On November 12, 2015, the PRIO Cyprus Centre, in collaboration with the Friedrich-Ebert-Foundation in Cyprus and the Harry S. Truman Research Institute, organized a conference on Cyprus-Israel relations in the Nicosia UN Buffer Zone. The conference invited international experts to discuss the current relations between the two countries.
Under the title 'Cyprus-Israel Relations: The Current State of Affairs', the conference comprised of two panels that analyzed various perspectives and gave a pragmatic approach on the nature and the driving forces behind the relations between Cyprus and Israel.
The first panel, titled 'The bigger picture: The emerging strategic architecture in the Eastern Mediterranean', sketched the geo-strategic milieu within which these relations unfold. The security challenges that have emerged in the Eastern Mediterranean were evaluated, especially as an outcome of the power-vacuum that was created in the aftermath of the post-2008 American retreat from the Middle East. Speakers provided a detailed insight on how these challenges have put Israel's periphery doctrine in the region into jeopardy.
Having established the regional context, the discussion moved to more specific issues, in the form of the second panel on "Sketching the framework of evolving relations: Current debates on cooperation, partnership and alliance". Experts shed light onto the very nature that defines the actual relations between Cyprus and Israel. The term "comfortable quasi-alliance" was coined, to describe the current status of these relations. It was underlined that the requirements of a traditional alliance - a notion often used in the public debate to describe these ties - have not necessarily been fully met yet.
We would like to thank all participants, in particular the guest speakers, for this insightful and interesting conference.