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Cyprus - Security Policy

In November 1993, the governments of Greece and Cyprus proclaimed the Defence Doctrine of the Single Area, characterized by the defensive character and to prevent or deal with any aggression against one or both parties. With the proclamation of the doctrine, the emphasizes was of the commitment of Greece to consider as a cause of war (casus beli) any Turkish attempt to march on Cyprus. The Greek Cypriot administration, in collaboration with Greece, is furthering its military build-up in South Cyprus within the framework of the so-called Joint Military Doctrine.

Under the change of the dogma concerning the integrated defense of the areas of Greece and Cyprus in 1997, the Greek Navy aims to develop its power and domination into this strategically important area of the Southeast Mediterranean. Its goals are to protect the Hellenic rights and border integrity, protect commercial sea-lines, and protect as well as cultivate a spirit of security to the Hellenic population of the Greek islands. Furthermore, it has the role of the transporter of supplies for the rest of the units of the armed forces and contributes mainly through Air transport to servicing the health needs of the population of the islands. Finally, the presence of the navy in the islands and especially in those of the eastern Aegean sea and the area of Corfu is constant. Hellenic Navy ships carry out patrolling missions in order to deal with any possible external threats and provide support to the Hellenic Coast Guard in central issues such as preventing illegal immigration, drug smuggling etc.

Cyprus, despite its small size, has always had a vital position and crucial role in international affairs. Its geostrategic and geopolitical position in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East, at the crossroads of three continents, provide the island with a significant advantage that can be used constructively to promote peace, security and stability in the region.

The Republic of Cyprus has a great regard for all international treaties, agreements and arrangements that promote peace, security and stability and complies fully with their implementation. After its accession to the European Union in 2004, Cyprus became more willing than ever to promote peace, by actively participating in the European Security and Defence Policy.

The Battlegroup (BG) is a specific form of the EU's rapid response elements and is one possible answer to the timely provision of the necessary capabilities for an EU rapid response operation. It is a military force consisting of at least 1500 combat soldiers. Fifteen battlegroups have been established, most of which consisting of multi-national contributions. The groups rotate, so that a minimum of two Battlegroups are ready for deployment at any given time. Cyprus is participating in the HELBROC Battlegroup with Hellas, Bulgaria and Romania contributing Staff Officers, Military Police and a Medical Unit. Also during the Military Capabilities Commitment Conference, which was held on 22 November 2004 in Brussels, Cyprus offered its infrastructure and a medical group in support of the EU BGs.

The Republic of Cyprus aligns itself with European positions within the EU's Common Foreign and Security Policy. Cyprus has long identified with the West in its cultural affinities and trade patterns, and maintains close relations with Greece. Since 1974, the foreign policy of the Republic of Cyprus has sought the withdrawal of Turkish forces and the most favorable constitutional and territorial settlement possible. This campaign has been pursued primarily through international forums such as the United Nations. (See Political Conditions.) Turkey does not recognize the Republic of Cyprus.

Cyprus is one of the 35 signatory states of the "Final Act" concluded in Helsinki in 1975, and was an active participant in the process of the then Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE), which on January 1st, 1995, became an international organisation under the name of Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). Since the conception of the CSCE in the early 1970?s, Cyprus had contributed in making the CSCE a process of common European progress and a forum for dialogue and cooperation between East and West.

The Republic of Cyprus, being an active member of the OSCE, fully respects and implements the provisions included in the Vienna Document of 1999, regarding the development and support of confidence and security building measures. In this framework, Cyprus accepted a request extended by the Republic of Bulgaria, to conduct an inspection on its territory from the 16th to the 19th of June 2009. The inspection team consisted of three Bulgarian Officers and one Canadian, while the entire activity was stemmed with success.

The Republic of Cyprus enjoys close relations with many countries, including Greece, Russia, China, France, Cuba, Israel, Egypt, Lebanon, and other countries in the region. Cyprus is a member of the United Nations and most of its agencies, as well as the World Trade Organization, the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, Council of Europe and the British Commonwealth. In addition, the government has signed the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency Agreement (MIGA).

The United States is working closely with Cyprus on counterterrorism efforts. A Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty, which has been in force since September 18, 2002, facilitates bilateral cooperation. Cyprus also signed a Proliferation Security Initiative Ship Boarding Agreement with the United States on July 25, 2005, which reinforces bilateral counterterrorism cooperation.

The United States regards the status quo on Cyprus as unacceptable. Successive U.S. administrations have viewed UN-led intercommunal negotiations as the best means to achieve a fair and permanent settlement. The United States has provided more than $500 million in assistance to the two communities since the mid-1970s. This assistance has provided humanitarian relief, built health facilities and schools, and provided training and scholarships to thousands of students and professionals. The United States now provides approximately $11 million annually to reduce tensions and promote peace and cooperation between the two communities. The U.S. assistance program focuses on creating conditions conducive to resolution of the long-standing Cyprus conflict, supporting reunification of the island, promoting peace and cooperation between the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities, addressing the economic disparities that complicate relations between the two communities, and supporting initiatives that encourage a durable peace settlement.

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Page last modified: 11-07-2011 02:53:19 ZULU