The continuous enhancement of Cyprus' relations with countries in its wider region (Middle East and Gulf), the active and effective participation on the European scene and the development of alliances within the European Union, and the development of relations as well as the expansion of the spectrum of bilateral and multilateral engagement with the permanent members of the United Nations Security Council and other important actors in the international system, are the three main pillars of the modern foreign policy of the Republic of Cyprus.
Achieving the goals set within this framework, is pursued through the exercise of a multifaceted, polythematic foreign policy, which increasingly utilizes modern tools, such as economic, digital, cultural and educational diplomacy, to name but a few.
More information can be found in the tabs below, as well as in the sections entitled "Themes".
Paying due attention and respect towards its neighborhood, Cyprus has managed through its historically and especially through concrete actions in recent years, to develop excellent relations of close cooperation with its neighbours in the geostrategically imporant region of the Eastern Mediterranean.
The discovery of hydrocarbon reserves in the region, created a new situation and a dynamic that has led to the further strengthening of relations between countries as well as to the enhancement of the relevace of the Eastern Mediterranean. The energy resources in Cyprus' EEZ and in that of other countries of the region, decisively enhance the geostrategic role of Cyprus and the geo-economic importance of the region, offering, inter alia, new opportunities for collective actions on a wide range of issues.
In this context, Energy was used as a springboard to strengthen relations between the States in the region and as a tool for the development of multilateral cooperation mechanisms on a number of issues. With substantial contribution from Cyprus, mechanisms of trilateral cooperation and dialogue have been established between Cyprus and Greece, and countries including Israel, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon and Palestine. These mechanisms are used as channels for enhanced dialogue and as a basis for developing further multidisciplinary and multilevel synergies in fields such as security, energy, economy, trade, culture, education, etc.
The cooperation platform that has been created and the flexibility of action that distinguishes it, allows the elaboration of further thematic collaborations, engagement of new parties and the set up of new mechanisms, including the possibility of participation from other States and/or regional or International Organizations. The dynamics that have been developed could provide the foundation of a gradually evolving institutionalized regional integration, an important element of our medium and long-term vision and aspiration for the region. The establishment of a National Coordination Mechanism and the envisaged operation in the near future of the Permanent Secretariat for Trilateral Cooperation Mechanisms based in Cyprus, is an important step towards this direction.
The continuous evolution of the Republic's bilateral relations with its neighboring countries remains essential. It is in this context that, as the closest EU Member State to the region that enjoys excellent relations with neighboring countries and has a good understanding of this part of the world, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs seeks to place Cyprus as the obvious bridge between States and multilateral schemes of the region with the EU, thus highlighting the added value it can bring to play.
Our goal is also to use the experience gained from the development of regional cooperation for the purpose of further strengthening and expanding the relations and cooperation of the Republic with the countries of our wider geographical region, including the Gulf States.
Cyprus' accession to the EU was a milestone in the historicy of the Republic, upgrading its international status and offering a solid foundation on the basis of which it can take concrete initiatives at European and international level.
However, in the years following Cyprus' accession the long-standing focus of the Republic's diplomatic action remained inevitably on the goal of resolving the Cyprus question, limiting in a way the understanding and level of utilisation of the political and economic benefits and opportunities that came with acquiring the status of Member State of the EU.
The experience accrued from EU membership to date, allows a number of conclusions to be drawn regarding the way in which the Repubic of Cyprus operates within the European framework and at national level in order to maximize the benefit and added value of its participation. Based on this experience, one of the main strategic goals set by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is to strengthen the coherent, consistent and reliable presence and effective participation of the Republic of Cyprus in the EU.
With this in mind, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs proceeded in February 2019, on the basis of a relevant Decision of the Council of Ministers, to establish a General Secretariat for European Affairs, which is responsible, inter alia, for formulating and promoting an integrated national strategy for European affairs, for coordinating the proper implementation of the acquis communautaire, for promoting Cypriot positions in the EU institutions and working groups, and, for preparing briefs on European issues for the President of the Republic.
In addition to this, and in view of the projected assumption of the Presidency of the Council of the EU by Cyprus in 2026, (following the successful holding of the first Cypriot presidency in 2012), another aim of the General Secretariat is to plan and implement adequate preparation in order to ensure positive results both both Cyprus and at EU level from the next Cyprus Presidency of the Council of the EU.
Our vision and main pursuit remains the establishment of a stronger Europe with a more robust presence in the international arena, a Union founded and operating on the basis of equal participation and decision-making by the MS, solidarity, unity and a fair burden-sharing. In this context, Cyprus is actively participating in the debate on the Future of Europe. Towards this end, the Ministry has public consulted with NGOs, civil society and local authorities to bring the voice and vision of the Cypriot society to tomorrow's Europe, via discussions taking place within the Union.
We hope finally to be able to facilitate the enhancement of EU's role and engagement in the broader region neighbouring Cyprus.
Recognizing the fundamental importance and the need to defend the International Law system and the multilateral framework of cooperation that emanates from it, the Republic of Cyprus has become since early on following Independence an active member of many International and Regional Organizations.
Multilateralism constitutes the archetype of synergy, and as such guarantees the lawful functioning of the international system and safeguards the protection of the rights and fundamental freedoms of the individual. providing the most effective framework for addressing international challenges. Therefore, Cyprus, taking also into account the existence of the Cyprus question, attaches particular importance to the protection and promotion of the role of International Organizations in the context of global governance, which has recently come under question. Cyprus' position is that strengthening and protecting multilateral cooperation platforms is the only alternative to isolationism that can give rise to radical tendencies.
In this context, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs aims to strengthen the efforts made to secure the role and added value of the International Organisations as frameworks for enhanced cooperation and sets as its priority the stronger definition of the Republic's positions in international fora. It is against this backdrop therefore, that the protection of cultural heritage, cobating climate change, promotion of human rights, including the rights of women (gender equality) and other issues, have been placed at the forefront of our multilateral action.
Targeted development of bilateral cooperation is a necessary condition for preserving and promoting stability and development, but also a key parameter for upgrading the image and diplomatic standing of any State.
Investing in the relations developed by the Republic in the international arena, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs aims to further strengthen its bilateral ties through actions based on the added value of Cyprus in the region and its geostrategic role, whilst also taking into account always the Cyprus question.
In this context, Cyprus's relations with all the Permanent Members of the United Nations Security Council have been gradually enhanced through the broadening of the agenda of bilateral discussions on issues that highlight the geostrategic importance of Cyprus and on the basis of the Republic's predictability and credibility as a partner.
Particular importance is attached to the Republic's relations with other important actors of the international system, such as Japan (where a Cyprus Embassy was established in 2019) and India, with actions aimed at strengthening bilateral relations, bringing into play the synergy mechanisms developed in the Eastern Mediterranean and the opportunities provided by EU Agreements with these countries in areas such as energy, shipping and tourism, to name but a few.