The Republic of Cyprus became a member of the Commonwealth in 1961, soon after attaining its independence. It has been actively participating in all Commonwealth activities that cover cooperation in various fields such as economic development, agriculture and food production, industry, law, education, health, youth, women affairs, science, public management and parliamentary affairs.
Firmly committed to the principles and ideals of the Commonwealth, the Republic of Cyprus hosted the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting CHOGM΄ 93 in Limassol, an event that stands as a proof of the esteem that it enjoys in the Commonwealth. The Commonwealth provides a basis for international understanding and world peace and that is why the Republic of Cyprus will continue to cooperate closely with the other members in the common interest of their people, social justice and economic progress among its members and in the wider world.
The Commonwealth has consistently supported the Republic of Cyprus in its struggle for a just and viable solution to the Cyprus issue. It has been continuously involved with the Cyprus issue since August 1964, following the outbreak of intercommunal clashes in December 1963 and the establishment of UNFICYP in March 1964. This involvement became more active after the Turkish invasion of 1974. At the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Kingston, Jamaica, held during April 29 – May 6, 1975 the Commonwealth took a principled stand on the Cyprus issue. In the final communiquι, the Heads of Government:
“Expressed their solidarity with the Government of the Republic of Cyprus and their determination to help in the achievement of a political settlement based on the independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity and non-alignment of the Republic of Cyprus. They reaffirmed their support for the United Nation’s General Assembly Resolution 3212 and UN Security Council Resolutions 365 (1974) and 367 (1975) and in particular they called for the speedy withdrawal of all foreign armed forces from the Republic of Cyprus, for the taking of urgent measures for the return of all refugees to their homes in safety and for the continued efforts through the intercommunal talks to reach a freely and mutually acceptable political settlement”.
The CHOGM in New Delhi in 1983 established a Commonwealth Action Group on Cyprus, whose members were the Secretary General of the Commonwealth and Australia, Guyana, India, Nigeria and Zambia. The Action Group’s mandate was to assist in securing compliance with thr UN Security Council Resolution 541, to monitor developments and to assist the Secretary General’s efforts.
The above stand as some of the many examples where the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) expressed the Commonwealth’s collective support for the independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity and unity of the Republic of Cyprus. The CHOGM΄s Declarations repeatedly called for the implementation of United Nations Resolutions on Cyprus. They also condemned the illegal Turkish secessionist acts in the occupied area of Cyprus and all attempts aimed at altering the demographic structure of Cyprus. The Declarations stressed the importance of securing compliance with all the UN Resolutions on Cyprus and in particular emphasized the need for the speedy withdrawal of all foreign forces and settlers from the Republic of Cyprus, the return of the refugees to their homes in safety, the restoration and respect for the human rights of all Cypriots and the accounting for those missing and that the demand for recognition of a separate state in the occupied part of the Republic of Cyprus is unacceptable.
At the last CHOGM held in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago during 27-29 November 2009, the Heads of Government expressed their support for the sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity and unity of the Republic of Cyprus. They expressed their support for a lasting, just and functional settlement to the Cyprus problem based on the principles of the United Nations Charter, the relevant UN Security Council resolutions and the principles of the Commonwealth. The Heads of Government called for the implementation of UN Security Council Resolutions on Cyprus, in particular Security Council Resolutions 365 (1974), 541 (1983), 550 (1984), 1250 (1999) and all subsequent resolutions. They reiterated their support for the respect for human rights of all Cypriots, including the right to property, the implementation of the relevant decisions of the European Court of Human Rights and for the accounting for all missing persons.
Heads of Government further agreed on the importance of supporting the efforts of the two leaders under the UN Secretary General’s Good Offices Mission to bring about a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem in line with the relevant UN Security Council Resolutions. They welcomed the ongoing Cypriot-owned process of the fully fledged negotiations initiated in September 2008, aimed at reaching an agreed solution on the basis of a bizonal, bicommunal federation with a single sovereignty, single international personality, single citizenship and political equality as described in the relevant UN Security Council Resolutions.
Apart from support given to the Republic of Cyprus in its efforts to find a just and viable solution, Cyprus also receives technical and other assistance from the Commonwealth. This assistance is in the form of expert advice or scholarships for educational institutions of Commonwealth countries. On its part, the Republic of Cyprus offers scholarships to students from Commonwealth countries either directly or through the Commonwealth Fund for Technical Cooperation (C.F.T.C.).