The excellent bilateral relations, EU related issues, regional and international issues and developments in the Cyprus problem were among the issues in the agenda of the meeting of Foreign Minister, Nicos Christodoulides, with his Dutch counterpart, Stef Blok, at the Ministry Foreign Affairs in Nicosia.
The two Ministers attended a private meeting today, followed by a wider meeting of delegations from both sides.
Following that, the two Ministers made statements to the media.
On his part, Mr Christodoulides, welcoming his Dutch counterpart, said they had the opportunity to review the full range of bilateral relations, while also exchanged views on European and other issues that concern both countries.
Mr Christodoulides noted with satisfaction that bilateral Cypriot-Dutch cooperation is at a very high level, adding that the two countries share common values and goals in various areas of foreign and security policy, human rights and the protection of vulnerable groups, as well as cooperation within the framework of the multilateral diplomacy system.
The two delegations, Mr Christodoulides continued, also had the opportunity to exchange views on the situation in Syria and the Middle East Peace Process. They also exchanged views on how the EU and its Member States can contribute more effectively to promoting peace and strengthening stability in the wider region.
In this context, Mr Christodoulides added that he briefed his Dutch counterpart on the mechanisms of tripartite cooperation that Cyprus has established with Greece and with Eastern Mediterranean countries. As the Netherlands is also actively involved in efforts to facilitate and enhance the prospects for peace and stability in the Middle East, the two countries have agreed to explore the possibility of co-operation and joint action in this area, he noted.
On other matters, Mr Christodoulides noted that he and the Dutch Foreign Minister discussed current issues in the common European agenda, focusing the EU’s relations with candidate countries, including Turkey, but also Brexit, as both Cyprus and Netherlands seek to minimize the impact of the UK exit.
Regarding immigration, the Cypriot FM said he conveyed to his counterpart the deep concern of the Cypriot government for the recent increase in the number of immigrants who come to Cyprus and subsequent asylum seekers, noting that Cyprus and the Netherlands agree that the responsibility must be shared , under the Dublin Regulation, through a binding relocation mechanism, which will take into account the reception capacities of each Member State.
Regarding the Permanent Structured Cooperation of the EU (PESCO), Mr Christodoulides stressed his satisfaction with the progress achieved, as Cyprus considers this mechanism as an important building block for building a Union that can guarantee its own its security.
Furthermore, the Foreign Minister said he briefed his Dutch counterpart on the latest developments in relation to the Cyprus issue.
He pointed out that Mr Blok shares the desire of the Republic of Cyprus for a reopening of the negotiations from the point at which they had been interrupted in Crans Montana and reiterated the firm commitment of Nicosia to this objective.
He added that he also had the opportunity to inform the Minister about the Cyprus Republic’s energy program in the Cyprus Exclusive Economic Zone, pointing out that this issue is an essential element of energy security in Europe. He also pointed out that this issue was particularly important in the context of his discussions with his Dutch counterpart, on account of the active role of Shell, a Dutch company, in this process.
Finally, Mr Christodoulides expressed the Cypriot Government’s deep appreciation to the Government of the Netherlands for the generous financial support that the latter has been providing for years, to the Committee on Missing Persons in Cyprus.
For his part, the Dutch Foreign Minister, Mr Blok, mentioned in his statements, inter alia, his visit to the offices of the Committee on Missing Persons, pointing out that he was impressed by the work that is being done.
He noted that his country “supports the work of the Commission, which is helpful in closing a long period of uncertainty and healing the wounds of relatives, which is of great importance for the reconciliation of the two communities”.
He added that “it is in this spirit that we have offered an additional 50,000 euros this year so that more genetic material analyzes can be carried out, bringing the total amount of our sponsorship to 672,000, since 2006”.
Referring to the meeting with the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General in Cyprus, Elizabeth Spahar, Mr Blok said he was briefed on the challenges faced by UNFICYP and on the United Nations perspective on the Cyprus problem.
Regarding the meeting he had with the President of the Republic of Cyprus, Nikos Anastasiades, the Dutch Foreign Minister said that they discussed the latest developments in the Cyprus issue and expressed the hope of resuming the negotiations with a view to achieving a viable solution. This, he said, “will be to the benefit of all of us in the European Union”.
He also expressed the conviction that with the appropriate political will and flexibility of all the parties concerned it is possible to reach a solution.
The Dutch Foreign Minister then spoke about the European cooperation between Cyprus and the Netherlands and the challenges the European Union is facing, including the economic challenges.
He also pointed out that Cyprus is a model for tackling such challenges, since it managed to overcome the economic crisis.
Mr Blok also said that, inter alia, he discussed with his Cypriot counterpart issues related to Brexit and other issues of European and international interest.
Foreign Affairs Minister of France on working visit to Cyprus on Friday September 7
The Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs of the French Republic, Jean-Yves Le Drian, is due to arrive in Cyprus on Friday morning, September 7, on a working visit, following an invitation by the Foreign Affairs Minister, Nikos Christodoulides.
The two Ministers will first hold a tête-à- tête meeting, followed by bilateral consultations between delegations from the two countries, during which discussions are expected to focus on the Cyprus problem, bilateral relations, including the strengthening of cooperation between the two counties in the framework of the Strategic Agenda between Cyprus and France, migration and other European and regional issues of common interest, such as the latest developments in the area of the eastern Mediterranean.
Minister Le Drian will depart from Cyprus on Friday afternoon./IBNA