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26-07-2018 14:36

The President of the Republic receives the credentials of the Ambassador of the Swiss Confederation

The President of the Republic, Mr Nicos Anastasiades, received today, at a formal ceremony at the Presidential Palace, the credentials of the Ambassador of the Swiss Confederation to the Republic of Cyprus, Mr Pierre-Yves Fux.

Presenting his credentials, Ambassador Fux said:

“Excellency,

It will be a great honor for me to represent the Swiss Confederation in the Republic of Cyprus.

Allow me first to convey heartfelt personal greetings from the President of the Confederation, Mr. Alain Berset, as well as his best wishes for your Excellency and for your Country.

Let me express my sincere wishes of peace and prosperity for Cyprus, hoping that a reunification of the island and the end of the occupation will become a reality in the near future. As a host of your beautiful Country, I hope that Switzerland will once be remembered as the place that contributed to reaching a comprehensive solution to the division between Cyprus’ Greek and Turkish communities, and to their reconciliation.

In this respect, please be assured of our continued readiness to support the negotiations towards a solution that will benefit all Cypriots and respect democratic principles, human rights and fundamental freedoms.

Switzerland remains committed to respecting all Security Council resolutions and international law. We are presently candidate to the Council and remain proud to host the greatest number of UN agencies and meetings in Geneva.

Our cooperation with Cyprus has also a strong European dimension. No other Country has more ties with the European Union than Switzerland, which is part of the Schengen-Dublin system. Within the framework of a Contribution to the new member States, Switzerland has successfully supported projects in Cyprus in the social, professional and environmental fields, an activity that could be developed in a new phase. Presently, we are negotiating with Brussels to find a stable framework to deepen our bilateral relations with the Union.

The friendly and intensive, yet excellent bilateral relations with Cyprus have many dimensions, which I hope to contribute to maintain and to develop, with the support of your Government and Authorities. The regular increase of the number of Swiss visitors to Cyprus shows how much tourists, researchers, artists and business people appreciate your hospitality and the interaction with their Cypriot partners.

Switzerland already opened a Consular agency on the island in 1937 and recognized the Republic of Cyprus on the day of its foundation. As a European Country, which inherited the messages of the philosopher Zeno of Kition and of the Apostle Paul, Switzerland is aware of the very deep roots of its relations with Cyprus. In this spirit, we regard our cooperation in the study and preservation of your cultural heritage of utmost importance. In this spirit too, you may count, Mr. President, on our active support in relation with international humanitarian law and the construction of just and lasting peace in this part of the Mare Nostrum.

Finally, allow me to express my gratitude for all the support you so kindly bestow on Switzerland and my appreciation for the quality of our bilateral cooperation.

Please accept, Excellency, the expression of my highest consideration.”

Receiving the credentials, the President of the Republic said:

“Your Excellency,

It is with distinct pleasure and sincere feelings of friendship that I receive today your Letters of Credence appointing you as the new Ambassador of the Swiss Confederation to the Republic of Cyprus, as well as the Letters of Recall of your predecessor.

I want to assure you that my Government will provide you with every assistance in the performance of your duties aiming at building upon the excellent bilateral relations that already exist between our two countries.

Bilateral relations between Cyprus and Switzerland are based on common democratic values and principles that both countries cherish and adhere to. Switzerland’s dedication to peace and the rule of law, as well as its commitment to the promotion and protection of humanitarianism, peace building and human rights is greatly appreciated.

Switzerland has more than once demonstrated its active contribution to the peaceful coexistence of peoples of all nations, by facilitating the settlement of conflicts, protecting victims of war, reducing poverty, supporting the rule of law and promoting stable, working democracies.

Allow me in this regard, to express Cyprus’s sincere gratitude for Switzerland’s support to the UN’s peacekeeping and peacebuilding operations in Cyprus, as well as to the work of the Committee on Missing Persons.

Your Excellency,

With a renewed mandate by the people, my top priority remains none other than addressing the unacceptable current state of affairs with the continuing Turkish occupation of 37% of the territory of the Republic of Cyprus, since there is no doubt that lasting peace and stability can only be achieved through the comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem.

To this end, on numerous occasions, I reiterated in the clearest terms to the UN Secretary-General, our partners in the EU, the Permanent and non-Permanent Members of the Security Council and the international community in general, that I remain strongly committed to resuming the negotiating process.

What is of course required is to create those necessary conditions that will allow the dialogue to resume on the basis of good will and constructive stance from all stakeholders, particularly by the Turkish side, in order to safeguard the positive outcome of the negotiations.

The above-mentioned were reiterated during my recent fruitful meeting with the Special Envoy of the UN Secretary-General, during which I also stressed that I remain sincerely committed to negotiate a solution within the framework set by the Secretary-General, as clarified on July 04, 2017, with the same determination and positive attitude we have demonstrated since the beginning of the dialogue. Within this context, I do hope that the meetings of the special envoy of the United Nations which will soon take place with all other interested parties and stakeholders involved will allow the Secretary-General to be in a position to resume negotiations.

Taking this opportunity, I wish to remind that the failure of the Conference on Cyprus in July 2017 was precisely due to Turkey’s insistence on its long-standing position in maintaining the continuation of the anachronistic system of guarantees, the unilateral right of intervention, and the permanent presence of Turkish troops.

I also wish to remind that our side submitted comprehensive written proposals for each and every one of Mr. Guterres six-point framework, including on a new security architecture that would replace anachronisms and the strategic aspirations of third countries against Cyprus.

Having said the above, at the same time we should also not ignore the remaining significant differences on the other chapters of the Cyprus problem. Differences that can be easily resolved by adopting and respecting what is considered as our obligation: The European acquis.

It is only through adhering to these fundamental principles which determine that a member state of the United Nations and the European Union cannot be considered truly independent and sovereign if it is not free of any third country dependencies, that we can truly establish the conditions for prosperity and peaceful co-existence between all the citizens of Cyprus, in an environment of safety and stability.

I truly wish that both our Turkish Cypriots compatriots and Turkey will respond positively to the new prospect that is presented again upon us, taking into account in a comprehensive manner and without being selective, the provisions set by the Secretary-General at the Conference in Crans Montana.

I wish to reassure you, once again, of my determination to work tirelessly to reach a comprehensive settlement that will finally reunify our island after 44 years of division, ensuring conditions of safety for the future generations of Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, without any third country military troops or guarantees.

A settlement that will satisfy the genuine desire of our people, especially of the younger generations, to live together and peacefully co-exist, collaborate and prosper in a European country which fully respects their fundamental human rights and freedoms.

And aside the obvious fact that the solution of the Cyprus problem would be first and foremost to the benefit of all Cypriots:

(i)            On a regional level it would turn Cyprus into a model-country of stability and predictability and would amplify Cyprus’ role as a security provider in one of the most turbulent areas of the world.

(ii)          At a European level, it would end the oxymoron of having one of its member-states being divided, while it would also positively reinforce EU-Turkey’s relations and the overall security architecture of the EU.

(iii)         Last, but not least, the solution of an international problem which has been on the agenda of the United Nations in the last decades, will offer a beacon of hope that even the most intractable problems can be solved peacefully through the United Nations.

Taking into consideration the aforesaid, Excellency, and in expressing the deep appreciation of the Government and the people of Cyprus for the support of the Swiss Confederation to our continuous efforts to reach a just, viable and comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem, in line with the relevant UN Security Council Resolutions and the EU law, values and principles, please allow me to stress the importance in exerting Your influence, individually and through multilateral fora, to Turkey in order to revisit its intransigent positions and demands that are not in line with Cyprus’s capacity as a member state of the EU, so as to create sound prospects of achieving an overall agreement.

Your Excellency,

During the past few years we have succeeded in turning an economy in distress into a story of strong economic recovery that gained international praise. The positive repercussions of an ambitious reform programme and the careful management of state finances are being reflected through, among others, successive budget surpluses, a dynamic growth rate of 4%, a drastic reduction in unemployment, consecutive upgrades of our economy by international rating agencies, as well as a significant reduction in taxation.

At the same time, despite the economic difficulties we have faced, our country’s comparative advantages not only remain intact, but have been further enhanced and expanded. These include one of the most competitive corporate tax rates, a significant network of Agreements for Avoidance of Double Taxation, a highly qualified and professional workforce and a fully EU harmonised tax and legal system.

The combination of the above, in conjunction with the reforms in the public sector and the enhancement of the tax and legal frameworks, resulted in renewed substantial investments in a wide range of sectors. The operation of oil and gas giants in our Exclusive Economic Zone, the licensing of the first integrated casino resort with an investment of more than half a billion euro, an impressive 18% annual increase in investment funds’ registration, the record numbers of the tourism industry in both arrivals and revenue and the commercialization of the Limassol port, it is evident that our efforts have borne fruit.

The challenge now is to keep up the momentum and ensure that Cyprus remains on a path of sustainable growth.

To this end, maintaining the reform momentum is imperative. The entire planning for the years 2018-2023 is a continuation of everything we achieved during my first term in office. With this in mind, we will continue consultations with the parliamentary parties with a view to gain their support for our reforms programme, in the fields of public service, education, health, the judiciary system and e-governance.

We also aim to continue with the policy of tax reductions and provide new incentives, in order to further boost entrepreneurship and attract new investments, with emphasis placed on innovation and start-ups. The new Investment Law to fast-track licensing procedures for large investments and the establishment of new enhanced investment funds framework, are crucial steps in this direction.

At the same time, the newly-established Deputy Ministry of Shipping offers substantial support and attention to the already thriving maritime sector of Cyprus and we have no doubt that the Deputy Ministry of Tourism, planned to be operational by January 1st of 2019, will enhance even further the growing tourist industry. Most importantly, we will continue to invest in our people and work with determination and passion to drive change, progress and prosperity in our country.

Ambassador Pierre - Yves Fux,

In welcoming you to Cyprus, I wish you a fruitful tenure and I kindly request you to convey to His Excellency Alain Berset as well as to the friendly people of Switzerland my warmest greetings and a message of sincere friendship.”

(RM/AH/II)