The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Ioannis Kasoulides, had a meeting today with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of San Marino, Mr Pasquale Valentini, in the framework of a two-day official visit of Mr Valentini to Cyprus.
The two Ministers had a tête-à-tête meeting, followed by a working lunch hosted by Minister Kasoulides in honour of Mr Valentini and his delegation. Then, the two Ministers made statements to the Press. The bilateral relations and ways for their further strengthening, the relations of San Marino with the EU and the Cyprus problem were, inter alia, discussed during the meeting.
Speaking to the Press after the meeting and upon welcoming his counterpart, Cyprus Foreign Minister said that the bilateral relations were reviewed, underlining that Cyprus gives special importance to Mr Valentini’s visit. Especially, he noted that “small countries should join forces and show full solidarity”, and thanked San Marino for its support towards Cyprus to the Council of Europe, the United Nations and other international fora.
As regards the effort of San Marino, Andorra and Monaco to negotiate association agreements with the EU, Minister Kasoulides expressed Cyprus’ support to San Marino’s efforts and stressed that such agreements are of great importance for the countries and, especially because of the small size of these three countries, greater attention should be given, so that their economies will not be negatively affected.
The two Ministers discussed the details of a possible agreement and exchanged views in this regard. “One of the main issues is to examine the problems raised from Cyprus’ economic crisis, because it seems that San Marino addresses similar problems today. We should also review how we achieved to return to recovery course. We are at San Marino’s disposal for the exchange of expertise and experience, because of the similarity in many sectors of our economy, such as services, financial system, etc”, Minister Kasoulides added.
On his part, Minister Valentini, speaking in Italian through interpretation, thanked his Cypriot counterpart for the invitation, which gave him the opportunity to hold a series of important contacts in Cyprus.
Concerning the bilateral relations, Mr Valentini noted that the closeness between San Marino and Cyprus was discussed.
In relation to the efforts for finding a solution to the Cyprus problem, the Minister of San Marino conveyed his country’s support to the negotiation process and stressed that San Marino will make every effort in the context of all international organizations to contribute in every way to the realization of this goal.
Then, Minister Valentini pointed out that there is a need from the countries to approach the EU, highlighting that Cyprus’ presence and course encourages San Marino. “Geographically, our country is not only located within Italy, but within Europe too. This makes the need for integration more intense; an integration, which will allow our citizens to move more freely”, he said.
On this occasion, Minister Valentini expressed his country’s appreciation to Cyprus for its support in the framework of the EU, in order for the association process to begin. “The first step was made by Cyprus during its Presidency of the Council of the EU in the second semester of 2012. We call upon your support, so that we too can continue our course”, he added.
He stressed that the real challenge is, on the one hand, the need for this openness towards the EU and, on the other hand, the need to respect the particularities of small countries, which could also contribute in the European family.
“This cooperation will become more specific, there will be greater involvement, in order to identify the similarities and the opportunities to make this course more useful for the EU and the countries”, San Marino’s Minister said.
Minister Valentini thanked Mr Kasoulides for the opportunity to present San Marino’s concerns. He noted that, bilaterally, these issues will be examined in depth, to find ways to provide assistance to the EU for the mutual benefit.
Finally, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of San Marino wished every success to Cyprus during its upcoming Chairmanship of the Council of Europe and reassured for his country’s cooperation./IBNA