The ancient island of Cyprus, where goddess Aphrodite was born and King Richard the Lionheart was married, is well known today as having one of the most advanced telecommunications networks in Europe. Equally well known is our skill in bridging continents, peoples and cultures.
Positioned in the Eastern Mediterranean at the crossroads of Europe, Asia and Africa, Cyprus has historically served as a commercial and communications base of strategic importance. Now, at the start of a new millennium, the island’s firmly established reputation as an international financial and business services centre owes much to its superior global telecommunications capabilities.
The Cyprus Telecommunications Authority, known as Cyta, is based in Cyprus and takes full advantage of the strategic geographical location of the island. Cyta is a service provider of the whole spectrum of electronic communication products, ranging from fixed and mobile telephony to Internet service provision and broadband applications. Although Cyta is a corporate body established by law to provide national and international communications, it has evolved into a keen, customer-driven enterprise, contributing substantially to the economic and social life of Cyprus. Cyta, through its strategic business unit Cytaglobal, an integral part of the National & International Wholesale Market Division, is particularly active in the area of international submarine fibre optic cables, providing wholesale products and services on a global basis.
Cyprus, an island-republic in the Eastern Mediterranean, stands at the crossroads of three continents - Europe, Asia and Africa. Its history and culture is living proof of its age-long function as a bridge between peoples and civilizations of Southeast Europe and the Middle East. The Syllabic-script-b, for example, found in Cyprus, is believed to be the link between the Phoenician and the Greek alphabets.
Today Cyprus is a modern state enjoying a democratic system of government with an executive president and a house of representatives where pluralistic expression is in full bloom.
Despite suffering an invasion by neighbouring Turkey in 1974, which still occupies about 37% of its territory, Cyprus has managed to develop its economy to such an extent that it now constitutes a significant regional financial hub.
In addition to its role as a regional financial and services centre, Cyprus plays a significant role in acting as a bridge between the peoples of the Middle East. It enjoys good relations with both Arab countries and Israel and it could act as a catalyst for cementing the ongoing Peace Process among Middle East nations.
Cyprus is in quest of peace. It wishes to see an end to the tragic division of the island with the conclusion of a negotiated settlement between its two major communities - the Greek Cypriots and the Turkish Cypriots - with the establishment of a federal republic, the withdrawal of foreign troops and settlers brought in from Turkey and the demilitarization of the island. Politically Cyprus has moved towards Europe, by becoming a full Member State of the European Union, on 1 May 2004. It is, however, still a member of the family of non-aligned nations and the Commonwealth and links with Third World Countries are expected to remain strong.
Small in area (9,250 sq km) and population (746,100 in 1997), it enjoys a high standard of living, with low unemployment and low inflation rate. It has excellent communications and telecommunications infrastructure and has developed into a major off-shore banking centre. The island enjoys a very high educational and health services standard. Its ethnic composition is about 84,5% Greek Cypriots (including Maronites, Armenians and Latins) and 12,5% Turkish Cypriots and 3% others. Major religions include Orthodox Christianity (84%) and Islam (13%) while the official languages of the state are Greek and Turkish. English is widely spoken and used in business transactions.
Despite its small size, Cyprus's beauty is indeed unique. The island offers a rare variety of scenery consisting of an indented coastline with long, sandy beaches in numerous coves and a broad plain stretching between two mountain ranges which are mostly covered with forests of pine and cedar.
The climate is also quite diverse and according to Fador's Guide to Europe "one of the best climates in the world". Intense Mediterranean climate prevails at sea-level with hot, dry summers and mild, wet winters, low humidities inland during summer and more than 300 days of sunshine a year. The mountains (highest peak Mount Olympus 1951m), on the other hand, enjoy cooler weather during the summer and the highest elevations are snow- clad for most of the winter. In addition to scenic beauty and a healthy climate the island possesses a wide variety of wild life - rare and endemic species of flora and fauna.
Cyprus is one of the richest open air museums of the world. Here to be found are neolithic settlements, ancient Greek temples, Roman theatres, villas, early Christian basilicas, Byzantine churches, impressive medieval monasteries, Crusader Castles, Gothic churches, Venetian fortifications, Ottoman mosques and aqueducts and British colonial buildings.
Yet, Cyprus's greatest asset is the friendliness and hospitality of the locals. In some villages old customs die hard. Young girls still engage in lace-making in the beautiful village of Lefkara and elsewhere, potters still create wondrous shapes to decorate their earthenware vessels, the sound of handlooms can still be heard in distant Pafos villages and old men congregate in the coffee shops for a game of backgammon or to listen to and discuss the day's interest news.
The Government of the Republic of Cyprus concluded an Association Agreement with the then EEC on 19 December 1972, which entered into force on 1 June 1973. The full implementation of this Agreement was to lead to a Customs Union within a period of 10 years. The purpose of the Agreement, which contained arrangements on trade, financial and technical cooperation that were to be applied for the benefit of the entire population of the island, was to consolidate and expand trade and the economic relations between Cyprus and the European Community.
On 4 July 1990 the Republic of Cyprus submitted an application for membership to the EEC. Indicative of the age-old bonds between Cyprus and Europe is the reference contained in the 1993 Opinion of the European Commission on the application of Cyprus for membership to the EU, which notes that "…Cyprus geographical position, the deep-lying bonds which, for two thousand years, have located the island at the very fount of European culture and civilization, the intensity of the European influence apparent in the values shared by the people of Cyprus and in the conduct of the cultural, political, economic and social life of its citizens, the wealth of its contacts of every kind with the Community, all these confer on Cyprus, beyond all doubt, its European identity and character and confirm its vocation to belong to the Community".
Accession negotiations with ten applicant countries of Central and Eastern Europe including Cyprus, commenced in March 1998.
Enlargement was an important part of the Brussels European Council that was held between 24 and 25 October 2002 under the Danish Presidency. The Union confirmed its determination to conclude accession negotiations with Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, the Slovak Republic and Slovenia, at the European Council in Copenhagen on 12-13 December 2002 and sign the Accession Treaty in Athens in April 2003.
The long process of the Accession Negotiations was completed at the Copenhagen European Council (December 2002), where the historic decision was taken to admit Cyprus and the other nine candidate countries as full members of the Union, as of May 2004. In fact, Cyprus was the first country to successfully conclude its accession negotiations within the agreed timeframe. On 16 April 2003, the President of the Republic of Cyprus, signed the Treaty of Accession of Cyprus to the European Union. The signing of this historic Treaty, which took place during a special ceremony in Athens, represents one more important step towards European unification and a landmark event in the modern history of Cyprus. At the same time it constitutes the crowning achievement of the long and arduous effort by Cyprus to formally accede to the European family, to which it has always belonged geographically, historically, culturally, economically and politically.
Cyprus has become a full European Union Member State, on 1 May 2004. With the confirmation of Cyprus’ accession to the European Union, a new era for telecommunications has begun, characterised by the full liberalisation of the telecommunications market. Cyta is well equipped not only to meet the new challenges, but also to realise its vision to become the electronic communications bridge between East and West and to maintain its international reputation as a reliable and advanced telecommunications global provider.
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