Cypriot Minister of Foreign Affairs Nikos Christodoulides is in Beirut on an official visit, after the country formed its newly elected government. This constitutes the first official visit by a foreign official to Lebanon since the government was formed.
Nikos Christodoulides met with his Lebanese counterpart Nassif Hitti, with whom they discussed bilateral relations and the prospect of further deepening them in various fields, on the occasion of the new Government taking over; the latest developments in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East, in the light of Turkey’s escalating illegal activity within the maritime zones of the Republic of Cyprus; the EU-Lebanon relations, as well as regional and international issues of common interest.
In a joint press conference following the bilateral talks, Nikos Christodoulides highlighted the close geographical, cultural and historical relations between the two peoples, thanking his Lebanese counterpart for the warm welcome he received.
The Cypriot Minister stressed that the future of bilateral relations between the two countries was very promising and would contribute to strengthening stability, cooperation, security and peace in the region.
The two sides, according to Nikos Christodoulides, have been going over their bilateral relations, discussing concrete ways to strengthen existing co-operation and to extend it towards new areas for the mutual benefit of the people and the region.
He also noted that energy co-operation between Cyprus and Lebanon was particularly important, as the geographical proximity of the two countries, the common commitment to International Law and the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, the fact that the two countries were members, the Agreement on the demarcation of the Exclusive Economic Zone signed between Cyprus and Lebanon, alongside the fact that some of the largest energy companies operate both in Cyprus and Lebanon provide a solid basis for enhancing energy cooperation, thus creating synergies for the benefit of the two countries and the two peoples.
Nikos Christodoulides announced that the first Trilateral Summit between Greece, Cyprus and Lebanon would take place in Nicosia in spring, which proves the determination of the three countries to continue building the path of respect and co-operation between neighboring countries, in a region where this is not a given.
“Our vision is that micro-lateral cooperation initiatives such as these will provide the ground for the creation of a regional outcome-oriented platform that in turn will have a tangible and positive impact on the lives of our citizens and will ultimately allow all countries of our region to work together to meet the challenges and exploit the untapped potential”, the Cypriot Foreign Minister underlined.
Referring to the EU-Lebanon relations, Nikos Christodoulides reiterated that the Union was determined to continue working to further strengthen these ties for the common good, while reaffirming that Cyprus was a strong supporter of Lebanon and its people within the EU.
During his stay in Beirut, Nikos Christodoulides will be received by the new Lebanese Prime Minister Hassan Diab and will meet with Energy Minister Raymond Ghajar. /ibna