Country Report on Terrorism 2019 - Chapter 1 - Cyprus

Overview: The Republic of Cyprus collaborated closely with the United States, the EU, and other countries – bilaterally and multilaterally – in international counterterrorism efforts in 2019. In particular, Cyprus continued to make significant progress on strengthening its banking sector’s CFT efforts. The Republic of Cyprus is a member of the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS.

Since 1974, the island of Cyprus has been divided de facto into the Republic of Cyprus government-controlled area in the southern two thirds of the island, and the northern third which is administered by the Turkish Cypriots. A UN peacekeeping force patrols a buffer zone, also called “the Green Line,” which separates the two sides. The buffer zone is largely open to civilian traffic and remains a significant route for the illicit transit of people, narcotics, and other contraband.

The division of the island has impeded CT cooperation between the two communities and between the Republic of Cyprus and Turkey, which do not maintain diplomatic relations. This report covers only the Republic of Cyprus. It does not address terrorism or CT efforts in the areas under the administration of Turkish Cypriots.

2019 Terrorist Incidents: There were no reported terrorist incidents in the Republic of Cyprus in 2019.

Legislation, Law Enforcement, and Border Security: In November 2019, the United States and the Republic of Cyprus marked the first anniversary of the joint Statement of Intent on Security Cooperation, noting progress on several fronts.

The Republic of Cyprus is working with the United States to create the Cyprus Center for Land, Open-seas, and Port Security (CYCLOPS), a $5 million regional training center focused on border security, including preventing the spread of weapons of mass destruction and related materiel.

The Republic of Cyprus began implementing the EU PNR Directive in 2019 after passing requisite legislation in December 2018.

In November 2019, the Republic of Cyprus proposed amendments to the way it implements the so called “Green Line Regulation,” which governs crossing the green line between the Republic of Cyprus and Turkish Cypriot-administered areas. According to the Republic of Cyprus, the amendments are aimed at strengthening security and monitoring of green line crossings. It is likely that the amendments must be approved by the EU; the ROC has not yet submitted the amendments to Brussels.

Republic of Cyprus law enforcement officials participated in several U.S.-sponsored training programs on border security, CT, and CFT.

The Republic of Cyprus passed but still has not fully implemented a law regulating undercover activities by police officers.

Countering the Financing of Terrorism: The Republic of Cyprus is a member of MONEYVAL. Its FIU, the Unit for Combating Money Laundering (MOKAS), is a member of the Egmont Group.

The Republic of Cyprus underwent a mutual evaluation by MONEYVAL in 2019. Before the MONEYVAL evaluation team visit, the Republic of Cyprus completed a National Money Laundering/Terrorist Financing Risk Assessment based on World Bank tools. The Republic of Cyprus endorsed a national AML/CFT Action Plan to address issues raised in the risk assessment. Those efforts will be reexamined to ensure complementarity with the outcomes of the MONEYVAL report.

Countering Violent Extremism: There were no significant changes in Cyprus’s CVE efforts in 2019.

International and Regional Cooperation: There were no changes in 2019.