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07-06-2018 21:20

Address by the President of the Republic at an event οn the occasion of the celebration for the Birthday of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth

I am truly delighted to join you all this evening to celebrate together the official Birthday of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second.

At the outset, I wish to express my sincere thanks to the High Commissioner Mr Lillie for the kind invitation and for hosting this wonderful reception.

Her Majesty’s devotion to the service of her country and to the people of the United Kingdom provides a unique inspiration to leaders around the world. So does her leadership in skillfully steering the Commonwealth, which has managed throughout the decades to address, in practical and tangible terms, the concerns of the citizens of the member states.

In fact, for the last 65 years, Her Majesty the Queen has successfully fulfilled the promise made to Her people during the ceremony of Her Coronation, and I quote: “Throughout all my life and with all my heart I shall strive to be worthy of your trust”.

Two months ago, on Her Majesty’s 92nd birthday, the Heads of Government and Leaders from the 53 Commonwealth countries, including myself, were honoured to be hosted at the Buckingham Palace, during which a historic decision was taken: His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales, a passionate supporter of the Commonwealth, shall be the next Head of the Commonwealth. I have no doubt that his leadership will be equally successful as Her Majesty’s.

Today’s celebration offers a great opportunity to reflect the long lasting friendship and strong ties between our two countries and people, as well as explore avenues for potential future collaborations.

Cyprus and the United Kingdom share a deep-rooted history based on respect, mutual understanding and our shared values on democracy and human rights, tolerance, respect of law and good governance. 

And over the decades, we have closely and effectively co-operated and established synergies on a wide range of issues at the bilateral, European and international level, including as partners in the Commonwealth and the EU.

In this regard, strong people-to-people ties constitute a solid base for the further enhancement and reinforcement of the already excellent relations we enjoy.

More than 300.000 Cypriots permanently living in the UK, our active Cypriot community in the United Kingdom is the largest Cypriot community overseas, with the UK also being one of the most favourite academic destination to thousands of Cypriot students.

Likewise, around 60.000 Britons permanently reside in our island, while Cyprus is the preferred tourist destination to more than one million British tourists every year.

There is no doubt that we are now entering a very critical point as regards the future relation and partnership between the European Union and the United Kingdom.

Cyprus is part of the consultations and process currently underway. To this end, I take this opportunity to reiterate our sincere commitment to support the efforts in establishing a mutually beneficial future partnership between the EU and UK, as well as to work closely with Her Majesty’s Government towards ensuring that our two countries forge an even closer and reinforced bilateral relation.

I am convinced that despite evident challenges, the only way forward is to engage in regular dialogue in order to redefine the web of our relations and to provide further impetus towards strengthening our cooperation.

Last month, on the occasion of the presentation of the credentials of the new High Commissioner, I had the opportunity to brief Mr Lillie on the latest developments on the Cyprus problem following the informal dinner I held on April 16 with the Turkish Cypriot leader. 

During the dinner I put forward what on numerous occasions I publicly conveyed:

As I have stated many times to the UN Secretary General and the international community in general, I remain strongly committed to negotiate a solution within the six-point framework that the Secretary General has set as a basis for discussions, the relevant UN resolutions and the EU values and principles. 

In this respect, I do hope that the pending arrival of a special envoy of the UN Secretary General will soon take place, so as to assess, through consultations with all relevant parties, if the necessary conditions for the resumption of the process are in place. Hence, it is of outmost importance that all sides refrain from any further actions which will negatively affect the prospect of resuming negotiations.

On my own behalf, I would like to stress, yet again, of my unwavering commitment to reach a viable and functional settlement, fully in line with international and EU law, that will reunite Cyprus in a modern and truly independent by any foreign dependencies state.

I also avail myself of this opportunity to express my gratitude for the United Kingdom’s principled stance on the Cyprus problem and your country’s support on our efforts to reach a comprehensive settlement.

With this in mind, as it is obvious, the United Kingdom, as a Guarantor Power and a Permanent Member of the Security Council, has a vital role to assume when, hopefully, the negotiations resume, particularly as regards the external dimensions of the settlement and the need to end, as the Gutterres framework prescribes, the Treaty of Guarantee and establish robust implementation and oversight security mechanisms of the implementation of the settlement.

I would like to thank you, once again, High Commissioner Mr Lillie, for the invitation to join your celebrations and I ask all of you to raise your glass and join me in a toast to Her Majesty the Queen.