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12-06-2024 20:31

Remarks by the President of the Republic of Cyprus, Mr Nikos Christodoulides, on the occasion of the celebration for the birthday of His Majesty King Charles III

It is a sincere pleasure to join you this evening in celebrating the birthday of His Majesty King Charles the Third. My special thanks go to the British High Commission for organising this event, as well as to the High Commissioner himself, Mr Irfan Siddiq, for his kind invitation.

Today is a fitting occasion to pay tribute to His Majesty’s unwavering devotion to his country and nation. It also serves as an opportunity to reflect and celebrate the long-standing friendship and enduring bonds between our two countries and peoples.

Cyprus and the UK share deep-rooted historic, economic, cultural ties as well as close people-to-people contacts. These ties are underpinned by our mutual support to democratic values, peace and freedom.

Since Brexit, our countries have embarked on a path of readjusting and deepening the institutional base of their cooperation in a wide range of fields; in trade, investments, tourism and technology, security and defence and, of course, education.

The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Establishing a Strategic Framework of Cooperation between Cyprus and the UK, signed in November 2022, is a landmark of the Cyprus-UK bilateral agenda as it consolidates our collaboration on a tangible and results-oriented manner.

In this context, I am pleased to recall that first Strategic Dialogue under the MoU between Cyprus and the UK took place last December where our two sides had the opportunity to discuss all policy areas related to the MoU, such as foreign affairs, defence, security, trade, maritime affairs, education. They also identified new prospects for cooperation all with the aim of aspiring to a promising future, full of opportunities.

The 2024 Bilateral Defence Cooperation Programme, the joint arrangement relating to the non-military development in the British military bases area, as well as the excellent cooperation we shared and continue to do so on the Amalthea plan, the maritime “lifeline” to Gaza, are also speaking examples of the close cooperation between Cyprus and the UK.

I would be remiss if I did not underline my appreciation for the UK’s consistent and persistent support on the Cyprus maritime initiative. Together, both with your help and other partners, we aim to facilitate the long-term political and socio-economic sustainability of the Gaza Strip, while providing a sustained tool to the international community for complementing existing routes.

From the 2023 test run with the Lyme Bay ship to assisting the USA’ pier via the military planners in Larnaka, the UK’s engagement and efforts in breathing life into this initiative have been pivotal. This maritime corridor can —and must— be part of a sustained effort to increase the flow of humanitarian aid to people who desperately need it.

Today is also an opportunity to reiterate our principled position for a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus issue, that will eventually lead to the reunification of the island, its people and its institutions. For us, the support and solidarity of the United Kingdom, a Permanent Member of the Security Council, towards our efforts to reach a just, viable and lasting solution is of great importance.

In the same vein, we attach great importance to the role of the UK in ensuring that all parties remain committed to relevant UN Security Council Resolutions and the agreed UN framework calling for a bizonal, bicommunal federation with a single sovereignty, single citizenship and single international personality, and of course with political equality.

As you are well aware, 2024 marks a somber anniversary, a milestone commemoration, for both Cyprus and Europe: it marks the completion of 50 years since the illegal Turkish invasion of Cyprus and the ongoing military occupation of almost 37% of the territory of the Republic of Cyprus.

As I stressed since the very first day I assumed office, my absolute priority is to work towards lasting peace in Cyprus, to break the current deadlock so that negotiations can restart with the aim to reunify Cyprus on the basis of relevant UNSC resolutions. My aim is to finally render Cyprus a normal, functional state, laying the foundations for peaceful coexistence and mutual understanding.

In this respect, we worked in a methodical and consistent manner and undertook initiatives to convince the international community of the urgent need to resume negotiations. We also welcomed the appointment of the UNSG’s Personal Envoy, Ms. Holguín, and we continue supporting substantially her work in promoting dialogue and in breaking the deadlock.

 Before concluding, I would like to convey my very best wishes to the Royal Family for strength and resilience in overcoming recent health challenges.

Once more, I would like to thank the High Commissioner for the invitation to join your celebrations, as well as for the warm hospitality.