Croatia: Grlić Radman, Christodoulides discuss deepening of bilateral relations and co-operation in Nicosia

Croatia: Grlić Radman, Christodoulides discuss deepening of bilateral relations and co-operation in Nicosia

Croatian Foreign and European Affairs Minister Gordan Grlić Radman paid a working visit to the Republic of Cyprus on Thursday, where he met with President Nicos Anastasiades and Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides.

In the meeting with President Anastasiades, Grlić Radman discussed the friendly bilateral relations and opportunities for strengthening cooperation between Croatia and Cyprus.

During his meeting with Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides, Minister Grlić Radman thanked his Cypriot counterpart for the financial assistance Cyprus provided to Croatia after the earthquake that struck the central part of Croatia. Both sides welcomed the good and friendly bilateral relations, which will be further bolstered through the signing of the Memorandum of Cooperation for political consultations between the two Foreign Ministries. The Ministers also agreed that there are opportunities to strengthen economic cooperation, in particular in the petrochemical, pharmaceutical, food and textile industries, the IT sector, agriculture and in the shipbuilding industry.

Stressing the Mediterranean character linking Croatia and Cyprus, Minister Grlić Radman thanked Nikos Christodoulides for Cyprus’ support toward Croatia’s accession to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the Eurozone and the Schengen area.

The Croatian Minister also stated that Croatia supports the peaceful settlement of the Cyprus issue in accordance with the relevant documents and decisions of the United Nations, international law and the acquis communautaire, which would result in the unification of the island into a sovereign bi-communal, bi-zonal federation.

Grlić Radman expressed Croatia’s solidarity with all countries exposed the most to migration pressure. “Close cooperation and joint actions with regional and international partners remain the pillars of the strategy and integrated migration management,” the minister said. The measures taken by Croatia to protect the EU ‘s external borders from attempts at smuggling, trafficking and secondary travel were further underlined.

Following the discussion on immigration, Minister Grlić Radman pointed to Bosnia and Herzegovina, as the issue of security became topical during  migration and the humanitarian crisis in that country. He stressed the importance of a stable Bosnia and Herzegovina, based on the equality of the three constituent peoples, and the reform of the electoral law – one of the key factors in ensuring the long-term stability and functioning of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Welcoming the signing of the Memorandum of Cooperation, Nikos Christodoulides noted that the signing provided a strong incentive to further strengthen bilateral cooperation. He added that there is already strong interest in cooperation between research institutes and universities.

Continuing his statements, Christodoulides said that Nicosia expects the forthcoming informal meeting on the Cyprus issue at the end of April to pave the way for the resumption of substantive negotiations, aimed at achieving tangible results. “We agree on the crucial role Turkey has to play and how important it is for Turkey to demonstrate its commitment in practice, tangibly contributing to efforts to find a solution,” he added.

He also stressed that “a reunited Cyprus must be a functioning State, a viable EU Member State, a stable and credible entity operating in its region. A modern European State that is not linked to anachronistic systems and structures that have no place in the 21st century.”

Referring to the bilateral relations between Cyprus and Croatia, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Cyprus said that “we see great potential for strengthening the traditionally excellent ties that bind our countries and we firmly believe that it is time to give them a new impetus for an even more meaningful relationship.”

He also noted that they exchanged views on a number of pending issues high on the European agenda, such as the significant impact of migration on the two countries at regional level as well, the future of Europe, the Western Balkans, and of course Euro-Turkish relations, in view of the meetings of the Foreign Affairs and the European Council, as well as other regional and international matters of common interest.

Nikos Christodoulides also stressed that “we note the interest of Croatia to participate in MED7. We are looking forward to discussing the issue with our partners at MED7, where Croatia’s interest will be assessed on its own merits. From our side, we see the added value of Croatia’s participation,” he concluded. /ibna