The President of the Republic, Mr Nicos Anastasiades, addressed today the 2nd Belt and Road Forum organised by the Government of China, in Beijing with the participation of 40 leaders of state or government.
Speaking at the leaders’ roundtable discussion that took place at the Yangi Lake area, in Beijing, President Anastasiades said that «at the outset, I wish to express my sincere appreciation to President Xi for the invitation to participate at the 2nd Belt and Road (BRI) Forum.
A Forum which on the one hand symbolises the historic links and connections between the East and the West, the ancient Silk Road, and on the other hand aims at promoting international connectivity, as well as boosting global growth and development for the benefit of our peoples.
There is a famous Chinese proverb saying: “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” It is actually almost six years since President Xi took this first step and outlined his vision for the future and the great potential of this initiative, signalling a new era in multilateral cooperation.
And during the deliberations of the Forum, I have no doubt that through the fruitful exchange of views and the assessment of the progress achieved so far, a renewed impetus will be added as regards our joint efforts to fully materialise the objectives of the BRI.
Our shared aspiration to achieve prosperity through transnational and intercontinental connectivity, asides the obvious economic benefits it entails, through facilitating and enhancing people-to-people contacts brings our citizens closer together.
And as President Xi pointed out during the first Belt and Road Forum, this in return boosts mutual understanding, respect, trust and amicable relations between our peoples and consequently our countries.
Evident of my Government’s support to the initiative and our willingness to further enrich our cooperation with participating countries, has been the signing of a bilateral Memorandum of Understanding with China a couple of days ago, in a vast array of fields under the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative.
And taking this opportunity, I wish to stress that Cyprus, is a genuine supporter of an ever closer Euro-Asian relationship.
This stance arises from our belief that a comprehensive strategic partnership between Europe and Asia in a multitude of areas, based on full adherence to market rules and international norms and standards, will be mutually beneficial and further reinforce economic, trade and investment relations between our two continents.
It is for this exact reason that from the very beginning, we had supported the Belt and Road initiative, since we strongly advocate that this project would be to Europe’s best interests and our efforts to achieving sustainable growth.
To this end, I believe that Cyprus’ location, at the crossroads of three continents - Europe, Africa and Asia – provides an important geostrategic advantage as regards the successful implementation of BRI across all areas of its wide-ranging connectivity, particularly in the energy field, taking into consideration the significant hydrocarbon discoveries of Eastern Mediterranean.
Today’s Forum and the Joint Communique we have adopted, is a strong statement of the necessity for a stronger partnership network between us and highlights our acknowledgement that our strategic relations can strengthen our efforts for peace and prosperity around the world
This is due to the fact and it should be acknowledged by all, that BRI is a project striving to build bridges between different continents, nations and citizens. Not only political, economic and financial, but also bridges and synergies of our diverse and rich history, heritage, knowledge and culture.
President Xi, thank you once again for hosting this event. It has been indeed a very fruitful Forum. I once more wish to assure that we remain committed to further broaden the areas of our cooperation under the initiative, ensuring the successful fulfilment of its mission. It is only by working closely together that we will ensure a rewarding future for our people».
On his part, President Xi said «thank you President Anastasiades. Indeed, as you said, Cyprus is where Asia, Europe and Africa meet. It has an important geographical advantage», said the President of China, who expressed belief that by utilising this advantage, and in cooperation with the rest of the states participating in the Belt and Road initiative, «Cyprus will enjoy new opportunities for its own and original development».