Foreign relations of Cyprus

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politics and government of

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]


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.

Cyprus former President Makarios III at a state visit in Munich with the German Chancellor in 1962
Foreign Ministers of the European Union countries in Limassol during Cyprus Presidency of the EU in 2012

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.

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


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.[3]


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 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
 Armenia 1991 See Armenia–Cyprus relations
 Bulgaria 1960 See Bulgaria–Cyprus relations
 Czech Republic 1960s
 Denmark See Cyprus–Denmark relations
 Estonia 22 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.

 Finland 2 September 1961
 Georgia 9 July 1993 See Cyprus-Georgia relations
 Germany 1960 See Cyprus–Germany relations
  • 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.
 Hungary 1960
Republic of Ireland Ireland See Cyprus–Ireland relations
 Italy 1960
 Malta See Cyprus–Malta relations
 Moldova 12 February 1992
 Monaco 24 February 2011
 Montenegro 13 March 2007

Cyprus-Montenegro relations

 Netherlands 1960
 Norway See Cyprus–Norway relations

Cyprus–Norway relations are foreign relations between Cyprus and Norway.[citation needed] Diplomatic relations were established on 22 March 1963.[18] The government in Cyprus considers that "bilateral relations between Cyprus and Norway are excellent in all fields".[19]

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.[20] Both countries are full members of the Council of Europe. Diplomatic relations were established on 22 March 1963.[19]

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.[21]

The taxation levels in Cyprus are considerably lower than in Norway, and Cyprus has actively courted Norwegians to move to Cyprus.[22] Among the Norwegians who moved to Cyprus is the shipping billionaire John Fredriksen, who was the richest man in Norway.[23][24][25]

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.[26] Norwegian Service rig company Prosafe moved their headquarters to Cyprus.[27]

Several Norwegian retirees also moved to Cyprus; this too is largely to benefit from the lower tax rate on Cyprus and the minimal crime.[28][29]

 Poland 1960s See Cyprus–Poland relations
 Romania 16 August 1960
 Russia See 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.
 Serbia See Cyprus–Serbia relations
 Spain 25 December 1967
 Sweden See Cyprus–Sweden 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.


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.

 Guinea-Bissau May 21, 2008

Cyprus-Madagascar relations

 Mauritius February 1, 2001[45]

Cyprus-Mauritius relations


Cyprus-Namibia relations


Cyprus-Seychelles relations

 South Africa December 10, 1993

Cyprus-South Africa relations

 Tunisia 1999


Country Formal relations began Notes
 Brazil July 21, 1964

Brazil-Cyprus relations

 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 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.[60]
  • Cyprus has a high-commission in Ottawa and an honorary consulate in Vancouver.[61]
 Colombia January 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.[62]

 Mexico 1960
 Peru 1966

Cyprus-Peru relations

  • Both countries established diplomatic relations in 1966.[65]
  • Cyprus is represented in Peru through its embassy in Brazilia, Brazil.[43]
 United States See Cyprus–United States relations


Country Formal relations began Notes
 China See Cyprus–China relations
  • China has an embassy in Nicosia.[68]
  • Cyprus has an embassy in Beijing.[69]
 Iran 1960s

Cyprus-Indonesia relations


Cyprus-Indonesia relations

 Israel 1960 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.

 Japan 1962-06
 Jordan 1960
 Kazakhstan 1960
 Mongolia December 19, 1973

Cyprus-Mongolia relations

 North Korea 1995 See Foreign relations of North Korea
 Lebanon 1960
 Oman 1978
 Qatar 1960 See Cyprus–Qatar relations
 Saudi Arabia 1960 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.
  • [2]
 South Korea 28 December 1995[83] See Cyprus – South Korea relations

Cyprus-Thailand relations


Cyprus-Thailand relations

 United Arab Emirates

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


Country Formal relations began Notes
  • Australia has a high commission in Nicosia.[85]
  • Cyprus has a high commission in Canberra.[86]
 New Zealand
 Tonga June 22, 2009


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:[87][88]

The Republic of Cyprus is not recognised by Turkey.

International disputes[edit]

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[89] 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[edit]

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[edit]

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

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "UN Security Council Resolution 155 (1960)" (PDF). United Nations. August 23, 1960. Retrieved January 29, 2007. 
  2. ^ "Cyprus Presidency of the Council of the European Union 2012 - Cyprus Presidency of the Council of the EU (European Union)". Retrieved 19 February 2015. 
  3. ^ 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.
  4. ^ "EMBASSY OF THE REPUBLIC OF CYPRUS IN PRAGUE - Welcome to our Website". Retrieved 2 May 2016. 
  5. ^ "Czech embassy in Nicosia". Retrieved 19 February 2015. 
  6. ^ "EMBASSY OF THE REPUBLIC OF CYPRUS IN COPENHAGEN - Welcome to our Website". Retrieved 2 May 2016. 
  7. ^ Danish embassy in Nicosia
  8. ^ "Embassy Of The Republic Of Cyprus - General Information". Retrieved 19 February 2015. 
  9. ^ "Embassy of Finland, Nicosia". Retrieved 19 February 2015. 
  10. ^ "Embassy of the Republic of Cyprus in Berlin - Home Page". Retrieved 2 May 2016. 
  11. ^ "Deutsche Botschaft Nikosia - Home". Retrieved 19 February 2015. 
  12. ^ Hungarian embassy in Nicosia
  13. ^ "Irish Army on Facebook". Irish Army. Retrieved 27 January 2013. 
  14. ^ Italian embassy in Nicosia
  15. ^ Dizaino Kryptis. "Lietuvos Respublikos užsienio reikalų ministerija - Lietuvos Respublikos užsienio reikalų ministerija". Retrieved 19 February 2015. 
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  17. ^ "Netherlands Embassy in Nicosia, Cyprus". Retrieved 19 February 2015. 
  18. ^ "Kingdom of Norway" (PDF). Cyprus. Retrieved 2010-05-15. 
  19. ^ a b "Cyprus – Norway Bilateral Relations". Embassy of Cyprus in Sweden. Retrieved 3 May 2009. 
  20. ^ "Consulates in Greece and Cyprus". Norway. Archived from the original on 8 April 2010. Retrieved 2010-05-15. There are several Norwegian Honorary Consulates in Greece, and one in Nicosia, Cyprus. 
  21. ^ "Kingdom of Norway" (PDF). Cyprus. Archived from the original (PDF) on 16 July 2011. Retrieved 2010-05-21. 
  22. ^ "Kypros jakter på rike nordmenn". Dagsavisen (in Norwegian). 11 May 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. 
  23. ^ "Norway's richest man no longer". Aftenposten. 11 May 2006. Retrieved 2010-05-15. 
  24. ^ "Skatteflyktet til Kypros". Ukeavisenledelse (in Norwegian). 23 August 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. 
  25. ^ "Fredriksen blir kypriot". Aftenposten (in Norwegian). 10 May 2006. Retrieved 2009-05-06. 
  26. ^ "Norway's Whilhelmsen moving shipping unit to Malta". Reuters. 18 June 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. 
  27. ^ "Rømmer norsk utbytteskatt". E24 Næringsliv (in Norwegian). 9 February 2007. Retrieved 2009-05-06. 
  28. ^ Rowlinson, Liz (9 April 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. 
  29. ^ "Norske pensjonister: Flytter til 8% skatt på Kypros". VG Nett. 4 December 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. 
  30. ^ "Placówki Dyplomatyczne Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej". Retrieved 19 February 2015. 
  31. ^ "Embassy of the Republic of Cyprus in Lisbon - Home Page". Retrieved 2 May 2016. 
  32. ^ "AMBASADA ROMÂNIEI în Republica Cipru". Retrieved 19 February 2015. 
  33. ^ 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
  34. ^ Slovakian embassy in Nicosia
  35. ^ Cyprus embassy in Madrid
  36. ^ Spanish embassy in Nicosia (in Spanish only)
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  43. ^ a b c d e Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Cyprus
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  45. ^ a b Ministry of foreign Affairs of Cyprus
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  50. ^ Ministry of foreign Affairs of Cyprus
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  54. ^ Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Cyprus
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  58. ^ Ministry Foreign Affairs of Cyprus
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  60. ^ "Embassy of Canada". Retrieved 2 May 2016. 
  61. ^ "CONSULATE OF THE REPUBLIC OF CYPRUS IN TORONTO - Welcome to our Website". Retrieved 2 May 2016. 
  62. ^ "- Cancillería". Cancillería. Retrieved 19 February 2015. 
  63. ^ "EMBASSY OF THE REPUBLIC OF CYPRUS IN MEXICO - Welcome to our Website". Retrieved 2 May 2016. 
  64. ^ "Bienvenidos a la portada". Retrieved 2 May 2016. 
  65. ^ Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Cyprus
  66. ^ "Official Website of the Embassy of the Republic of Cyprus in Washington D.C.". Retrieved 2 May 2016. 
  67. ^ "Home - Nicosia, Cyprus - Embassy of the United States". Retrieved 2 May 2016. 
  69. ^ "Embassy of the Republic of Cyprus in Beijing - Home Page". Retrieved 2 May 2016. 
  70. ^ Indian high commission in Nicosia
  71. ^ "EMBASSY OF THE REPUBLIC OF CYPRUS IN TEHRAN - Welcome to our Website". Retrieved 2 May 2016. 
  72. ^ Ministry Foreign Affairs of Cyprus
  73. ^ Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Indonesia
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  77. ^ "Error-2010-f3". Retrieved 2 May 2016. 
  78. ^ "Embassy of Cyprus in Kazakhstan". Retrieved 19 February 2015. 
  79. ^ of Foreign Affairs of Mongolia
  80. ^ Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Cyprus
  81. ^ [1]
  82. ^ Cyprus embassy in Beirut
  83. ^ a b Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Republic of Korea. "Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Republic of Korea-Europe". Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Republic of Korea. Retrieved 2 May 2016. 
  84. ^ "MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS - Cyprus Diplomatic Missions Abroad - THAILAND". Retrieved 2 May 2016. 
  85. ^ "Home". Retrieved 2 May 2016. 
  86. ^ High Commission of Cyprus in Canberra
  87. ^ Cyprus diplomatic relations
  88. ^ "MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS - Cyprus Diplomatic Missions Abroad". Retrieved 2 May 2016. 
  89. ^ 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