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11-07-2019 17:57

Address by the President of the House, Mr Demetris Syllouris, at an event on “The role of globalization in the era of the One Belt, One Road Initiative”

It is a great pleasure to be here with you today and an honour to address such a distinguished audience, at this colloquium, co-organized by the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China to the Republic of Cyprus and the European University in Cyprus.

At the outset, I would like to express my appreciation to the Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to Cyprus, Mr Huang Xingyuan, for his exceptional overall support to the parliamentary relations between our two countries and especially to my initiative for a Memorandum of Understanding between the House of Representatives and the National People’s Congress, that was signed in December 2018. The main objective of the Memorandum is to shift the focus from the predominantly cultural character of the existing cooperation between the two countries and to open new avenues of strategic and practical partnerships, particularly under the One Belt, One Road Initiative. At the same time, the Memorandum also reflects our shared objective to achieve prosperity through transnational and intercontinental connectivity that, asides the obvious economic benefits it involves, by means of facilitation and enhancement of people-to-people contacts, can benefit our respective citizens and the wider Eastern Mediterranean region.

President Xi’s One Belt, One Road Initiative is by definition a global one. It symbolizes, on the one hand, the historic links and influences between East and West, reminding us of the ancient Silk Road. On the other hand it aims to promote not only international connectivity, but also to boost global growth and development, increasing mutual understanding, respect, trust and amicable relations between our peoples and consequently our countries, thus signaling a new era in multilateral cooperation.

Evident of the Republic of Cyprus’ support to the Initiative and its willingness to further enrich cooperation with participating countries, as well as of the fact that Cyprus is a genuine supporter of an ever closer Euro-Asian relationship, is the signing of a number of bilateral Memoranda of Understanding with China, in an array of fields, in the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative. This stance results from our belief that a comprehensive strategic partnership between Europe and Asia in a multitude of areas, based on 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 reason that, from the very beginning, Cyprus supported the Belt and Road Initiative. We strongly advocate that this project would be to Europe’s best interests and its efforts to achieve sustainable growth. To this end, I strongly 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 the Initiative across all areas of its wide-ranging connectivity.

I have no doubt that, through the fruitful exchange of views during this colloquium and the assessment of the progress achieved so far in today’s globalized environment, a renewed impetus can be added regarding specific actions to fully materialise the objectives of the One Belt, One Road Initiative. Primarily, the necessity for a stronger partnership network between participating countries, based on the acknowledgment that our strategic relations can strengthen our efforts for peace and prosperity around the world. The One Belt, One Road Initiative constitutes a project that strives to build bridges between 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.

Your Excellency,

Thank you for hosting this event. As you say in China “We are not friends because we are doing business together, we are doing business together because we are friends.” Echoing this proverb, I wish to underline once again that Cyprus remains committed to further broadening the areas of our cooperation under the One Belt, One Road Initiative, ensuring the successful implementation of its mission.