Nepal and Cyprus established diplomatic relations on 18 August, 1980. The relations between the two countries have always been warm, friendly and cordial marked by mutual respect, trust and understanding of each other’s views and interest. Nepalese Ambassador to Egypt was concurrently accredited to Cyprus until 2009. The Embassy of Nepal in Israel, opened in August 2007, has been concurrently accredited to Cyprus from March, 2009. The Embassy of Cyprus in New Delhi, India has been concurrently accredited to Nepal.
Both the countries are members of the United Nations and have faith in the principles and purposes of its Charter. They are also members of the Non-Aligned Movement. Both the countries have worked together in various international forums in the past and hold similar views on many international issues of common concerns. Nepal has always been advocating for the sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity, and unity and non-alignment status of the Republic of Cyprus. On the unified Cyprus issue, Nepal has extended its support to finding a solution that is based on international law and the relevant resolutions and UN decisions. Nepal has remained a firm supporter of the positions of the Republic of Cyprus.
Cyprus is going to be Chair of the EU in the second half of the year, 2012. As such, Nepal’s cordial relations with Cyprus would further help boost Nepal’s interest in the EU in view of garnering support and assistance from the EU in the ongoing peace process and Constitution drafting in Nepal.
Exchange of high level visits:
Late King Birendra and Queen Aishwarya paid official visit to Cyprus in 1982. In October 1989, while on his way to Denmark for State Visit, Late King Birendra met the then President of Cyprus H. E. Mr. George Vasiliou in Larnaca, Cyprus.
Former Minister for Home and leader of CPN (UML) Hon. Mr. K. P. Sharma Oli visited Cyprus in 2003.
H. E. Mr. George Iaconov, Adviser to the President of Cyprus, called on the Hon. Deputy Prime Minister Mr. K. P. Sharma Oli on the sidelines of the XIV NAM Summit in Havana, in September 2006.
Nepali youth leaders representing major political parties in Nepal visited Cyprus in 2010 to participate in the Word Youth Summit.
There have been no significant or notable visits from Cyprus side to Nepal.
Despite having great potentials for economic cooperation, there has been no significant cooperation being taken place in the economic field between the two countries. There is an immense scope of expanding economic cooperation particularly in tourism sector. At the moment, Nepal-Cyprus trade relations are also negligible. Nepal exports articles of silver jewelry and precious metals, woodcrafts, paper and paperboard, readymade garments, carpets etc to Cyprus. Export wise Cyprus ranks at 99th place in Nepal’s total export trade (TEPC, 2012).
Status of Nepalese Workers in Cyprus:
Cyprus is home to 1,18,100 (13.7%) foreign residents and workers (MoFA, Cyprus,2012). There is a possibility of Cyprus becoming a potential labour market for Nepal. Some Ex-British Gurkhas have been taking up employment in Cyprus. There seems to be significant demand for housemaids and cooks in Cyprus. It is believed that some Nepalese workers are already engaged in Cyprus in different establishments on their own. Efforts should be made for enhancing opportunity of employment in Cyprus at government level. Due to financial downturn in Greece with which Cyprus is attached for its economic growth, Cyprus economy is also facing slackness. Due to this slackness opportunity for foreign workers is also dwindling. Recently, Cyprus government has taken stringent measures against illegal workers and deporting them to their own country. Some Nepalese are in asylum seeking status in Cyprus for their short term economic gains.
Only a few years ago, number of Nepali housemaid as about 500 but the number has declined to 100-150 only at present (NRNA, Cyprus, 2011). It is believed that Sri Lanka has 35,000 house maids while India has 5,000. If Nepal initiates labour agreement with Cyprus, it is believed that the number would increase as Nepali workers are very much favoured and liked by Cypriots.
Exact number of Nepalis in Cyprus is difficult to ascertain as a big number uses the Indian airports to come to Cyprus. Being a European country, Cyprus has been a major attraction for Nepali youth who are easily lured by agencies/consultancies in Nepal. According to an estimation, about 4,000 Nepalese nationals were in Cyprus a few years ago. But, as visa for Nepali workers has been discontinued, this number has gone down to about 2,000 in 2010 (NRNA Cyprus, 2011).
Nepali community in Cyprus is active in its social activities through Non-Resident Nepali Association (NRNA), Nepalese Friendship Society of Cyprus and Honorary Consul General in promoting Nepal and protecting Nepalese interest in Cyprus.
The Embassy of Nepal in Israel which is concurrently accredited to Cyprus has also started sending twice a year a team from the Embassy to look after the welfare of the Nepali nationals and provide them with legal and consular services on the spot from early 2011 as per the continued request from the Nepalese community in Cyprus.
Cooperation in Education:
Government of Cyprus has been providing a limited number of seats for the short term training to Nepal especially in the fields of hotel management, tourism development, forestry development and police training. A small number of Nepalese students are undergoing advanced studies in Cyprus particularly in the areas of tourism and hospitality management.
Number of tourists visiting Nepal from Cyprus every year is very negligible. According to Nepal Tourism Board (NTB), 1179 Cypriots visited Nepal in the year 2007. In tourism field, Cyprus is one of the top spots for international visitors. Tourism is the main stay of Cyprus economy. As such, Cyprus has a well developed tourism related infrastructure and institutions that Nepal can emulate and forge cooperative agreements in exchange of technology and knowhow in the tourism sector to make it a viable and sustainable area of cooperation between two countries.
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