Statement by the President of the Republic of Cyprus Mr. Nicos Anastasiades
Dear Antonio, your visit today constitutes a historic moment for the relations of our two countries, since it is the first ever visit of a Portuguese Prime Minister to the Republic of Cyprus.
Cyprus and Portugal share long-standing ties of friendship and have always enjoyed excellent relations, both at the level of Government and of our peoples. This is a relationship which we greatly value and which we jointly aspire to further reinforce and strengthen.
Today, we have held very constructive consultations where we reviewed the architecture of our cooperation and discussed a number of ways to further expand our relations, both bilaterally and within the context of the European Union. And I am very glad to attest that our convergence of views with Portugal, on an array of areas, is more than evident.
To this end, we endeavour to continue our high-level dialogue, so as to identify opportunities for closer cooperation between Cyprus and Portugal. A dialogue on a wide spectrum, based on our shared vision and like-minded positions on critical issues, aimed at further solidifying this partnership.
Moreover, with the Prime Minister we underscored our desire to create synergies between our countries in various spheres, and building on the momentum of the visit of the Prime Minster we expressed our joint commitment to work together closely in an array of fields, including trade and investment, shipping, energy, education and culture.
In this context, we also discussed the possibility of organising a Business Forum in the near future, with the aim to pursue stronger trade relations and promote business opportunities between Cypriot and Portuguese entrepreneurs, as well as to further boost people-to-people contacts.
When it comes to the European Union, I would like to reiterate that within our European family we consider Portugal as one of our most reliable friends and partners. We may be at the two geographical extremes of our continent, yet we have mutual interests and concerns.
In this context, during our deliberations, we reaffirmed with the Prime Minister our common belief in a strong EU, based on its fundamental principles and values of democracy and solidarity, and agreed that the discussion on the Future of Europe is both essential and timely.
Building a better Europe that meets the expectations of its citizens, and provides for their security and their prosperity are goals we both share. Prime Minister Costa and I concurred on the crucial importance of working closely together, with a view to effectively tackling major european challenges, such as among others, the management of migratory pressures and the measures we need to adopt; the developments on Brexit; as well as the negotiations concerning the Multi-Annual Financial Framework.
Moreover, I had the opportunity to brief the Prime Minister on the implementation of our hydrocarbon exploration program and how Cyprus can contribute substantially to the European Union’s energy security and diversification of sources and routes.
Cyprus is greatly invested in contributing to the peace, prosperity and security of its region. In this respect, I also informed about the trilateral partnerships we have established with neighbouring countries, together with Greece, to the benefit of the whole region.
Last but not least, I also had the opportunity to thoroughly brief Prime Minister Costa on the latest developments on the Cyprus Problem – a predominantly European Problem - and particularly the efforts of the Special Envoy of the UN Secretary-General to reach an agreement on the “Terms of Reference” as regards the way forward.
What is of course required is for all interested parties and stakeholders to adopt a constructive stance and engage on the basis of good will with the Special Envoy, in order to establish the necessary conditions that will allow the dialogue to resume.
I reiterated to the Prime Minister that the vision of all Cypriots remains none other than to reach a viable and functional settlement that will reunite Cyprus in a truly independent and modern European State, free of any foreign dependencies.
Taking this opportunity, I wish to express the sincere gratitude and appreciation of the Government and the people of Cyprus to the Prime Minister and the government of Portugal, for the principled stance and important support they offer to Cyprus in our efforts to reach a comprehensive settlement in line with the UN Security Council Resolutions and the EU acquis, values and principles.
At the same time, we also welcome both the assessment that the EU provides the best guarantee for a reunited Cyprus and the resolve for the EU to adopt a more active role in the negotiating process, particularly as regards the smooth and secure implementation of the provisions of the settlement.
In closing, I would like once again to warmly welcome you to Cyprus and underline my conviction that this visit opens a new chapter in our relations, bringing us even closer, to the mutual benefit of our nations and prosperity of our people.