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17-09-2019 21:11

Remarks by the President of the Republic, Mr Nicos Anastasiades, at the reception celebrating the founding of the People’s Republic of China

It is a great honour to join you on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China and I would like to thank Ambassador Huang for his kind invitation.

In the middle ages, ancient China introduced the world to the four great inventions that had a profound impact on civilization as well as on the course of history: gunpowder, paper making, printing, and the compass.

And now, looking back at the past seven decades, following profound changes and reforms, we have witnessed your country’s remarkable achievements in economic and social development with positive influence in the international community.

Always striving for a better future, these achievements were the result of progress and hard work by the Chinese people, constantly working towards building a prosperous nation.

Our friendship, like our bonds with China, is deeply rooted and we stand ready to advance our partnership in a multitude of areas, seizing the new opportunities presented upon us and providing a strong impetus to the further enhancement of our bilateral relations.

To this end, this past April, I had the opportunity, after the invitation of His Excellency, President Xi Jinping, to visit China to participate at the Belt and Road Forum.

Apart from my constructive meeting with President Xi Jinping, I also consider the signing of the two Memoranda of Understanding on Education and on Cooperation in the Framework of the Economic Belt as two significant steps which highlight the scope of possibilities for cooperation between our two countries. 

The said Memoranda, which further enhance our already strong institutional framework of co-operation through numerous Agreements and Memoranda which are in place, in conjunction with our growing cooperation in commercial exchanges, technology, culture, tourism, as well as the increase of people to people contacts, bear witness to our constantly evolving and deepening partnership, on the basis of mutual respect and understanding.  

Likewise, given the complexities of the challenges we are all faced with, we both share the same views on multilateralism, dialogue, cooperation and the peaceful resolution of conflicts, on the basis of international law and the indispensible role of the UN.

It is within this context and as a matter of principle and respect of international law that Cyprus remains consistently committed to the One China Policy and a strong supporter of the integrity, unity and sovereignty of China.

At the same time, we highly value and we are grateful for China’s principled stance and support regarding the Cyprus Problem and our efforts to reunify our country, in accordance with the relevant UN Security Council Resolutions, international law and the EU acquis.

A support which becomes even more important taking into account China’s position as a permanent member of the UN Security Council, amidst a period of renewed tensions and violations by Turkey, such as:

Illegal drilling operations in our Exclusive Economic Zone, in clear violation of our sovereign rights in contrast to the UN Convention on the law of the Sea, as well as  recent actions and statements alluding to plans of the Turkish side for a potential opening of the fenced area of Varosha, again in violation of international law and the  UN Security Council Resolutions 550 and 789.

The aforesaid actions should be clearly condemned by the international community since they do not only contradict the UN Charter and international law, but they also pose a threat to peace and stability in Cyprus and our immediate region and run contrary to the necessity of having a positive climate in place, conducive to resuming negotiations with the aim of reaching a comprehensive and viable settlement to the Cyprus problem.

On my part, I wish to reiterate that I remain strongly committed and determined to do my utmost to support the efforts of the UN Secretary General’s special envoy, Ms Lute, to reach an agreement on the “Terms of Reference”, so as to pave the way forward for the resumption of the negotiating process.

And I wish to reiterate that our primary focus and top priority remains none other than the reunification of Cyprus without any external interference, foreign guarantees and military troops, as a truly independent and sovereign state.

In this regard, it is understandable that the necessary conditions for the resumption of meaningful negotiations should be in place and we hope that Turkey will finally actively contribute to creating an appropriate climate for holding talks, by ending its unlawful activities.

Before concluding, I feel obliged to, yet again, reaffirm our support to the Silk Road initiative that targets to strengthen relations between Europe, China, and the wider fields of Asia in numerous fields of cooperation, putting forward a fresh approach to connectivity which is sustainable, comprehensive, rules-based, and promotes investment and trade.

To this end, I am pleased to assess that the second Belt and Road Forum held this past April, through the fruitful exchange of views and the assessment of the progress so far achieved, provided a renewed impetus as regards our joint efforts to fully materialise the objectives of the Belt and Road Initiative.

As I stressed, my Government stands ready to work closely with the Chinese Government in promoting the Silk Maritime Road, as well as further promoting and advancing the strategic partnership between China, Cyprus and the EU through a frank and open dialogue, which is a vital part in building mutual trust and understanding.

In closing, please join me in raising our glasses to the friendship and prosperity of our two countries and peoples.

Ambassador, I look forward to the 5G technology demonstration and the Chinese cultural performances that will follow.