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  International Relations

The Republic of Cyprus, although small in size, has traditionally played ever since its establishment in 1960, an important role in regional and world politics.

Cyprus has developed and maintains good relations with all countries, some of which have conflicting interests, and has on many occasions been the venue place of important events and a bridge of communication.

The Republic of Cyprus has pursued throughout the Cold War years a non-aligned policy and remains to this day an active partner of the Non-Aligned Movement. However, the prevailing feature has always been the island's strong political, social, cultural and historical bonds with Europe. The Republic joined the Council of Europe in 1961 and has been strongly involved in all of its political organs and machinery.The Republic is also a member of the Commonwealth of Nations since 1961 and participates regularly and actively in all of its bodies and activities. In 1993 Cyprus hosted the Commonwealth Summit Meeting.

Cyprus joined the United Nations Organization (UN) soon after becoming independent. The UN became heavily involved in peace-keeping and peace-making roles after the first phase of intercommunal strife in 1963. The United Nations Peace Keeping Force (UNFICYP) was formed in March 1964 and it is stationed since then on the island. A number of UN secretary-general emissaries have also been involved in a peace- making role both before and after the 1974 Turkish invasion but up to that moment with only limited success. The UN secretary-general continues to have the mandate of the Security Council to pursue efforts for the peaceful settlement of the political issue on the island. The Government of the Republic is considering the UN as its mainstay in the ongoing struggle to restore its independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity and human rights of its citizens, which have been heavily infringed upon as a result of the Turkish invasion and continuing occupation of more than one third of the territory of the Republic. It actively participates in most of the bodies and institutions of the World Organization.

Security is an issue of major concern for Cyprus and for this reason the Government of the Republic welcomed the Helsinki Final Act (1975) which led to the establishment of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE), transformed into the Organization on Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) with a mandate to strive for the achievement of stability, security and economic development throughout Europe. Within this broad context Cyprus hopes that a viable security framework would guarantee its sovereignty and territorial integrity as well. In the region Cyprus maintains excellent relations with both the Arab countries and Israel. It supports the ongoing peace process in the Middle East and could potentially play a more substantial role in the consolidation phase of the peace process.

Finally, Cyprus maintains living bonds with many countries of the world through the physical presence on their territory of thriving Cypriot communities. Overseas Cypriots are indeed the island's best ambassadors abroad.

European Union

Cyprus is since May 2004 a full member of the European Union.

Cyprus initially showed an interest to establish an Association Agreement with the EEC in the early sixties in parallel with the British application for full membership to the EC. However with the freezing of the British application, its interest remained dormant until 1971 when it was reactivated almost simultaneously with the renewed efforts of the United Kingdom to join the European Community. Cyprus entered in 1971 into negotiations with the Community, which was to lead to the signing on 19th December 1972 of an Association Agreement between the two parties. The final scope of the said Agreement was the completion in two stages and within a period of ten years of a Customs Union between Cyprus and the EEC.

Unfortunately the Turkish invasion and occupation of 37% of the territory of Cyprus, which caused a serious economic upheaval, delayed the normal implementation of the Association Agreement and in particular of its second stage. Finally and after successive extensions of the first stage, a Protocol for the second stage of the Association Agreement was signed in Luxembourg on 19th October 1987, paving the way towards the progressive realization of a Customs Union between the two parties. Under the provisions of this Protocol, the Customs Union between Cyprus and the E.U. should be completed by the year 2002 or 2003 at the latest. Both the E.U. and Cyprus are required to eliminate all tariffs and quantitative restriction on all manufactured goods and a number of clearly defined agricultural products (mainly potatoes, citrus fruit, other fruit and vegetables and wine). In parallel Cyprus will adopt progressively the Common External Tariff (CET) of the Union with the aim to bring its own customs tariffs into line with those of the E.U. by the end of 1997.

On 4 July 1990 Cyprus submitted an official application for full membership of the Communities and on 30 June 1993 the EC Commission issued its opinion on Cyprus application. Through the opinion the EC Commission confirmed that the Community considers Cyprus as eligible for membership and added that it is ready to start the process leading to the island's accession as soon as the prospect of a settlement of the Cyprus problem is surer. It also undertook to reassess the situation in January 1995 should the intercommoned talks fail to produce a settlement.

Meanwhile on 19 and 20 July 1993 the EC Council of Ministers heard a presentation by the Commission of its opinion on Cyprus' request for accession to the EC. On 4 October 1993 the Council presented its conclusions:

The Council supported the Commission's approach which was to propose, without awaiting a peaceful, balanced and lasting solution to the Cyprus problem, to use all the instruments offered by the Association Agreement to help, in close cooperation with the Cypriot Government, with the economic, social and political transition of Cyprus towards integration into the European Union. To that end the Council invited the Commission to open substantive discussions forthwith with the Government of Cyprus to help it prepare for the accession negotiations to follow later on under the best possible conditions, and to keep it regularly informed of the progress.

The Council also confirmed the Community's support for the efforts made by the United Nations secretary-general to produce a political settlement of the Cyprus question. If, in spite of these efforts, there was no prospect of a solution in the foreseeable future, the Council agreed to reassess the situation in the light of the positions expressed by each side in the inter-community discussions and to examine in January 1995 the question of the accession of Cyprus to the European Union in the light of this situation.

Financial Cooperation

Since 1977, Cyprus and the European Economic Community, have signed three protocols on financial and technical cooperation providing for a financial aid of a total amount of 136 million ECU. This aid includes loans, grants, special loans and contributions to risk capital formation.

The total amount of the first two Financial Protocols (30 and 44 million ECU respectively) was used to finance infrastructure development projects in Cyprus such as the Sewerage Project of Nicosia Stage II, the Water Development and Supply Project of Vassilikos - Pentaskinos, the Dhekelia Power Project, the Southern Conveyor Project - Phase I and the Nicosia Master Plan - civil works and construction in Ledras / Onassagorou streets in Nicosia and Kyrenia avenue (in the occupied part of Nicosia).

It should be noted that part of the resources of the above Financial Protocols were also used in joint projects, also beneficial to the Turkish Cypriot community. The third Financial Protocol of a total amount of 62 million ECU, which was signed in 1989, is being used for the financing of projects in the productive sectors in order to facilitate their adjustment to the new competitive conditions arising from the Cyprus - EC protocol for Customs Union. The risk capital revenues will be used for the creation of joint ventures with partners of EC countries.

Besides the above Three Financial Protocols, Cyprus benefited from funds of a total amount of 600.000 ECU from the Community program "MEDSPA" (Mediterranean Special Program Action) which was used for the financing of three environmental projects in the coastal area of our country

Also see...

Government of Cyprus
Ministries of Cyprus
Cyprus Problem

 



 
 
   
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