Cyprus Table of Contents
The Republic of Cyprus also participated in foreign policy debates on issues of broader interest to Cyprus as a small, nonaligned country. When approached by its Western friends, including the United States, Cyprus proved a reliable and effective partner in issues of common concern, such as antiterrorism measures and control of illegal narcotics, and it became increasingly interested in environmental causes, particularly in the Mediterranean region.
Cyprus was also compelled because of proximity to address the Arab-Israeli issue and the Lebanon crisis that plagued the nearby Middle East throughout the 1980s. The island was occasionally touched by the violence of these disputes, when Israeli and Palestinian commandos carried out missions against each other in Cypriot coastal towns, and even in Nicosia. For the most part, Cyprus remained neutral, allowing the island to be the meeting place for informal diplomatic encounters between Arabs and Israelis. Cyprus had active trade and cultural relations with Israel, and a fully accredited Israeli Embassy functioned in Nicosia. At the same time, Cyprus supported moderate Palestinian positions in international forums and sought more active Arab support of its position, appealing to Arab sentiment over what it saw as analogous situations in the respective Israeli and Turkish occupations of their territories.
Data as of January 1991