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     Embassy of the Republic of Cyprus in Sofia

     General Information

Name of State: Republic of Cyprus

National Day: Independence Day (1st October 1960)

The Cyprus Flag

The Cyprus flag was defined in 1960 after independence.

Colours of the Flag
The ground is white. The map of the Island of Cyprus, in the middle, has the colour of copper (144-C). The crest under the island and the olive-tree leaves, has the colour of olive-green (336-C)

Location and Size
Cyprus is a small island of 9,251 sq kms (3,752 sq miles), extending 240 kms (149 miles) from east to west and 100 kms (62 miles) from north to south. It is strategically situated in the far eastern corner of the Mediterranean (33o E, 35o N), at the crossroads of Europe, Africa and Asia, and in close proximity to the busy trade routes linking Europe with the Middle East, Russia, Central Asia and the Far East.
Its capital is Nicosia (Lefkosia).


Executive Power
Cyprus is an independent sovereign Republic with a presidential system of government. The President is elected by universal suffrage for a five - year term. Executive power is exercised through an eleven (11) member Council of Ministers appointed by the President.

Legislative Power
Legislative power is exercised by a Multi - party unicameral House of Representatives.
Voting system: Simple proportional representation.
House members are elected by universal suffrage for a five-year term.

Judicial Power
Justice is administered by the Supreme Court and by the Assize and District Courts.

Independent Officers and Bodies
A number of officers and bodies are independent and do not come under the jurisdiction of any Ministry. The independent officers of the Republic under the Constitution are the Attorney-General and the Auditor-General, who head the Law Office and the Audit Office respectively, and the Governor of the Central Bank of Cyprus. The Ombudsman is also an independent officer of the Republic whose position, however, was created much later, in 1991. The bodies with independent functions include the Public Service Commission, the Educational Service Commission and the Planning Bureau.

The Central Bank of Cyprus
The Central Bank was established in 1963. It is responsible for formulating and implementing monetary and credit policy. It also administers the foreign exchange reserves of the Republic, supervises banks and acts as banker and financial agent of the Government.

Local Authorities
Local government is the responsibility of the Municipal and Community Councils. The former is concerned with the provision of local government services and administration of the towns and large rural areas, while the latter with the management of village affairs. These councils are independent bodies whose members are elected by universal suffrage.

International Relations
On foreign policy issues the Cyprus government in general aligns itself with European Union position in the context of the EU’s Common Foreign and Security Policy. Cyprus is a member of many international organizations including:
- World Trade Organization (WTO) (1955)
- The United Nations (UN) (1960) and its specialized agencies
- The Council of Europe (CoE) (1961)
- The Commonwealth (1961)
- Organization for Security and Co -operation in Europe (OSCE) (1975)
- Non - Aligned Movement (NAM) (1960)
- The World Bank
- The International Monetary Fund

Troodos Massif (southwest); highest point: Olympos (1,953m).
Kyrenia (Kyrenia) or Pentadaktylos Range (north); highest point: Kyparissovounos (1,024 m).
Central plain: Messaoria Plain.
There are no perennial rivers, only a few springs and streams.

Mediterranean with mild, wet winters and hot, dry summers.

Flora and Fauna
Seventeen per cent (17%) of the island is covered by woodland. The natural vegetation includes forests of evergreen and deciduous trees, shrubs and flowers. The flora comprises about 1,800 indigenous species, sub - species and varieties. About 140 or 7% of these are endemics.
There are also 365 species of birds but only 115 bred on the island. Two species and five sub - species have been classed as endemic.
Among the animals, the moufflon is the most noteworthy since it is found only in Cyprus.

Population (2009)*
· 892,400
· 75,4% (672,800) Greek Cypriots**
· 10,0% (89,200) Turkish Cypriots
· 14,6% (130,400) foreign residents and workers
· Population density: 96 persons/sq km

* The population does not include the 160,000 illegal settlers residing in the Turkish - occupied part of Cyprus.

** This figure includes the 8,000 (1%) Maronites, Armenians and Latins who opted to join the Greek Cypriot community according to the provisions of the 1960 Constitution.
For more information and updates please refer to the webpage of the Statistical Service of Cyprus.

Vital Statistics (2009)

· Birth rate 12,0 per thousand
· Death rate 6.5 per thousand
· Growth rate 0,8%
· Life expectancy (males) 77,9
· Life expectancy (females) 82,4

Districts' Population
· Nicosia (Capital): 315,400 (Government-controlled area only)
· Limassol (Lemesos): 230,800
· Larnaca (Larnaka): 134,400
· Paphos (Pafos): 767,800
· Famagusta: 44,800 (Government-controlled area only)

Greek and Turkish are official Languages.
English is widely spoken.

The Greek Cypriots are Christians and adhere to the Autocephalous Greek Orthodox Church of Cyprus. The Turkish Cypriots are Muslims. The Maronites, Armenians and Latins belong to other Christian denominations.

Cultural Heritage
· Neolithic settlements
· Greek, Hellenistic and Roman monuments
· Byzantine and Latin churches and monasteries
· Lusignan and Venetian fortresses and castles (12th - 16th century)
· Mosques

The National Guard was formed in 1964 and comprises regular soldiers and reserves, and a small number of Greek army officers and NCO's.
Cyprus also contributes to the European Union rapid reaction force.

UN Peace-keeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP)
A UN Peace-keeping Force (UNFICYP), currently numbering 923 (2007) military personnel, has been on the island since 1964. I was established in 1964 after the outbreak of intercommunal clashes in December 1963 and threats by Turkey to invade. Its chief task now is to supervise the buffer zone and maintain the UN ceasefire, given that more than 43000 troops from Turkey are still occupying the northern part of the island.

British Sovereign Base Areas
There are British sovereign military bases at Akrotiri / Episkopi and Dhekelia covering 2,7% of the island's territory.

The bases were retained by Britain under the 1960 accords which granted Cyprus its independence from British colonial rule.

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Embassy of the Republic of Cyprus in Sofia

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