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06-06-2024 15:35

The President of the Republic of Cyprus met with the President of Montenegro

The President of the Republic Mr Nikos Christodoulides met today, at the Presidential Palace, with the President of Montenegro Mr Jakov Milatović who is paying an official visit to Cyprus.

President Milatović and his spouse arrived at the Presidential Palace, where they were welcomed by President Christodoulides and his spouse, and after the official ceremony the two Presidents held a private meeting, followed by expanded talks between their delegations.

Later on, the two Presidents made statements to the media.

In his remarks, President Christodoulides stated: “It is a true pleasure and a privilege to welcome you today to Cyprus.

A pleasure, because today we take another step in further reinforcing our friendly ties and bilateral relations with Montenegro. A privilege, because I am the one fortunate to host the first ever official, bilateral visit of a President of Montenegro to Cyprus. Today dear Mr President, we rectify a paradox, given the friendly, strong and enduring relationship between our two countries and our peoples.

Cyprus and Montenegro may be two small countries on the Mediterranean coast, but our political footprint and regional influence is comparatively much bigger. Our countries are united by shared values and aspirations, particularly, our commitment to the prevalence of International Law, peace, stability, and prosperity which we project and promote in our respective regions and beyond.

On the bilateral front, I am very pleased to note that we are steadily building a multifaceted and mutually beneficial cooperation in a range of fields, such as tourism, trade and investments. However, there is admittedly considerable room for improvement.

It is for this reason that President Milatović and I, had a productive discussion on how to reinforce our cooperation in the aforementioned fields, but also expand it in areas such as education, shipping, culture and technology. In this direction, we have agreed on a road map for finalising and signing pending agreements on these sectors.  

I am convinced that the culmination of our bilateral cooperation will certainly be the eventual accession of Montenegro to the European Union (EU). As we also witnessed following our accession 20 years ago, becoming a member state does not only reinforce our standing by belonging to a larger, group of countries with which we share common principles and goals. It also reinforces and expands our bilateral relations between these countries bringing them closer together.  

In this respect, I would like to reassure you that we stand ready to provide any kind of technical support to Montenegro, in your country's efforts to further harmonise with the European acquis. We are also ready to share best practices used and knowledge acquired through our pre and after accession course.

The war in Ukraine is a daily reminder that security and stability in Europe are not guaranteed. It is for this reason that security and stability in the Western Balkans is of even greater value. Undoubtedly, the integration of the Western Balkans into the EU is the most catalytic factor for safeguarding peace, stability and prosperity in the region. It is for this reason that Cyprus has been a long-standing and active proponent of European perspective of all Western Balkans countries.

This will be one of the priorities of the Cyprus Presidency of the Council of the European Union during the first half of 2026. Especially in the case of Montenegro, which is widely considered as the most advanced candidate country, we hope to contribute decisively so that the goal of accession is reached as soon as possible. And I know that all of us would like to see 2028 being the year.

With President Milatović we also discussed the Cyprus problem, as 2024 marks the somber, 50th anniversary of the illegal 1974 Turkish invasion of Cyprus and the ongoing military occupation of 37% of the territory of the Republic of Cyprus, of EU territory.

I reassured the President that my vision and sole pursuit, from the first day of assuming my duties, is to put an end to this half century of occupation, to reunify my country so that all Cypriots can aspire to a much brighter, common future together. In this effort, the supportive stance of like-minded partners, such as Montenegro, is of great importance. I would like to thank you once again dear Jakov, for the firm position of principles that Montenegro maintains on the Cyprus problem.

Dear President Milatović, in closing, I would like to express my appreciation for your visit and my sincere hope for the continued development of relations between Cyprus and Montenegro. I hope that your visit and our productive discussions today will pave the way for even closer cooperation between our countries.”

On his part, President Milatović said, inter alia, that Cyprus and Montenegro enjoy excellent relations and have potential for further development in all areas.  

He added that his visit provides a turning point in the bilateral relations momentum to reinforce them, noting that soon the Minister of Transport of Montenegro will be coming to Cyprus in order to sign a number of Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs).

He also stated that the Foreign Minister of his country will also visit Cyprus soon after an invitation by the Cypriot Minister of Foreign Affairs in order to further strengthen the bilateral political ties.

He also added that the two countries agreed upon the signing of MoUs in the field of education and culture. He also noted his country’s interest in strengthening bilateral relations in the fields of economy, energy and tourism.

The President of Montenegro congratulated Cyprus for the 20th anniversary from its accession to the EU, underlining that Cyprus is a role model for Montenegro with regard to how it has utilised its EU accession for the benefit of the country and its people.

He also expressed gratitude to Cyprus for its active engagement in terms of supporting Montenegro’s accession course.

President Milatović also noted that he hopes Montenegro finalises more EU chapters during Cyprus’ EU Presidency, and extended an invitation to President Christodoulides to visit his country.  

He also noted that Montenegro appreciates the role of the Republic of Cyprus in the region, pointing out that Cyprus is a role model also for its humanitarian actions in the Middle East. He also expressed his country’s interest in engaging in these humanitarian efforts.

Concluding, the President of Montenegro said his country maintains a regiment of policemen in Cyprus within the United Nations (UN) Peace Keeping Force, adding that the Security Council of his country has decided to also engage soldiers to be part of the UN peace keeping force on the island.

For the video of the statements press here.