PM Netanyahu with Cyprus President Dimitris Christofias 390.
(photo credit: Amos Ben Gershom / GPO)
Cyprus, which over the past two years has significantly improved ties with
Israel, became the first Western European country in the EU outside of Malta to
upgrade its Palestinian representation to that of an embassy on
“This important decision is in line with the recognition of the
Palestinian State in 1988 by the Council of Ministers of the Republic of
Cyprus,” Cypriot Minister of Foreign Affairs Erato Kozakou Markoullis said
during a visit by Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Riad Malki.
said the move was “in line with Cyprus’s 1988 recognition of the State of
Palestine,” and “follows the relevant practice of seven other EU member states
that have recognized the Palestinian State also in 1988, namely, Romania,
Bulgaria, Slovakia, Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Malta.”
Czech Republic, Romania, Bulgaria, Slovakia and Poland – all former Iron Curtain
countries – are currently among Israel’s strongest supporters inside the
Jerusalem had no response to the Cypriot move.
relations with Cyprus, as well as with Greece, skyrocketed with the sharp
deterioration in its ties with Turkey following the Mavi Marmara incident in
2010, although Israeli officials have said the reason for the dramatic change
was not only Turkey, but also economic and other mutual interests such as
cooperation in the field of hydrocarbons.
Cyprus voted for the
Palestinian upgrade at the United Nations last November to that of non-member
Malki hailed the “historic decision” and urged other
countries to follow Cyprus’s example.
According to a report in the Cyprus
Mail, Marcoullis said “Cyprus will remain on the side of Palestine.”
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