Statement by Foreign Affairs Minister, Mr Nikos Christodoulides, following his deliberations with the Foreign Affairs Minister of Lithuania, Mr Gabrielius Landsbergis, in Vilnius
It is a great pleasure to be visiting Vilnius, and to be meeting with my good colleague Gabrielius.
It is my first official visit to this historic capital, and it comes close to eleven years since the last visit of a Cypriot Foreign Minister to Lithuania.
Cyprus and Lithuania may be at the two geographical extremes of our common home, the European continent, yet there are mutual interests our countries share, common challenges we face. Above all, we are united by a common value base and I am convinced that this visit will pave the way to the further development and strengthening of our relations through mutually beneficial cooperation.
I am very pleased to note that our discussions today were very open and productive, as one would expect of two countries that have been partners within the large family of the European Union for 17 years now. We had the opportunity to extensively review the state of play across our bilateral relations and I am pleased to note that there is a joint conviction on the importance of injecting new momentum in our cooperation.
In this regard, we agreed to take concrete steps in creating additional opportunities benefiting the people of our countries in the area of trade, economy, education and tourism.
With Gabrielius we also exchanged views on current issues in our common European agenda, including on relations between the EU and its surroundings, as well as regional and international developments. I believe that both Cyprus and Lithuania have a clear, common understanding of what it means to be in a challenging neighbourhood, as well the importance of the EU playing an active role in ensuring that Europe’s immediate neighbourhood - from South to East - is predictable, secure and prosperous.
My visit to Vilnius comes a week after the informal meeting on Cyprus held in Geneva under the auspices of the UN Secretary General. I briefed the Minister on the discussions and the outcome of the meeting. We are deeply disappointed that we did not have the desired outcome.
As we said before the meeting, attending would not be enough. Unfortunately, the positions put forward by the Turkish side run contrary to all relevant UN Security Council resolutions and to the common EU position as clearly set out on a number of occasions in relevant Decisions and Conclusions. These positions are outside the agreed framework, as they aim openly at partition and not reunification of Cyprus, at the partition of an EU member state.
Towards this end, I explained that we rely on our EU partners, to impress upon Ankara the need to adhere to UNSCR, to act in line with the obligations it assumed towards the EU and contribute concretely to the efforts of the UNSG to reach a comprehensive settlement that will reunify the country and its people.
We are certain that in line with the EU’s common positions, our EU partners, will deliver a clear and unambiguous message to Turkey, including at the upcoming European Council in June, during which the prospect of a positive agenda in the EU’s relations with Turkey will be discussed.
I wish once again to sincerely thank you for your invitation to visit Lithuania in these particularly challenging times of the pandemic. I very much look forward to continuing our deliberations.
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