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24-01-2020 13:45

Foreign Minister Christodoulides holds positive meeting with Bulgarian counterpart

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Nikos Christodoulides, held a meeting with the Deputy Prime Minister for Judicial Reform and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Bulgaria, Ms. Ekaterina Zaharieva, in Sofia, on 24 January 2020. Following the meeting, he made the following statement to the press:

“Allow me to start by expressing my sincere gratitude to the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, my very good friend Ekaterina Zaharieva, for her invitation and warm hospitality. It gives me great pleasure to be amongst friends in Sofia. 

We have had a very positive meeting with Ekaterina, followed by constructive and forward-looking consultations with our delegations. We had the opportunity to review the entire spectrum of our bilateral cooperation and we discussed concrete ways to further expand our ties, both at a bilateral level and also within the framework of the European Union. We have identified a number of fields, including trade, energy, investment, education, tourism and culture, as areas of special potential for further development.

In this context, we feel that the establishment of an institutional bilateral consultations mechanism between the two Foreign Ministries, would serve well as a platform for taking our discussions forward, with a view to achieving tangible results. I am convinced that the official visit by President Anastasiades to Bulgaria, scheduled to take place at the end of next month, will build on the excellent foundations we have laid today and add to the already strong momentum of our efforts.

In the course of our deliberations, we also touched upon a wide range of issues of mutual interest, including migration, and the European perspective of the Western Balkans, in relation to which we reaffirmed the importance we attach to maintaining the credibility of the EU vis-à-vis the European perspective of the countries of the region. At the same time, it is equally important for our partners in the Western Balkans to remain committed and focused on driving forward their reform agendas.

With reference to the Eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East, we had the opportunity with Ekaterina to exchange views and ideas on how the EU and its Member States can contribute more effectively to the promotion of peace and stability of this region, which is particularly important for Europe. In this context, I had the opportunity to brief the Minister on Cyprusʼ initiatives in the region, which are founded on a positive agenda, and are inclusive and beneficial to all parties, as well as to the EU, as they are designed to foster synergies and enhance dialogue and understanding. 

As you might expect, I also briefed Ekaterina on the latest developments with regard to Turkeyʼs escalating provocations in the Eastern Mediterranean, with particular reference to the latest illegal drilling that is being carried out by Ankara, in Cyprusʼ Exclusive Economic Zone. As we all agreed in Brussels on Monday at the Foreign Affairs Council, we must expedite and finalize the work on the listing of persons and entities involved in these illegal activities as per our relevant Council Conclusions. I very much count on the support of Bulgaria in the implementation of our collective decisions. 

Unfortunately, Turkey’s illegal activities are detrimental to the efforts of the UN Secretary-General to create an environment that is conducive to the resumption of negotiations for a settlement to the Cyprus problem that will reunify the island on the basis of a bi-zonal bi-communal federation, in line with relevant Security Council resolutions and the principles upon which the EU is founded”.       

Finally, addressing the Deputy Prime Minister for Judicial Reform and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Bulgaria, the Minister of Foreign Affairs said:

“Dear Ekaterina, in closing, I would like to thank you once again for the warm hospitality, and to reiterate in public what I have told you in our meetings, that I very much look forward to reciprocating, by welcoming you in Nicosia at the earliest opportunity”.

(EH/SCH)