Insights | 18 December 2023 | Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Constantinos Kombos , Minister of Foreign Affairs

The UK is an important and strategic ally for Cyprus. What are the key pillars that form this strong relationship and how do you see this bilateral partnership developing in the future?

The relationship between Cyprus and the UK is defined by our common history and shared values, underpinned by the close and steadfast people-to-people contacts, and a mutually beneficial cooperation on a wide range of areas, both on a bilateral and multilateral level.

Our ties date back to the 12th century when Richard the Lionheart landed in Cyprus in search of his sister and his bride Berengaria. Despite difficult and turbulent moments in our history, our countries continue to enjoy a strong, pragmatic, and deeply rooted relationship with immense potential. Notable areas of our bilateral ties include education, business, services and trade. Cooperation also extends to security and defence, which becomes even more important in the current turbulent geopolitical environment.

In fact, over the last decade, bilaterally and through our countries’ participation in the Coalition against ISIS, Cyprus and the UK have built a close partnership in the field of security, including counterterrorism. The strength of the relationship was also evident in 2023 when, through the activation of the National Crisis Management Plan ESTIA, Cyprus and the UK cooperated closely for the repatriation of our nationals as well as nationals of other states, from Sudan.

The important relationship that Cyprus and the UK share – and seek to develop further – was reaffirmed in November 2022 with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding, establishing a strategic cooperation, thus illustrating the close partnership which exists between our two countries. The MoU opens the way for further strengthening and broadening our relationship across many areas of shared interest. We expect to see increased opportunities for trade, professional services, shipping, and green growth.

One of the most dynamic aspects of our relationship is, undoubtedly, the vibrant Cypriot community in the UK. The Cypriot diaspora in the UK, which amounts to more than 300,000 people, is the largest community of overseas Cypriots. They have been a vigorous and strong advocate of the relationship between our two countries, and in many ways continue to be a vital driving force for our future ties. British universities have also educated thousands of Cypriots, sending back to the island generations of Cypriot professionals who practice law, medicine, accounting and more. Moreover, British retirees have made Cyprus their home, and actively contribute to their local communities.

On a political level, we consider that our countries’ mutual commitment to peace and democracy, form the foundation of our relationship. Cyprus and the UK share common values when it comes to the adherence to international law, and the promotion and protection of fundamental freedoms and human rights. Our countries are staunch advocates of the principles of the Charter of the United Nations, which include respect for the rules-based order and resolving international disputes through peaceful means.

It is these principles which are at the core of our efforts to reunify our country and bring an end to the division and continuing illegal Turkish occupation of Cyprus. The UK, as a permanent member of the UN Security Council, has a special role to play in supporting our sincere efforts to reach a comprehensive solution to the Cyprus Issue, on the basis of the agreed framework for a bizonal, bicommunal federation with political equality, as defined by relevant UN Security Council resolutions.

Cooperation Partners
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