The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Ioannis Kasoulides, met today, in Lefkosia, with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Poland, Mr Witold Waszczykowski, who is paying an official visit to Cyprus. The Polish Minister was also received by the President of the Republic, Mr Nicos Anastasiades, and the President of the House of Representatives, Mr Demetris Syllouris.
The two Ministers had a private meeting, followed by official talks of the delegations of the two countries and statements to the Press. During the meeting, the Ministers, inter alia, discussed the bilateral relations, the Cyprus problem and the efforts made for finding a solution, the situation in Turkey, Syria, Iraq and Lebanon. Also, they examined regional and European matters of common interest.
In his statements to the Press, Minister Kasoulides cordially welcomed his counterpart from Poland, with whom he had the opportunity to discuss a wide range of issues.
On the Cyprus problem, Minister Kasoulides briefed Mr Waszczykowski on the latest developments in the current negotiating process for finding a solution to the Cyprus problem and expressed Cyprus’ appreciation for Poland’s supportive and principled stance on the issue.
Regarding the bilateral relations, Cyprus Foreign Minister said that, even though they are in an excellent level, ways were examined for their further development.
Also, the two Ministers exchanged views on the political situation in Turkey, especially in light of the situation after the coup d’ état.
As regards the Eastern Partnership Summit, to take place in 2017, cooperation matters with the Eastern European partners were discussed, as well as the developments in Ukraine.
“Brexit was also on our agenda. We had an exchange of views about its consequences for both the UK and the EU and we are evidently keen to hear how the UK envisages its future relationship with the EU”, Minister Kasoulides added.
Furthermore, Foreign Ministers Kasoulides and Waszczykowski discussed the important process that was initiated in Bratislava with the aim to redefine the future of Europe, so as to actively and efficiently address challenges related to the need of the citizens to feel the EU much more for its care regarding their needs.
The issue of EU-NATO cooperation was also discussed.
Mr Kasoulides and his counterpart exchanged views on the wider Middle East region and on the situation in Syria, Lebanon and other developments and Minister Waszczykowski was informed about Cyprus’ trilateral cooperation with moderate states of the region.
On his part, Minister Waszczykowski thanked Minister Kasoulides for the welcoming and the constructive discussions he held with both the President of the Republic and the Minister of Foreign Affairs on important issues of bilateral, regional and European interest.
“We expressed opinions about the situation in our region. I briefed Mr President and the Minister about the situation in our part of Europe. I presented opinion about the Polish position on Brexit, and the future of the EU”, the Polish Minister said.
Moreover, concerning the Cyprus problem, Mr Waszczykowski had the opportunity to be briefed on the efforts made by the leaders of the two communities to reach a settlement the soonest. “I learnt about the last outcomes of the negotiations and the future perspectives of these negotiations. We very much admire your efforts, and we hope that this final state of negotiations will produce positive results, because it is not only important for Cyprus itself, but also for the relationship in the EU, and between the EU and NATO and of course the future of our relationship with Turkey”, he stressed.
Finally, Minister Waszczykowski pointed out that other issues were discussed, such as the challenges and threats Europe faces, the relations between Russia and Ukraine, as well as the unsolved conflicts in Syria, Libya and other areas.
Then, invited to comment on the discussion the two Ministers held on Turkey, Minister Kasoulides said: “Let me say first of all that –as you know- Turkey for us has a different meaning of what it is for the rest of the world. The reason being that, if we are going to resolve our long-lasting problem and become a truly independent and sovereign country, it depends a lot on what Turkey is going to introduce as positions regarding security. I always say that those who wish to see a solution submit proposals that are likely, after negotiation of course, to become mutually accepted. So this is the test, because I believe that the Cypriots amongst themselves, the two leaders between themselves, in all the internal subjects, have reached an understanding, except the territorial issue that will be discussed next week in Switzerland. Therefore, a lot will depend on what the position of Turkey is going to be.
Of course we analyzed the situation in Turkey, in a common interest, in the region, in Syria, Iraq, in relation to the contribution of Turkey to an agreement regarding the management of the migratory flows, Turkey awaiting to join the EU, visa liberisation regime, etc”.
Commenting on the same question, Minister Waszczykowski underlined that “it is natural that, due to different geopolitical location of both our countries, and because of different membership, for instance Poland belongs not only in the EU but also in the NATO, we have slightly different perception of Turkey.
But we are quite sensitive to the role of Turkey especially in this problem-solving of the reunification of Cyprus and, of course, we support the whole process for the reunification of Cyprus. We definitely advise our friends and allies in Ankara to be positive and to participate in the positive solving of this problem”.
In a question regarding the upcoming Cyprus Presidency of the Council of Europe, Minister Kasoulides referred to the very successful Presidencies of the EU hosted by Poland and Cyprus successively. “One of the reasons we had successful Presidencies is that when we take these responsibilities, we work in a neutral way, we leave our national interests aside and we promote the interests of the Union. We are going to do the same with the Council of Europe. We are going to have a neutral, objective Presidency and we will work professionally to deal with matters, especially the acute matters that need to be dealt with, like Ukraine, Georgia and Turkey; they are all going to be dealt with in this way. Of course, we have the main theme we are promoting, which nowadays is pertinent, the democratic security of the member states, which means that human rights and democracy should not discriminate against any minority, against the refugees, against the problem with the migrants, etc.
In particular, we are going to deal with the destruction of cultural heritage, pertinent now in the areas of conflict and take further measures, with a new convention, regarding the selling of artifacts coming from those areas of conflict and unfortunately going out into the markets of Europe”, he added.
Asked whether he will discuss the Polish candidacy for temporary membership to the Security Council with the Representative of the UN Secretary General on Cyprus, Mrs Elizabeth Spehar, the Polish Minister pointed out that the purpose of his visit to the mission of the United Nations here, “just to learn about the recent situation, to get information about the perspective for the reunification of Cyprus. So I will be there as a representative of a member country of the United Nations, to get information from the officials about the situation here.
Of course, I will inform the representative of the UN about our ambition to be part of the UN Security Council, but, of course, I hope for the support of the member states not the bureaucrats of the UN, because it is the member states that are voting for the presentation of Poland in the Security Council”.
Commenting on the same question, Minister Kasoulides expressed Cyprus’ commitment to vote in favour of Poland to join the Security Council. Secondly, he highlighted that Cyprus is looking forward to Poland’s effective participation in the Security Council, expressing the hope that “the Cyprus problem will be off the agenda of the Security Council, and a settlement is reached”.
Minister Waszczykowski shared Minister Kasoulides opinion that the Cyprus problem will be resolved before Poland enters the Security Council in 2018-2019./IBNA