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07-05-2019 13:01

Address by the President of the Republic, Mr Nicos Anastasiades, on the occasion of the presentation of credentials by the new Ambassadors, Ambassadress and High Commissioners to Cyprus

The President of the Republic, Mr Nicos Anastasiades, received on May 7, 2019, credentials of 16 new Ambassadors, Ambassadress and High Commissioners to the Republic of Cyprus.

Addressing the new Ambassadors, Ambassadress and High Commissioners of Cambodia, El Salvador, Tunisia, Namibia, Estonia, Croatia, Denmark, Ghana, Belarus, Argentina, Republic of Korea, Yemen, Canada, Pakistan, Zambia and Mauritania, President Anastasiades, said:

“Excellencies,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is with great pleasure that I welcome you all today at the Presidential Palace, having just received the Letters of Credence appointing you as the new Ambassadors and High Commissioners of your countries to the Republic of Cyprus.

I have no doubt that today’s ceremony will further advance the already fruitful cooperation between our countries, laying the foundation for even closer interaction and enhanced dialogue.

I wish to assure all of You present, that Cyprus attaches great importance to further expanding the bilateral ties and multilateral cooperation between our countries for the benefit of our peoples, based on our common adherence to international law and democratic values and norms.

In this respect, my Government and I personally will provide every assistance and support deemed necessary with regard to the performance of your high duties and in further advancing the relationship between the Republic of Cyprus and your countries. 

Excellencies,

Our vision with regard to our foreign policy was the development of a comprehensive strategy, bilaterally, regionally and internationally, which resulted in Cyprus being considered as a reliable and stable partner within the EU and the UN and a pillar of stability and security in the Eastern Mediterranean.

To this end, together with Greece, we proceeded to the formation of trilateral mechanisms of cooperation with Israel, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon and Palestine, aimed at promoting peace, security, stability and prosperity to our immediate region, with tangible and significant benefits for all participating countries.

And I am pleased to attest that establishing synergies that will serve as a model of broader regional cooperation gradually brought added-value and positive change in our periphery and created an increased interest from countries from the EU and beyond to join them.

Energy is certainly another strategic pillar of our foreign policy. The successful implementation of our energy plans, in close cooperation with neighbouring countries, substantially contributes to the EU’s policy for energy security and diversification, thus upgrading Cyprus’ geopolitical role.

Regrettably, as we speak now, Turkey is planning to commence hydrocarbon exploration drillings in areas falling within the continental shelf and the Exclusive Economic Zone of the Republic of Cyprus.

If Turkey proceeds with such an unprecedented illegal action, it would constitute a violation of the sovereign rights of the Republic of Cyprus and of international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, the relevant provisions of which have long been crystallized in customary law.

Such actions would also constitute a threat to peace and international security, contrary to the UN Charter and it would serve a devastating blow to the United Nations’ efforts that are underway to resume negotiations for a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem, to which, I want to underline that our side is strongly committed to.

We do count on your collective support, either as Members of the United Nations or of the EU, to exert your influence in order to prevent Turkey proceeding with illegal drilling activities.

This is indispensable in respecting and safeguarding international law and the principles on which the United Nations and the EU are founded, as well as in preserving the prospects for resuming negotiations for the reunification of Cyprus.

Excellencies,

With regard to the Cyprus problem, I would like to yet again stress in the clearest terms that we remain strongly committed to creating the necessary conditions in order to resume a productive dialogue with the prospect of a successful outcome on the Cyprus issue.

The current unacceptable status quo is not a sustainable option. It is only through a comprehensive, viable and functional settlement to the Cyprus Problem that we will be able to offer lasting peace and stability on the island, to the benefit of all Cypriots, Greek and Turkish Cypriots.

A settlement which will address the sensitivities and concerns of both communities, ensuring mutual respect and peaceful coexistence between all Cypriots, irrespective of their different ethnic, cultural and religious diversity.

This is what I have repeatedly conveyed to the Special Envoy appointed by the UN Secretary-General, Mrs. Jane Holl Lute, who has held already various separate meetings with all parties involved.

It is for this reason that, responding to the encouragement from the Secretary General for any new input that could prove useful in bringing the sides closer, I proposed that we discuss the decentralization of the exercise of powers, beyond those safeguarding the union and cohesion of the Federal State and functionality of the government, with the aim of a more effective decision-making process, in line with the non-encroachment and subsidiarity principles.

This would allow us to present a more viable and functional settlement, since on one hand, it would help minimize the disruption in the daily lives of the citizens of both communities, and on the other hand, it would lead to solving the contested issue of effective participation and the insistence for a Turkish Cypriot positive vote in any federal institution, body or organ.

Unfortunately, as I have already mentioned, Turkey’s intention to proceed with drilling activities within our Exclusive Economic Zone creates an environment not conducive for peace talks, and is another testament that Turkey’s rhetoric of its sincere commitment to reach a settlement is not matched by its actions.

Taking this opportunity, allow me to express, on behalf of the Government and the people of Cyprus, my deep appreciation for your countries’ principled stance on the Cyprus Problem, in line with international law and the relevant UN Security Council Resolutions.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I would also to briefly share my assessment as regards the economic outlook of Cyprus. Our Government proceeded with the implementation of a prudent fiscal policy and pursued significant structural reforms and we have succeeded in recovering an economy in distress, gaining international praise. 

The positive repercussions are being reflected through, among others, a dynamic growth rate of close to 4% (one of the highest in the EU), a drastic reduction of the unemployment rate, and successive budget surpluses and credit upgrades by various international rating agencies.

The challenge now is to keep up the momentum and ensure that we remain on a path of sustainable growth. Even though Cyprus has yet to reach its full potential in terms of economic growth, I strongly believe that we are on the right track.

Excellencies,

Regarding our European Union partners, I would like to reiterate the excellent relations that the Republic of Cyprus enjoys with Denmark, Estonia and Croatia. Since our accession to the EU, our relations have been significantly strengthened and our partnership has reached new heights, as we collectively work to address the issues high on our European agenda.

Our countries are strongly bound together by our common set of values which form an integral part of our European way of life, and we greatly appreciate the support, cooperation and solidarity that exist between us as EU member states. 

Let me assure you of my strong commitment to work closely with you aiming at further developing our multifaceted cooperation, both at bilateral and multilateral levels, as well as within the framework of the Union, in order to deal with the multitude of challenges we are currently facing. 

Our close relations with Argentina rest on common principles and values, both bilaterally and within the framework of international fora, particularly the United Nations.

I would like to assure you, Excellency, that Argentina’s long-standing and significant contribution to the UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus is greatly appreciated.

Cyprus considers Canada as a very close and important partner and recognises its pivotal role in forging the strong ties between the two sides of the Atlantic, thus promoting regional cooperation. The fact that our two countries are members of a number of significant international organisations, including in particular the Commonwealth, adds additional impetus towards the further enhancement of our cooperation on various crucial issues.

Moreover, my Government looks forward to the strengthening of our bilateral relations with El Salvador and stands ready to join efforts in exploring new fields of cooperation. Cyprus also strongly supports the EU–El Salvador cooperation and dialogue in all areas of mutual interest.

With Tunisia we share the common political will to further advance our bilateral relations and cooperation. Cyprus stands ready to intensify our coordinated efforts to facilitate the further development of the EU–Tunisia relations.

As regards Yemen, we are all seriously concerned with the continuing conflict and the acute humanitarian crisis. We fully support the implementation of the “Stockholm Agreement”, an important step towards the re-launching of an inclusive political process.

In this regard, we reiterate our commitment to the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Yemen, and strongly support the efforts of the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy, Mr Martin Griffiths. We hope that positive developments in Yemen will soon allow us to strengthen our bilateral cooperation in fields of mutual interest.

With regard to the Republic of Belarus, we are looking forward to explore new opportunities to further enrich our sound relations, particularly in the fields of business, trade, tourism and investments. At the same time, Cyprus will continue to actively advocate for the strengthening of the EU–Belarus relation, within the Eastern Partnership framework.

Cyprus and the Republic of Korea share a solid friendship based on common values of international peace, security, rule of law and respect to human rights. Our two countries also share the same belief in the resolution of international problems and conflicts through peaceful means. The persistence on inalienable principles and the commitment to the UN constitutes our fundamental defence in safeguarding our very existence.

The diplomatic relations between Pakistan and Cyprus have been advancing over the last few years and we are very keen on improving the level of our bilateral relations even further on all areas of common interest. I wish also to express our sincere appreciation for your contribution to the UNFICYP.

With Cambodia, we share a common history of struggle for independence and national sovereignty. As regards to our cordial relations, I believe that these can be further enriched by expanding our cooperation in a vast array of fields.

Ghana and Cyprus have traditionally close ties, including within the Commonwealth. My Government looks forward to further broaden these ties and our cooperation in international fora to address global challenges. Cyprus will continue to support the further enhancement of Ghana’s relations with the European Union.

As regards Namibia, our relations are based on a solid framework of mutual respect and understanding. We aim to work closely with you for the further expansion of our bilateral relations and to explore new areas of mutual beneficial partnership. Within the Union, Cyprus is committed to the enhancement of political dialogue and cooperation with Namibia.

Our relations with Zambia are longstanding from the time we both gained our independence. I believe there is much fertile ground to develop our relations further. Cyprus acknowledges Zambia as a significant player in the affairs of the African continent and an emerging pillar of economic prosperity for the entire region. We congratulate you on the successes achieved to date and assure you of our readiness to promote closer ties between Zambia and the EU.

Turning to Mauritania, we are ready to work closely with you towards further fostering the relations between our two countries and peoples and to explore avenues of cooperation, both bilaterally and in international fora. As in other cases, I wish to express our willingness to strengthen the EU-Mauritania relations.

Excellencies,

In concluding, I sincerely wish you every success in the accomplishment of your important work. Please accept my most heartfelt congratulations for your appointments and the beginning of your diplomatic missions in Cyprus.

Thank you.”

(RM/ML)