..." 
  40. ^ Cyprus embassy in Stockholm
  41. ^ Swedish embassy in Nicosia
  42. ^ Cyprus honorary consulate in Kiev (in Ukrainian only)
  43. ^ Ukrainian embassy in Nicosia
  44. ^ "Cyprus’ Ambassador to Algeria presents credentials - 13 October 2006". Cyprus' Ministry of Foreign. Retrieved May 1, 2009. 
  45. ^ Cyprus embassy in Lisbon (also accredited to Morocco)
  46. ^ Cyprus Ministry of Foreign Affairs: directions of the 2 honorary consulates of Morocco in Cyprus
  47. ^ Cyprus embassy in Tehran
  48. ^ Israeli embassy in Nicosia
  49. ^ Cyprus embassy in Beirut
  50. ^ Indian high commission in Nicosia
  51. ^ Cyprus diplomatic relations
  52. ^ Cypriot diplomatic missions abroad
  53. ^ Christopher Hitchens, Uncorking the Genie: The Cyprus Question and Turkey's Military Rule MERIP Reports, No. 122, Turkey under Military Rule (Mar. - Apr., 1984), pp. 25-27, doi:10.2307/3011799

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