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02-12-2021 20:57

Toast by the President of the Republic, Mr Nicos Anastasiades, at the official dinner in honor of the delegation of the Holy See, at the Presidential Palace

I would like to welcome you to Cyprus and to express our gratitude for your presence with us tonight.

The visit of His Holiness, Pope Francis, to Cyprus is a truly historic event and constitutes a great honour for my country and its people.

This visit comes at testing times for the entire world. Inequality is rising. Intolerance is prevalent among peoples and faith. Human rights remain under attack.  Injustice is widespread.

Forced displacement and migration, do not only jeopardize efforts to adapt national policies to the new economic and social challenges, but have left millions of people stranded all over the world facing severe risks.

The impacts of climate change are felt worldwide and there is no doubt that they will affect future generations.

We are in need of peace, collaboration, compassion and the necessary will to make the world a better place.

His Papacy embodies all these principles and many more, and has inspired many people across the globe, including in our region and in our country.

Your Eminence Cardinal Parolin,

Your visit in Cyprus provides us with a great opportunity to exchange views on the challenges I referred to, and discuss ways by which to strengthen our work on issues of ecumenical relevance.

Our meeting sends a strong message of solidarity in our common cause and joint objectives. It is also a testament of the continuation of the positive record of bilateral relations between the Republic of Cyprus and the Holy See.  

At the same time, I wish to express my appreciation for the long-standing support of the Holy See to our tireless efforts to resolve the Cyprus problem and reunify the people of Cyprus, Latins, Armenians, Maronites, Turkish-Cypriots and Greek-Cypriots.

Cypriots from all ethnic or religious backgrounds are blessed with resilience, but also the feeling of hope that faith brings.

My vision is that, despite current difficulties, the reunification of Cyprus – which has been the cause of my whole life – will become the beacon of hope both at home and in our turbulent region.

Your Eminence, I am convinced that the strong ties that unite Cyprus and the Holy See will continue and I take this opportunity to assure you of our commitment to further deepen our relations and cooperation.

Before closing, allow me to express my indebtedness to His Excellency the Nuncio, the Charge d’Affaires of the Holy See accredited to Cyprus and, of course, our Ambassador to the Holy See for their constant efforts to this end.   

May I invite you to join me in a toast to the long-standing friendship between Cyprus and the Holy See!