Relations between Switzerland and Cyprus are friendly and diverse. They are focused on peacebuilding, on economic, scientific and cultural contacts and projects within the framework of Switzerland's contribution to EU enlargement.
Bilateral relations Switzerland–Cyprus
Key aspects of diplomatic relations
Switzerland and Cyprus have a long-standing tradition of friendly and diverse bilateral relations. Since 1964, Switzerland has supported the efforts of the UN to find a solution to the conflict between Cyprus' Greek and Turkish communities and for the reunification of the island that has been partitioned since 1974.
As part of its enlargement contribution to the new members of the EU, Switzerland is helping Cyprus to reduce economic and social inequalities.
Relations between Switzerland and Cyprus are regulated in the bilateral agreements between Switzerland and the EU. The balance of trade between the two countries falls in favour of Switzerland, which exports pharmaceuticals, chemicals, machinery and watches, and imports precious metals, gemstones, watches, cars and airplanes as well as chemicals.
Tourism is an important economic factor in Cyprus: approximately 40,000 Swiss tourists visit the island every year.
Cooperation in education, research and innovation
Switzerland promotes technical and vocational training in Cyprus as part of an enlargement contribution project. In the area of healthcare, there has been an agreement between the University Hospital Geneva and the Cypriot Ministry of Health since March 2012 for the development of child heart surgery in Cypriot public hospitals. Many Cypriots have studied in Switzerland, and many of them have joined together to form the Cyprus-Swiss Association.
Scholars and artists from Cyprus can apply to the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI) for Swiss Government Excellence Scholarships.
Swiss contribution to EU enlargement
Cyprus has been a member of the EU since 2004. To help reduce economic and social disparities in the EU, Switzerland has approved three projects with a total budget of CHF 6 million. The aims of the first project, which was completed in 2012, was to support civil society. The two other projects, which are currently at the implementation stage, concern the promotion of technical vocational education and training and the construction of a water purification plant.
Peacebuilding and human security
Switzerland participated in the funding of the UN peacekeeping force stationed on the island (United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus, UNFICYP). In addition, from 2000 to 2004, Switzerland was a member of the UN delegation to the negotiations on possible solutions for the reunification of the island. In March 2004, a conference on Cyprus took place on the Bürgenstock in Switzerland under the auspices of the UN.
In 2014, Switzerland supported the "Committee on Missing Persons in Cyprus" (CMP) with a contribution of CHF 40,000. The CMP locates, exhumes and identifies persons who been reported missing since the occupation in 1974.
Swiss nationals in Cyprus
At the end of 2016, 445 Swiss citizens were living in Cyprus.
There is a diverse network of contacts between Swiss and Cypriot cultural institutions. Swiss guest performers regularly appear at the European Dance Festival in Limassol. In addition, archaeological cooperation and film screenings promote mutual cultural understanding.
History of bilateral relations
In 1959, parliamentarians from Turkey, Greece and the United Kingdom held negotiations in Zurich on the future status of Cyprus. On the basis of these negotiations a treaty between the three powers was concluded in London setting out the conditions for Cyprus' independence. The Republic of Cyprus was proclaimed on 16 August 1960. Switzerland was one of the first states to recognise Cyprus – on the day of its foundation.
Switzerland opened a consular agency in the then British crown colony in 1937, which was transformed into a consulate general in 1983 and an embassy in 1990. Cyprus has consulates general in Geneva and Zurich. The embassy of Cyprus responsible for contacts with Switzerland is in Brussels.