CYPRUS: New double taxation deal, Bahrain to open embassy
Cyprus signed four bilateral agreements with Bahrain on Monday, during President Nicos Anastasiades’ state visit to the kingdom where he was be received by ruler Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, where the two leaders also discussed issues of cooperation in tourism and the economy, as well as concerns about regional security.
The aim is to attract investors from the Gulf state, especially in large-scale and infrastructure projects.
The visit was initially planned for the end of January, but had to be postponed after the death of Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah on January 23.
Accompanying Anastasiades is Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides and Government Spokesman Nicos Christodoulides, accompanied by Cyprus Ambassador Elpidoforos Economou, and is part of a high-level regional tour to Gulf states including the UAE, Qatar, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, and will be visiting Oman soon.
Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides and Sheikh Khalid Bin Ahmed Bin Mohamed Al Khalifa signed four protocols on double taxation avoidance, fighting terrorism and organised crime, aviation services and health.
The double taxation avoidance agreement updates an existing protocol and expands the network of similar deals, based on the OECD Model Convention for the Avoidance of Double Taxation on Income and on Capital, in order to help boost foreign direct investments to Cyprus.
On the political side, Anastasiades wants to cultivate warm relations with members of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) where Turkey is lobbying hard to gain recognition for the occupied Turkish Cypriot state in the north and has also set its sights on oil and gas exploration along the southern coast, raising tensions in the eastern Mediterranean.
Government spokesman Christodoulides said that Bahrain’s Foreign Minister has been invited to visit Cyprus where more bilateral agreements will be signed, but he also hailed the king’s decision to open an embassy in Nicosia, following similar decisions by Kuwait, Qatar and Oman that already have diplomatic missions on the island. The UAE is expected to open its first embassy, as is a similar decision by Saudi Arabia.
During their stay in Manama, the delegation also met Prime Minister Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa and Heir Apparent Salman bin Hamad bin Isa al Khalifa.
The Cyprus President decorate the King with the Grand Order of Makarios III, the highest award available by the Republic of Cyprus, while King Hamad decorated Anastasiades with the Medal of the Order of Al Khalifa
Later on Monday, Anastasiades was expected to meet with Honorary Consul of Cyprus in Bahrain Stefanos Zachariades and the small, but vibrant Cyprus community living and working in Bahrain, similar to meeting he had in previous visits to other Gulf states, where the Cypriot expatriates are actively promoting business, investments and tourism to Cyprus.