International Position of Cyprus

The Republic of Cyprus became an independent sovereign state on 16 August 1960. Soon after independence the Republic became a member of the United Nations, the Commonwealth, the Non-Aligned Movement and the Council of Europe. Cyprus subsequently became a member of other international organizations, including the Organization on Security and Cooperation in Europe, formally the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe.

In 1974, Turkey, in violation of international law and the United Nations Charter, invaded Cyprus and since then continues to illegally occupy by the use of military force about 37% of the Republic’s territory. The international community has stated categorically its support for the internationally recognized sovereignty of the Republic of Cyprus over the whole of its territory, including the occupied part. United Nations resolutions reaffirm, inter alia, the right of the Republic of Cyprus and its people to full and effective control over the entire territory of Cyprus and natural and other resources and call upon all states to support and help the Government of the Republic to exercise these rights (United Nations General Assembly resolution 37/253, of 13 May 1983).

In 1983 the occupation regime arbitrarily and unilaterally declared the independence of the occupied part of Cyprus. The Security Council of the United Nations by its resolution 541(1983) deplored this declaration, considered it as legally invalid and called for its withdrawal. Furthermore, by its resolution 550(1984), the Security Council condemned all secessionist actions and called upon all states not to recognize the purported entity, the so-called “Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus” and not to facilitate or in any way assist the secessionist entity.

By the same resolutions as well as by a number of other resolutions the United Nations called upon the international community not to recognize any Cypriot state other than that of the Republic of Cyprus and to respect its sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity and unity. The independence and sovereignty of the Republic of Cyprus, as well as the legality of its internationally recognized Government have been recognized repeatedly in numerous resolutions and decisions of other international bodies too, such as the European Union, the Council of Europe, the Commonwealth, the Non-Aligned Movement, etc. The international community, with the sole exception of Turkey which prompted the purported declaration of independence of the occupied part, recognizes only one state in Cyprus, the Republic of Cyprus and its legal Government.

On 1 May 2004, Cyprus officially became a member of the European Union.

United Nations - Cyprus is a member of the United Nations since 20 September 1960. Cyprus firmly believes in the primacy of the United Nations and its Charter and contributes to the promotion of the purposes and principles of the United Nations. The Security Council, the General Assembly and other bodies of the United Nations, such as the Commission on Human Rights, the Sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities, the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, UNESCO, etc., have been seized with the question of Cyprus and have adopted numerous resolutions on all aspects of the problem over the years.

Landmark resolution 3212 (XXIX) of 1 November 1974, which was unanimously adopted by the General Assembly including the positive vote of Turkey and subsequently unanimously endorsed by the Security Council (resolution 365 of 13 December 1974) calls, inter alia, for the respect of the sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity and non-alignment of the Republic of Cyprus, for the speedy withdrawal of all foreign armed forces from the Republic, the cessation of all foreign interference and for the taking of urgent measures for the return of the refugees to their homes in safety.

Subsequent resolutions of the Security Council and of the General Assembly contain all the essential elements for the solution of the Cyprus problem and condemn the declaration of the purported secession of part of the Republic, which they consider legally invalid, and have called for its withdrawal.

In its resolution 939 of 29 July 1994, the Security Council “ reaffirms its position that a Cyprus settlement must be based on a State of Cyprus with a single sovereignty and international personality and a single citizenship with its independence and territorial integrity safeguarded and comprising two politically equal communities as described in the relevant Security Council resolutions in a bicommunal and bizonal federation, and that such a settlement must exclude union in whole or in part with any other county or any form of partition or secession.” This position has been reiterated in subsequent United Nations Security Council resolutions.

Cyprus has been an active member of the United Nations and has been elected periodically to numerous committees and bodies of the United Nations. Cyprus is also a member of the United Nations specialized agencies and other autonomous bodies including the:

  • Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO)
  • International Labor Organization (ILO)
  • International Maritime Organization (IMO)
  • International Monetary Fund (IMF)
  • UN Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)
  • World Health Union (WHO)
  • World Trade Organization (WTO)

It is furthermore a member of the:

  • International Bank of Reconstruction and Development (IBRD)
  • International Development Association (IDA)
  • International Finance Corporation (IFC).

Council of Europe - Cyprus is a member of the Council of Europe since May 1961 and participates in all its bodies and organs, including the Parliamentary Assembly. Cyprus has always contributed actively to the implementation of the Council’s principles and values, particularly in the field of safeguarding and promoting of human and social rights. Cypriot experts participate in most of the Council’s specialized Committees and their contribution has been widely acknowledged.

Cyprus has assumed the Presidency of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, the top executive body of the Council, four times since its accession to the organization.

The Council, responding to Cyprus’ applications, has found Turkey, through the relevant reports of the European Commission of Human Rights, responsible for serious violations of the European Convention on Human Rights in the part of Cyprus occupied by Turkey. Also in a landmark decision on 10 May 2001 the European Court of Human Rights of the Council of Europe found Turkey guilty of gross violations of human rights in Cyprus arising from the 1974 invasion. In a judgment passed by 16 votes to one - the dissenting vote being Turkey – the Strasbourg Court rules that Turkey has violated 14 articles of the European Convention on Human rights involving, inter alia, the living conditions of the Greek Cypriots enslaved in the occupied part of the island, Turkey’s refusal to investigate the fate of the missing persons and the right of the displaced persons to return to their homes. Moreover, in another judgment on 18 December 1996 concerning the case of Titina Loizidou, a Greek Cypriot woman, the European Court of Human Rights held that the denial to the applicant of access to her property in the Turkish occupied territories of Cyprus and the loss of control of her property was imputable to Turkey and its subordinate local administration. In fact, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that Loizidou remains the legal owner of her property, in Keryneia, and that by not allowing her access to her property, Turkey is in violation of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights.

On 2 December 2003 Turkey executed the 28 July 1998 European Court of Human Rights judgment in the Loizidou v Turkey case and paid Mrs. Loizidou the just satisfaction awarded by the Court. The execution of the judgment was implemented after five years of utter contempt on the part of Turkey for the values and principles of the Court and the European Convention of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms and after four Interim Resolutions condemning Turkey for its refusal to comply with the judgment of the Court.

Turkey’s belated compliance with the 1998 ECHR judgment in the Loizidou v Turkey case is of historic importance for Cyprus since it undeniably proves that Turkey accepts the ruling of the Court, namely that Mrs. Loizidou, and all other dispossessed owners for that matter, are still '…the legal owner[s] of the land…” and that Turkey “actually exercises detailed control over the policies and actions of the authorities of the 'TRNC'… [and] that her army exercises effective overall control over that part of the island.” In other words, with her compliance with the said judgment, Turkey accepts her responsibility for the continuing violation of the human rights of all Greek Cypriots which is in fact a product of the invasion and occupation of nearly 37% of the territory of the Republic of Cyprus. The execution of the judgment also proves that the secessionist entity, created by the use of force and arms, is a subordinate to Turkey local administration. The execution of the ECHR judgment of 1998, however, represents only the monetary aspect of the said case as Turkey still needs to fully comply with the Court’s judgment of 18 December 1996 regarding the individual and general measures that Turkey must implement in order to provide Mrs. Loizidou with the right of the peaceful enjoyment of her property in Keryneia. According to the 2 December 2003 decision of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, the Committee will resume consideration of the execution of the 18 December 1996 judgment in due time.

Organization on Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) - Cyprus is one of the 35 signatory states of the Final Act concluded in Helsinki in 1975, and an active participant in the process of then Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE), which on 1 January 1995 became an international organization under the name Organization on Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). Since the conception of the CSCE in the early 1970’s, Cyprus, together with the other neutral and non-aligned (N+N) states of Europe, have striven to make the CSCE a process of common European progress, where the division between East and West would gradually diminish and eventually disappear. Cyprus was a founding member of the group of the N+N countries, which assumed the role of bridge-building between the opposing interests of East and West.

The CSCE Conference in Vienna, which took place from November 1986 to January 1989, and its Concluding Document marked the new era in European relations following the rapprochement between East and West. Cyprus has made its contribution to the achievement of the results of the Vienna Conference promoting the finding of solutions to important issues such as the military security in Europe, the Mediterranean, the environment and the principles guiding relations between states. In the field of the ten principles guiding the relations between states, known as the Helsinki Decalogue, Cyprus has promoted the adoption of new and concrete obligations concerning the territorial integrity of states and human rights. In particular the adoption in the Vienna Concluding Document of provisions for the non-recognition of situations which violate the territorial integrity of a state and the recognition of the right of all refugees to return to their homes in safety, underlines the influence of the Cypriot stand in these fields.
Cyprus and the Commonwealth - Cyprus became a member of the Commonwealth in 1961, soon after attaining its independence and has been actively participating in all Commonwealth activities which cover cooperation in various fields. Cyprus hosted the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting CHOGM in 1993 in Limassol. This is proof of Cyprus’ continued commitment and a manifestation of the esteem that Cyprus enjoys within the Commonwealth.

The Commonwealth has consistently supported Cyprus in its struggle for a just and viable solution to the Cyprus problem. As an expression of their continued solidarity with the Government and the people of Cyprus, the Heads of Government of Commonwealth countries at their Meeting in New Delhi, in 1983, agreed to establish a special Commonwealth Action Group on Cyprus to assist in serving compliance with Security Council Resolution 541. The said Group consists of the following five countries: Australia, Guyana, India, Nigeria and Zambia. The Commonwealth Secretary-General also participates in the group.

The Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) has repeatedly expressed the Organization’s collective support for the independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity and unity of the Republic of Cyprus. It has also repeatedly called for the implementation of all United Nations Resolutions on Cyprus and has condemned the illegal Turkish secessionist acts in the occupied area of the Republic and all attempts aimed at altering the demographic structure of Cyprus. It has stressed the importance of securing compliance with all the UN Resolutions on Cyprus and in particular the need for the speedy withdrawal of all foreign forces and settlers from the Republic of Cyprus, the return of the refugees to their homes in safety, the restoration and respect for the human rights of all Cypriots and the accounting for those missing and that the demand for recognition of a separate state in the occupied part of Cyprus is unacceptable. This was also reiterated at the last CHOGM held in Abuja, Nigeria, between the 5th - 8th of December, 2003, which recalled all its previous communiqués.

The Abuja communiqué states that the Heads of Government:

“Welcomed the signing by the Republic of Cyprus of the Accession Treaty to the European Union on 16 April 2003 and expressed the wish that a solution of the Cyprus problem would be found before 1 May 2004 that would allow a reunited Cyprus to become a member of the European Union. Heads of Government reaffirmed their support for the independence, sovereignty, unity, and territorial integrity of Cyprus. They regretted that the latest effort of the United Nations Secretary General under his mission of good offices in Cyprus collapsed at The Hague meeting on 10 March 2003 due to the negative approach taken by the Turkish Cypriot leader. They further regretted that the Turkish Cypriot leader continues to maintain the same negative approach, thus hindering the resumption of negotiations based on the Annan Plan. Recalling and reaffirming previous UN Security Council Resolutions and reaffirming their previous Communiqués on Cyprus, Heads of Government called upon all parties concerned and in particular Turkey and the Turkish Cypriot leadership to co-operate fully with the UN Secretary General so as to enable the early resumption of substantive negotiations based on the UN Secretary General's proposals, aimed at the conclusion of a just, lasting and functional settlement consistent with relevant UN Security Council Resolutions.”

Apart from support given to Cyprus in its efforts to find a just and viable solution, Cyprus also receives technical and other assistance from the Commonwealth. This assistance is in the form of expert advice or scholarships for educational institutions of Commonwealth countries. On its part Cyprus offers scholarships to students from Commonwealth countries either directly or through the Commonwealth Fund for Technical Cooperation (C.F.T.C.).

Cyprus and the Non-aligned Movement - Cyprus joined the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) directly after its independence but has withdrawn from the NAM right after its accession to the EU, since membership to the EU does not permit it to maintain, in parallel, its membership to the NAM. Cyprus, by participating as a Guest in the future meetings of the NAM, and under its new capacity as a member of the EU, could serve as a bridge between the NAM and the EU, thus enhancing mutual cooperation and understanding between the two.

As an active member of the Movement, Cyprus hosted the Foreign Ministers’ Conference in Nicosia in September 1988 and was the venue for two Meetings of the Special Ministerial Committee set up by that Conference, in order to review the role, structure and methodology of the Non-Aligned Movement in the emerging post-Cold War international landscape. The Movement has been a constant supporter of a just and viable solution of the Cyprus problem, and in this respect, it established a Contact Group to render support to the continuing efforts for a settlement.

NAM’s Declarations on Cyprus contain all those elements that are important for a lasting, just and viable solution to the Cyprus problem. The Declaration by the NAM at the last Heads of State or Government Summit, which took place in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, between the 20th -25th of February, 2004, stated that:

“The Heads of State or Government reaffirmed all previous positions and declarations of the NAM on the question of Cyprus. The Movement considered the present status quo in Cyprus, established through the use of force and sustained by military strength, as unacceptable and is deeply concerned over the lack of progress in the search for a just and viable solution to this long-lasting question, primarily due to Turkish intransigence. The Movement noted the recent ongoing efforts of the United Nations towards finding a just and viable solution to the Cyprus problem through inter-communal dialogue and reaffirmed its position that the solution agreed must be based on the implementation of all United Nations resolutions and NAM’s decisions on Cyprus, in accordance with the principles of the United Nations Charter and international law. In this regard, the Movement also considered the statement by the President of the Security Council of 19 December 2002, which expressed its regret that the Turkish Cypriot leadership had not responded in a timely way to the initiatives of the Secretary General. The Movement also took note that the attitude of the Turkish Cypriot leadership is in direct contrast with the will of the Turkish Cypriots themselves. To this effect, the Movement welcomed the recent mobilization of the Turkish Cypriot civil society in favor of a solution. The Movement urged both sides to continue negotiating in the period ahead in a positive and constructive spirit so that full agreement can be reached the soonest.”

Cyprus and the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership - The Euro-Mediterranean Partnership provides the institutional structure for the further development of relations between the European Union and the Mediterranean States. The Partnership was initiated with the Conference of EU and Mediterranean Foreign Ministers in Barcelona, on 27 and 28 November 1995. This event marked the start of a new “partnership” phase in the relationship including bilateral and multilateral or regional cooperation. Cyprus has participated in the Barcelona Process since its inauguration as a Mediterranean Partner, together with Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Malta, Morocco, the Palestinian Authority, Syria, Tunisia and Turkey, and as of the 1 May 2004, as a member of the Union in a Euro-Mediterranean Partnership that numbers 35 participating States.

The Republic of Cyprus, as a participant in the Barcelona Process since its creation, has followed the evolution of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership very closely. As a Mediterranean country and a European Union member state, Cyprus is one of the more fervent supporters of the enhancement of the Mediterranean dimension of the Union’s foreign policy.

Furthermore, as a country with historical, cultural, and commercial bonds with Europe and the Middle East, as well as due to the good relations it maintains with its fellow EU member states and all the countries in the Middle East, Cyprus is ideally placed to act as a bridge between the two, in order to achieve a greater convergence of policies for the resolution of problems in the Euro-Mediterranean area. As a result, the European Union could benefit from Cyprus’ close and excellent relations with the countries of the region, into further strengthening and enriching its relations and enhancing cooperation with the Mediterranean partners, as well as into further enhancing the Mediterranean dimension of the Union’s policy priorities.

The Republic of Cyprus considers the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership to be a unique forum for the pursuit of peace, stability and the development of the wider region. The Barcelona Process provides an essential platform for promoting the establishment of inter-cultural, inter-religious dialogue in our societies, leading to a greater respect for diversity and pluralism. Furthermore, the Republic of Cyprus supports the framing and the adoption of the Euro-Mediterranean Charter for Peace and Stability, which could contribute to the achievement of peace in the wider region.

Source: Press And Information Office, Republic Of Cyprus, 2005