30 May 2024 11:54 AM

Bilateral Relations

Egypt and Cyprus

Monday، 20 November 2017 - 12:00 AM

Egypt and Cyprus have historical ties of friendship, as Egypt was one of the first countries that recognized the Republic of Cyprus immediately after independence. Distinguished bilateral diplomatic relations have been exchanged since 1960, and geographical closeness, civilization and cultural intermingling between the two countries helped promoting  them.

The political, economic and cultural relations between Egypt and Cyprus are profound and strong. They have signed important bilateral agreements and it is expected to signing new ones.

In November 2014, "Cairo Declaration" came as the nucleus of an alliance between Cyprus, Greece and Egypt.  It focused on four axes, namely security, development, stability and prestige.

Political Relations

The Egyptian-Cypriot relations are currently very close, as they have witnessed unprecedented political cooperation during the last period.

It is worth mentioning that in addition to the good bilateral relations between both governments, there is constant bilateral coordination at the political level within the framework of the United Nations and the European Union and recently the Union for the Mediterranean.

Egypt and Cyprus exchanged nominations for membership of various international committees. In parallel, the two countries signed a protocol of political consultation between the two foreign ministries in 2002, which was held in  three rounds of consultations, the latest of which was held in Cairo in June 2011.

Egypt and Cyprus have witnessed a great deal of  mutual visits to support and consolidate relations between the two countries. On September 23, 2014, President Abdel Fattah El Sisi received Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades in New York on the sidelines of the 69th session of the UN General Assembly. The Cypriot President praised the Egyptian stance towards the Cyprus problem in the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), stressing the depth of the Egyptian-Cypriot relations, whether at the bilateral level, or at  the Cypriot stances in support of Egypt within the framework of the European Union.

In November 2014, Egypt, Cyprus and Greece agreed to intensify communication and coordination in all regional and international forums to protect common interests and enhance the utilization of joint membership  in all gatherings. Also they agreed to intensify efforts to combat terrorist groups and their supporting forces and ways to strengthen these efforts, as well as the situation in Libya and how to strengthen the elected institutions.

As for the recovery of the money smuggled abroad file, the Egyptian authorities asked Cyprus to assist in the recovery of smuggled assets by former President Hosni Mubarak, senior officials and members of his family, in order to detect , freeze and then restore them . For its part, the Cypriot authorities announced their readiness to assist Egypt in recovering these funds and to provide all aspects of cooperation to detect the illegal funds deposited by the symbols of the former regime in Cyprus banks.

In June 2012, the Cypriot authorities asked Egypt to meet with the Committee for Recovery of Funds for an understanding of the requests for the return of funds, where the Committee revealed the amount of the funds and assets owned by the former regime in Cyprus.

In September 2012, Cypriot Foreign Minister announced during her visit to Cairo that Cyprus had frozen assets and capital attributed to a number of former regime figures, listed in the EU's "list of 19".

The Egyptian community in Cyprus is about 4000 Egyptian citizens. Most of them work in construction, architecture, agriculture and in the Cypriot ports.

Mutual Visits      

On 3/3/2017, Investment and International Cooperation Minister Sahar Nasr visited Cyprus to attend meetings of an Egyptian-Cypriot cooperation committee. The meetings took up economic, scientific and technical cooperation between Cairo and Nicosia.

On 11/10/2016, Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades visited Egypt to attend the fourth session of tripartite summit between Egypt, Cyprus and Greece, and was received by President Abdel Fattah El Sisi. The two sides discussed means of enhancing cooperation between the two countries in a number of fields, including maritime transport, trade exchange, energy, agriculture and tourism.

On 9/8/2016, Cypriot Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides visited Egypt and was received by President Abdel Fattah El Sisi. The meeting dealt with the outcomes of the last tripartite summit between Egypt, Cyprus and Greece held in Athens in December 2015 and the implementation of joint projects in a number of areas, including agriculture and fish farming

On 12/4/2016, President of Parliament of Cyprus Yiannakis Umero visited Egypt, and was received by President Abdel Fattah El Sisi. The two sides discussed a number of cooperation areas between the two countries in the fields of energy, maritime transport, agriculture and fisheries.

On 6/3/2016, Cypriot Minister of Transport Marios Demetriades visited Egypt and met with Transport Minister. They discussed the cooperation relations in the field of maritime transport and cooperation between the Alexandria Port Authority and the Cypriot Port of Limassol to exchange experiences between Egypt and Cyprus in order to increase the trade exchange movement and contribute to the sustainable development of ports activities in both countries.

On 29/4/2015: President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi arrived in Nicosia. He was received by Cypriot Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides and a number of Arab ambassadors to the European country. The presidents of Egypt and Cyprus held a talking session before they allowed their delegations to join them for an expanded meeting to discuss means of boosting bilateral cooperation.

On 8/11/2014: President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi received visiting Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades at the presidential palace in Heliopolis. President Anastasiades expressed his country's pleasure to hold a three-way summit with the Egyptian President and Greek Prime Minister, which represents a new beginning for promoting relations among the three countries especially at international forums to achieve stability and security in the Middle East and Mediterranean regions.

On 5th and 6th May 2010: Former Foreign Minister visited Cyprus where he met with his Cypriot counterpart, within the framework of bilateral political consultation.

From 6 to 8 April 2009: Cypriot President visited Egypt.

From 6 to 9 October 2008: Speaker of the Cypriot Parliament visited Egypt. 

In February 2008: Furthermore, there are numerous visits paid by the Cypriot Foreign Minister to Egypt since he took office, either participating in the meetings hosted by Egypt within the framework of regional gatherings or bilateral consultation and exchanging views with former Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul-Gheit.

Egypt was one of the first countries that recognized the Republic of Cyprus immediately after independence, and exchanged distinguished bilateral diplomatic relations since 1960 as they share historical ties, promoted due to geographical closeness and civilizational and cultural intermingling between the two peoples.

It is worth mentioning that in addition to the good bilateral relations between both governments, there is constant bilateral coordination at the political level within the framework of the United Nations and the European Union and recently the Union for the Mediterranean.

Economic Relations

The volume of trade exchange between Egypt and the eastern Mediterranean country during January-July 2017 has increased by 42.4 percent to reach Euro 41.3 million, compared with Euro 29 million during the same period in 2016.

With an 88-percent increase, Egypt's exports to Cyprus between January-July 2017 did not include petroleum products. Egypt's commodity exports to Cyprus stood at Euro 22.5 million during the first seven months of 2017, compared with Euro 20.5 million in 2016.

Egypt's exports of vegetables and fruits have doubled due to the efforts of the ECS to promote Egyptian products in cooperation with Egyptian exporting countries.

Egypt's exports of iron coils, steel and cables went up in light of the recovery of Cyprus construction sector.

As for Egypt's imports from Cyprus, the report showed that they witnessed an increase of 57.4 percent between January-July 2017 to hit Euro 18.8 million, compared to eight million Euros during the same period of 2016.

In terms of commodity imports from Cyprus (excluding petroleum), Egypt's imports from Cyprus declined significantly during the 7 months of this year to reach 5 million euros compared to 8 million euros for the same period of 2016, a decline of 37.5%.

The import of petroleum products from Cyprus amounted to 13.8 million Euros in 2017, while no quantities were imported during the same period in 2016. This reduces the surplus of trade balance for the benefit of Egypt during the first seven months of 2017 to reach 2.7 million Euros compared to 12.5 million Euros during the same period of 2016.

Total Greek investments in Egypt, till 31/8/2016, valued $1.07 billion in 163 companies, with total contributions of Cyprus in the capital of these companies $283.3 million mostly in tourism.

Gas exploration

Egypt and Cyprus have a number of bilateral agreements in the field of gas exploration in the eastern Mediterranean. In 2003, the two countries signed an agreement on demarcation of the maritime border, in addition to the framework agreement signed in 2006 to develop hydrocarbon resources across the Mediterranean.

In October 2012, a cooperation agreement was signed between the Egyptian and Cypriot governments in the field of oil and gas exploration, especially in the deep waters adjacent to the Egyptian-Cypriot border. There is also joint cooperation to train Egyptian engineers on oil and natural gas extraction technologies and training Cypriot technical personnel in specialized Egyptian training centers.

The Declaration also stressed that the large-scale discoveries of natural gas in the Eastern Mediterranean region must help to stimulate regional cooperation.

Cultural Relations

The Ministry of Culture participated in folk arts festivals held in Cyprus through the folklore troupes, where the troupes of Arish, Marsa Matrouh and Anfoushy for Folk Art participated respectively, in the Second, Third and Fourth Mediterranean Festival for Folklore Dancing in 2007, 2008 and 2009.

In September 2012, it was agreed to establish a cultural exchange week between Egypt and Cyprus on  annual basis. It was also agreed to hold a Cyprus Photography Exhibition entitled "Egypt - Cyprus ... Relationships through Ages" in the Opera On 28-31 December 2012.

In November 2011, the Grand Imam of Al Azhar Dr. Ahmed al-Tayeb and the foreign minister of Cyprus signed a cooperation agreement between Al-Azhar and the Cypriot government.

In October 2017, Egypt launched "Community Week" in cooperation with Greece and Cyprus, where for the first time a meeting was held for the people of the three countries (Egypt, Cyprus and Greece) who lived on the land of Egypt to commemorate the popular celebration and historic tourism of foreign communities under the slogan "Return to the roots”.

Tourism Cooperation

There is a historical cooperation between Egypt and Cyprus in the field of tourism, where in 1984 the first agreement for tourism cooperation between the two countries was signed in Cairo.

In September 2004, a tripartite memorandum of understanding was signed between Egypt, Greece and Cyprus in Cairo to attract the tourism  from the distant markets such as China and India  to the three countries in joint visit programs.

The statistics indicate that the number of incoming tourists from Cyprus to Egypt reached  (11215) tourists in 2008, while in 2010 it reached (9195) tourists, and these numbers fell after 25th January revolution in 2011 to (3566) tourists, and in the first nine months of 2012 reached (3067) tourists.

In the framework of intensifying efforts to restore tourism movement from Cyprus to normal rates and increase them, it was agreed in October 2012 on activating the joint marketing programs between Egypt and Cyprus.

At the end of October 2014, Egypt, Greece and Cyprus signed a memorandum of understanding on cooperation  in the field of tourism , where the three countries have agreed to exchange information, leaflets, statistics and tourist promotional materials, and to participate in exhibitions, festivals and tourist events held in the three countries, as well as encourage travel and tourism agencies to organize tourism programs involving the three countries, to be  directed to the distant markets.

Also, they agreed to establish a tourist cooperation council among tourist chambers in the three countries, in addition to encouraging the provision of more facilities in the entry procedures to increase tourism traffic between the three countries.

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