Cyprus has a historic connection with the Non–Aligned Movement (NAM). In 1955, before the island became independent, Archbishop Makarios, who was later elected as the first President of Cyprus, attended the first conference in Bandung. In 1961 Cyprus, which had by then become an independent state, was one of the 25 participants in the Belgrade conference, which formally established the movement.
Following the political crisis of December 1963 and the Turkish military threats against Cyprus of 1964 the Government of Cyprus sought support and justice in the international community. The issue of Cyprus was first raised within the framework of the NAM at the second conference of Heads of State or Government of Non-Aligned countries held in Cairo on October 5-10, 1964. Having examined and discussed the situation in Cyprus the Movement, in its final Communiqué, expressed its concern and called upon all states, in conformity with their obligations under the Charter of the United Nations, in particular under Article 2, paragraph 4, to respect the sovereignty, unity, independence and territorial integrity of Cyprus and to refrain from any threat or use of force or intervention directed against Cyprus and from any efforts to impose upon Cyprus unjust solutions, unacceptable to the people of Cyprus. The Third Conference of Heads of State or Governments, held in Lusaka in September 1970, in its final Communiqué, reiterated the NAM`s position on Cyprus.
After the Turkish invasion and occupation of 36.2% of the territory of the Republic of Cyprus in 1974, the NAM stood firmly by the side of Cyprus. The Ministerial Meeting of the Coordinating Bureau of Non-Aligned Countries, held in Havana in March 1975, noted that “any aggression against the non-aligned Republic of Cyprus constitutes an aggression against all non-aligned countries and a menace to their independence”.
The Bureau demanded the urgent implementation of United Nations General Assembly Resolution 3212 and Security Council Resolutions 365 and 367 “calling upon all countries to respect the sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity and non-aligned position of the Republic of Cyprus”. The Bureau also insisted “on the need for rapid withdrawal of all foreign troops from the island, the immediate resumption of negotiations between the two communities and urgent return of all refugees to their homes in safety”. The Havana meeting also established a Non-Aligned Contact Group on Cyprus, with the mandate to make itself available to all the parties involved in the Cyprus crisis, to keep the situation under review so as to facilitate the continuing search for a solution, to take action as appropriate and to actively support the efforts of the United Nations Security Council and the inter-communal talks. The contact group had originally been composed of five members, Algeria, Guyana, India, Mali and Yugoslavia and was subsequently expanded to include Cuba, Zimbabwe and Indonesia.
The members of the NAM, forming the largest group in the United Nations and eager to see the application of the rule of law in international relations, were natural supporters of the implementation of UN resolutions in the case of Cyprus. Indeed, all Communiqués issued at conferences of the NAM, when referring to Cyprus, called for a solution of the problem in accordance with UN resolutions. The extract on Cyprus, from the Communiqué of the Sixth Conference of Heads of State of Government of Non-Aligned Countries held in Havana during September 3-9, 1979 noted inter alia:
The Conference reaffirmed the right of the Republic of Cyprus and its people to full and effective sovereignty and control over the occupied area of Cyprus and its natural and other resources and called upon all states to support and help the Government of Cyprus to exercise the above-mentioned rights.
The Conference also reaffirmed its support for the United Nations resolutions on the question of Cyprus and noted that the United Nations General Assembly and the Security Council should consider taking all appropriate and practical measures provided for under the Charter of the United Nations to ensure speedy and effective implementation on their resolutions on Cyprus.
Conferences of the Movement have consistently been offering their support and solidarity to Cyprus. Thus, in the final document of the eleventh ministerial conference in Cairo, during May 31-June 3, 1994, the extract on Cyprus noted that the ministers expressed their regret that the recent initiative for the implementation of a package of confidence building measures has failed because the Turkish side has not shown the necessary political will, as has been reflected in the report of the United Nations Secretary General just published.
The NAM has likewise pointed the finger at the Turkish side in the final Communiqués of the Eleventh Conference of Heads of State or Government of Non-Aligned countries in Cartagena, Colombia, September 18-20, 1995, the Twelfth Ministerial Conference of the Movement, in New Delhi, April 7-8, 1997and the meeting of Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Heads of Delegation of the Non-Aligned countries to the Fifty-Second session of the U.N. General Assembly the Communiqué, on September 25, 1997. At the Ministerial Conference of the NAM in Cartagena, during 7-9 April 2000 the Communiqué noted:
The Movement considers the present status quo in Cyprus, established through the use of force and sustained by military strength, as unacceptable and is deeply concerned over the lack of progress in the search for a just and viable solution to this long lasting question, primarily due to Turkish intransigence. Efforts towards finding a just and viable solution to the Cyprus problem, based on the implementation of all United Nations resolutions and NAM`s decisions on Cyprus, in accordance with the principles and positions of the United Nations Charter and the rule of international law must be intensified. The Movement considers any attempt for a change of the basis of the inter-communal dialogue held under the mandate of the Secretary General as unacceptable.
Finally, keeping in line with previous Communiqués on the Cyprus issue, the document of the Thirteen Conference of State or Government of the Non-Aligned Movement held on 24-25 February 2003 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, states as follows:
«The Heads of State or Government reaffirmed all previous positions and declarations of the NAM on the question of Cyprus. The Movement considered the present status quo in Cyprus, established through the use of force and sustained by military strength, as unacceptable and is deeply concerned over the lack of progress in the search for a just and viable solution to this long-lasting question, primarily due to Turkish intransigence. The Movement noted the recent ongoing efforts of the United Nations towards finding a just and viable solution to the Cyprus problem through inter-communal dialogue and reaffirmed its position that the solution agreed must be based on the implementation of all United Nations resolutions and NAM’s decisions on Cyprus, in accordance with the principles of the United Nations Charter and international law. In this regard, the Movement also considered the statement by the President of the Security Council of 19 December 2002, which expressed its regret that the Turkish Cypriot leadership had not responded in a timely way to the initiatives of the Secretary General. The Movement also took note that the attitude of the Turkish Cypriot leadership is in direct contrast with the will of the Turkish Cypriots themselves. To this effect, the Movement welcomed the recent mobilisation of the Turkish Cypriot civil society in favour of a solution. The Movement urged both sides to continue negotiating in the period ahead in a positive and constructive spirit so that full agreement can be reached the soonest».
Upon joining the European Union in May 2004, Cyprus ceased to be member of the Non-Aligned Movement. As a member of the EU and as a founder and protagonist in the history of the Non-aligned Movement, Cyprus hopes to become a bridge of understanding and co-operation between the EU and the NAM.