The President of the Republic Nicos Anastasiades had today, at the Presidential Palace, in Paris, a meeting with the President of France Emanuel Macron.
After the welcoming ceremony of President Anastasiades by President Macron, the two Presidents made statements to the media.
In his remarks, the President of the Republic said that “first of all, I would like to express my warm thanks for today’s meeting which is the result of the initiative of my friend President Macron.
We had the opportunity to live four days, very difficult times, but thanks to the leadership initiative of Emanuel, thanks to the bravery you showed in collaboration with Chancellor Merkel, we were able to succeed as Europeans once again to experience moments of success and happiness because we managed through initiatives and compromises to leave almost everyone satisfied.
What I note with particular satisfaction is that your role is not limited to the initiatives you take within Europe, but extends and highlights France as a pillar of stability and security in the East and West Mediterranean, where Europe is unfortunately absent. It is with great satisfaction and gratitude that I express my thanks and that of the Cypriot people for France’s interest and always firm position in resolving the Cyprus issue.
That is why I want to thank you very much, Emanuel, for the initiatives you are taking so that the Mediterranean is finally not an area under the control of either Turkey or other powers and not Europe. The initiatives you take highlight what Europe’s role should be, that is, it should not be limited to declarations, but through initiatives to take the lead and support the Member States. What is being recorded these days and in recent months, of course, the violation of the EEZ of the Republic of Cyprus, the threat of the settlement of Famagusta, what has transpired or is taking place in Syria, Iraq, these days and hours in Greece, Libya, show that there is a gap on the part of Europe but also that through your initiatives a ray of hope is revived that nurtures the European peoples and especially the countries that are affected by the role that Europe has to play.
I am happy because during our meeting we will see how our bilateral relations, which are excellent, can deepen further, based on the French Cypriot strategic agenda signed in 2016, how economic, cultural relations and especially defence cooperation are further deepened. I want to assure you that Cyprus will always be the most hospitable of the countries in terms of the French fleet and not only. We have always been and continue to be a country of real stability and security in the region. We have helped evacuate chemicals from Syria in the past, we have helped in many crises in the Middle East, such as in the case of Lebanon, and we will, if necessary, contribute again in this direction. We achieve this through bilateral relations with all our neighboring countries without exception”.
For his part, President Macron, speaking through an interpreter, said, among other things, that in Brussels the European partners worked for a sovereign Europe.
He added that the presence of President Anastasiades in Paris shows the importance for all Europeans, for our sovereignty, especially in the Eastern Mediterranean.
He noted that “really in this part of the Mediterranean that is vital to us, energy and security issues are important today”.
He added that “it would be a very serious mistake to leave our security issues in the hands of other players; this is not an option for Europe and it is something that France will not allow to happen.
Once again, I want to express the full solidarity of France towards Cyprus, but also Greece, in the face of Turkish violations of their sovereign rights. It is unacceptable for the maritime space of an EU Member State to be violated or threatened. Those who contribute to this must be punished, and you can count on France’s support in this.
Europe must defend its sovereignty with the utmost determination.
“This is the same issue we have in Libya, where we can not allow other forces, whatever they may be, to violate the arms embargo”.
He also noted that Europe needs to study security issues in the Mediterranean.
President Macron invited President Anastasiades to participate in the MED7 Summit to be held in Paris, as he said, around the end of August – beginning of September.
He added that the bilateral relations between Cyprus and France are excellent and can be further strengthened, especially in the field of French-speaking, economic cooperation, noting that “it is the area of strategy that consolidates our relationship and I want to thank the Cypriots for the excellent hospitality they provide to our fleet which has made more than 20 visits this year”.
Finally, he said that “you can count on the full support of France and we are on your side”.
Afterwards, the two Presidents and the members of their delegations attended talks on bilateral relations, Cyprus-France cooperation in the fields of Energy and Defence, EU-related issues, as well as the Turkish challenges in the EEZ of the Republic of Cyprus and in the Eastern Mediterranean more widely.
The Cypriot delegation includes the Minister of Foreign AffairsNikos Christodoulidis, the Minister of Defense Charalambos Petridis, the Government Spokesman Kyriakos Kousios, the Ambassador of the Republic to France Pantias Iliades, the Advisor to the President on Energy issues, Giorgos Lakkotrypis and other officials./ibna