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58th Anniversary of Cyprus’ Independence

5 October 2018

High Commissioner Yannis Iacovou of Cyprus hosted a reception to celebrate the 58th Anniversary of Cyprus’ Independence.

Photo: High Commissioner Yannis Iacovou with Minister of Home Affairs Malusi Gigaba

Diplomatic relations between South Africa and the Republic of Cyprus were established on 10 December 1993 and the first Cyprus High Commissioner accredited to South Africa presented his credentials in 1999.

Cyprus and South Africa maintain eight bilateral agreements and MOUs building on their bilateral interaction. The Cyprus – South Africa Business Forum takes place this month, said High Commissioner Iacovou, and is proof of South Africa’s potential as a major hub for business interactions to the benefit of both business communities. Two way tourism will be promoted.

Remarks by High Commissioner Yannis Iacovou at Cyprus’ National Day reception

I would like to thank you for joining us this afternoon in celebrating the 58th anniversary of Cyprus’ Independence Day.

I am extremely delighted that here today we are joined by members of our South African - Cypriot community as a proof of their dedication, support and links with Cyprus. It is through their presence and their continued positive contribution to South African life and society that makes our relationship with this beautiful country special, richer and deeper.

Cyprus and South Africa enjoy an excellent bilateral relationship underpinned by people-to-people links, the sharing of common values and the adherence to principles of democracy, human rights and respect for fundamental freedoms for all.

As Cyprus stood by the people of South Africa in their struggle for adherence to those principles and for the restoration of human rights in a democratic South Africa, South Africa stands by our side for the restoration of the human rights and fundamental freedoms of the people of Cyprus, maintaining a rock solid position for a just and lasting settlement to the Cyprus problem in accordance with the UN SC Resolutions on Cyprus and respecting the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Republic of Cyprus. I assure you that the vision and efforts of the President of the Republic of Cyprus HE Mr Anastasiades is to reach a just and lasting settlement which will terminate the occupation and reunite the people, land and institutions in a bizonal bicommunal federation with a single sovereignty single nationality and a single international personality in accordance with the UN SC Resolutions on Cyprus and EU principles.

We congratulate South Africa for its election to the UN Security Council for the term 2019 -2020 and we are looking forward to a successful tenure, considering also that it is dedicated to the legacy of the global icon, great South African statesman and visionary Nelson Mandela, whose centenary we celebrate this year. His beliefs not only have taken their rightful place in the history of South Africa but continue to shape and guide the presence and future generations to come. His legacy will always be in the thoughts of all peace loving peoples and it is an honor to acknowledge the presence here today of Advocate George Bizos.

Cyprus and South Africa maintain eight bilateral agreements and MOUs building on our bilateral interaction. The First Cyprus High Commissioner accredited to the Republic of South Africa presented his credentials in 1999. Our bilateral engagement is also flourished through the EU – South Africa Strategic Partnership underpinned by the wide range of bilateral relations and actions between the European Union its Member States and South Africa.

In today’s global environment political relations are supplemented by economic relations. It is for this reason that, even though Cyprus is a small island State, we would be welcoming this month the forthcoming Cyprus – South Africa Business Forum as proof of South Africa’s potential as a major hub for business interactions to the benefit of both business communities as well as promoting tourism in both destinations. As South Africa is open to new investment which would benefit the economy and contribute towards job creation, we in Cyprus are open and welcome healthy investors from South Africa in a professional, friendly and stable environment, taking advantage of Cyprus’ strategic location operating as a bridge linking Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Asia.

Before I conclude, I would like to invite you to raise our glass for the good health of the President of the Republic of South Africa HE Mr Cyril Ramaphosa and for the best wishes for every success to the friendly people of South Africa.




Thank you for the opportunity afforded me to address you on this important day in the history of Cyprus. On behalf of the Government and people of South Africa I would like to  extend  to  the  Goernment  and  people  of  the Republic of  Cyprus our  heartfelt congratulations on this special celebration of Cyprus Independence Day.  

The  year  2018  marks  the  Centenary  anniversary  of  the  birth  of  Nelson  Mandela – an outstanding liberator, patriot and founding father of the new democratic South Africa. As an   unwavering   promoter   and   living   embodiment   of   human   rights,   peace   and reconciliation  he  was  an  African  and  international  figure  of  unequal  standing  in
contemporary history.

Furthermore, in  2018  South  Africa  will also mark  the  centenary  of  the  life  Albertina Sisulu,  a  fearless  champion  of  democracy  and  human  rights. The  theme  for  the centenary  is: Albertina Sisulu “A woman of fortitude” in recognition of her courage, discipline, integrity and love for her country.

Diplomatic relations between South Africa and the Republic of Cyprus were established on  10  December  1993.    Structured  Bilateral  Consultations between  DIRCO  and  the Cyprus  Ministry  of  Foreign  Affairs  is managed by  means  of  the  MoU  on  Bilateral Political Consultations, signed on 21 September 2012.  The agreement makes provision for annual or regular consultations at SOM or Ministerial levels in the respective capitals of  South  Africa  or  Cyprus.

We  look  forward  to  our  official  discussions  in  this  regard being planned for 2018.

People - to - people relations   between   the   Cypriots and   the   South Africans were established more than a century ago when the first Cypriots arrived to this beautiful and hospitable  country of  ours.  The  Cypriots  came  to  South  Africa  in  different  periods, before  and  after  the  Second  World  War  and  a considerable  number  of  them  are refugees from the northern part of Cyprus.

In the early nineties there were more than 50 000  Cypriots  in the country.  In  1934 they  founded,  in Johannesburg, the  Cyprus Brotherhood of South Africa in order to promote the interests, welfare and well - being of the Cypriot community. Today, only half of this number of Cypriot South Africans live in South Africa, estimated to be around 25 000 people.  They are a very active, vibrant and influential community, fully  integrated  into the  South  African  society,  contributing  to  its  social, professional, economic and multicultural development.
Furthermore, South  Africa  and  the  Republic  of  Cyprus share histories, opportunities, contemporary  challenges  and  a  future  founded  on  democracy underpinned by  the values  enshrined  in  human  rights.    It  is  in  this  vein  that  we  will  continue  to  cooperate and  find  common  grounds  for  the  advancement  of  these  values,  principles  in  the bilateral, as well as regional and global international relations and communities.

South  Africa acknowledges  the  current  challenges  faced  by  the  government  and  the people  of  Cyprus. South  Africa  supports  consistently  the  end  of  the  division  in  the island and the finding of a solution to the Cyprus problem based on the relevant United Nations Resolutions and the rules of International Law.

We  greatly  value  our  relationship  with  Cyprus as  a  member  of  the  European  Union (EU). The EU is one of South Africa’s most important investment and trading partners, and  it  remains  of  vital  economic  importance.  In  working  with  Cyprus and  other  EU Member States, we remain committed to the further expansion and development of our links with the EU as well as with your country and your people.

We  greatly  value  our relationship  with the  Republic  Cyprus.    It  is clear we enjoy constructive and substantial bilateral relations, underpinned by strong people - to - people links.

This  relationship  provides an excellent  platform  to  further  enhance  the  bilateral relations between Cyprus and South Africa taking also into consideration South Africa’s participation in the United Nations Security Council (UNSC).

On behalf of the South African government I hereby wish to renew our commitment to continue our ties of friendship and warm relations.




February/March 2020








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