Cypriot Minister of Foreign Affairs, Nicos Christodoulides, had a meeting on Thursday afternoon with his Serbian counterpart, Ivica Dacic, in Belgrade on the sidelines of the official visit of the President of the Republic, Nicos Anastasiades, to Serbia.
After the meeting, which took place at Dacic’s Office, Christodoulides told reporters: “I would like to express my great pleasure in being in Belgrade today, in Serbia, a country with which the Republic of Cyprus maintains over time, excellent and very warm bilateral relations.
With my Serbian counterpart we had a very interesting and constructive discussion, during which we exchanged views on various issues of mutual interest.
First of all, we have confirmed our excellent and friendly bilateral relations, the true traditional friendship between the Cypriot and Serbian people, as well as the common approach on various issues, both bilaterally and multilaterally.
With regard to Serbia’s European course, a very important issue for the country, I congratulated my Serbian counterpart on the important progress made so far in the field of reforms and more broadly, and I expressed the unwavering and lasting support of Cyprus in the course of the country until accession to the European Union. I assured Mr. Dacic of the readiness of the Republic of Cyprus as an EU Member State to provide all practical help and support for Serbia’s accession course and of the fact that within the European Union Cyprus is a sincere supporter of the Serbian effort.
With regard to another, equally important issue that concerns Serbia, the position of the Republic of Cyprus on the non-recognition of Kosovo is all well known. I reiterated to my friend Minister the clear position of the Republic of Cyprus and the fact that, in the absence of a mutually acceptable solution to the question of the status of the region, Cyprus considers that the unilateral declaration of independence from Pristina is illegal.
I briefed Mr Dacic on the recent developments in the Cyprus issue and on the efforts we made to resume negotiations from the point where we were left in July 2017 when we were led to failure in Crans Montana. I also informed him about the developments in the Eastern Mediterranean, Turkey’s provocative actions that operate against the interests of not only the Republic of Cyprus and the EU, but also the neighbouring states, and I expressed the gratitude of the Cypriot Government and the Cypriot people in general for the significant support of Serbia at both bilateral and multilateral level, as well as other issues.
I have listened with great interest to Mr Dacic’s briefing, views and assessments of the situation and the developments in the wider region of the Western Balkans and we exchanged views on the future of the region. We believe that Serbia plays a key role in achieving security and stability in the region, and in this context we congratulate Serbia for its important role.
The Republic of Cyprus, as a Member State of the European Union, but also because of historical links, is interested in what is happening in the region and it is important to examine – and we will do so in the immediate future – how through joint actions we can contribute to meeting common goals and in particular, strengthen our economic and trade relations, which has been widely discussed between the two countries’ Presidents.
It will be a great pleasure to welcome Mr. Dadic to Nicosia as soon as possible and I look forward, in the context of his presence in Cyprus – something agreed at the highest level – to the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding that will provide for the implementation of regular Consultations Policies on various thematic policies, on matters of concern to the Ministries of Foreign Affairs of our countries”.
For his part, Mr. Dacic, speaking through an interpreter, said, inter alia, that “the Foreign Minister of Cyprus is a friend and heavily supports Serbia. Serbia attaches great importance to its relations with the Republic of Cyprus”, he said, pointing out the historical, close relations of the two countries.
He added that cooperation should be maintained at an intensive level “and today we have been instructed to prepare the Intergovernmental Conference in Cyprus with the participation of the Presidents of the two countries.
We will have an exchange of information and consultations on topical issues related to foreign policy with a view to mutual assistance”.
The Serbian Foreign Minister also said that “we are grateful to our Cypriot brothers who on all the international fora consistently respect the issue of Kosovo”.
He noted finally, that “our relations with Cyprus are a priority” and urged Serbian citizens to visit the free areas of Cyprus, drawing their attention to avoiding tourist offices that might organize trips to the occupied areas of Cyprus./ΙΒΝΑ