Statement to the Press by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Nikos Christodoulides, on the occasion of the visit to Cyprus by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Serbia
I am very pleased to welcome to Cyprus my colleague from Serbia, Nikola Selaković, as well as the members of his delegation. We are indeed very honoured that Nikola has chosen to visit Cyprus on his first bilateral visit abroad as Minister of Foreign Affairs. I wish to thank you for this also publicly, dear Nikola, as I know that your presence here today reflects the strength of the traditional ties of friendship between our countries and our peoples.
During the course of our open and positive deliberations, we reviewed the full spectrum of our excellent bilateral relations, which are founded on a solid institutional framework, as well as on strong people to people contacts. We noted with satisfaction the high level of cooperation that already exists in a number of different areas and examined concrete ways in which existing ties could be further enhanced and expanded, especially in fields such as the economy and trade, education, culture and tourism and the institutionalization of cooperation between our corresponding diasporas.
Towards this end, we have agreed that in 2021 — as soon as conditions allow — I will reciprocate by visiting Nikola in Belgrade, together with a business delegation from Cyprus, with a view to holding a business forum together that will add momentum to our trade relations.
Moreover, we had the opportunity to discuss the pandemic and its impact not only on our countries but also on a global level, and we exchanged views on a number of regional issues, as well as on recent international developments that are of common interest and concern, focusing in particular, but not only, in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Western Balkans.
Within this context, I briefed Nikola on the latest developments regarding the Cyprus problem and the ongoing efforts by the UN Secretary General aimed at the resumption of meaningful negotiations from where the last process was suspended in Crans Montana, to which we are fully committed. I also informed about the continuing illegal activities of Turkey in the Exclusive Economic Zone and continental shelf of Cyprus, as well as on the ground, with the provocative Turkish actions in the fenced area of Varosha, in violation of the relevant UN Security Council resolutions. In relation to this, I of course expressed our deep appreciation for Serbia’s steadfast position and long-standing support.
As you might expect, we also had the opportunity to exchange views on relations between the European Union and Serbia, with particular focus on enlargement prospects. I listened very carefully to Nikola’s analysis on the progress of Serbia’s accession negotiations and reaffirmed on our part the full support of Cyprus to Belgrade’s efforts towards this direction, as well as our readiness to provide any assistance required. We even discussed the possibility of sending experts from Cyprus to Serbia to assist, if this could be helpful.
With regard to the issue of Kosovo and Metohija, the long-standing position of Cyprus is well known and, as I have assured Nikola today, it remains firmly unchanged.
Before turning the floor to you, I wish to congratulate you on the recent assumption of your duties and to thank you warmly for your presence here today. Based on the discussions we have had today, I look forward to working closely with you over the coming period to drive forward our rich bilateral agenda and to enhance peace, cooperation and prosperity in our region and beyond.