President of the Republic of Cyprus Nicos Anastasiades welcomed Saturday afternoon at the Presidential Palace the Lebanese Prime Minister, Saad Hariri, who paid a one-day visit to Nicosia.
On the arrival of PM Hariri in the Presidential Palace, a military contingent paid tribute, while the National Anthems of Cyprus and Lebanon were played.
Subsequently, Harri deposited a wreath on the statue of Ethnarch Makarios III.
Then, President Anastasiades and Prime Minister Hariri had a private meeting followed by wider talks between the delegations of the two countries.
Later, Anastasiades and Hariri made statements to the media.
In his statements, President Anastasiades said, inter alia, to Mr Hariri that “my visit last June to Lebanon and your visit here today are proof of the close relationship between Lebanon and Cyprus and our common commitment to further strengthening and upgrading our ties in the political-economic field, but also to the contacts between our peoples”.
President Anastasiades said that “our discussions today were very productive. We discussed, among other things, ways of promoting our bilateral relations, EU-Lebanon relations and how Cyprus can actively support their support. We also discussed the latest developments in our efforts for a comprehensive solution to the Cyprus problem.
We reviewed the progress in our bilateral relations since our last meeting in areas such as trade, energy, education and tourism. We are moving ahead with the conclusion of pending bilateral agreements. We also discussed developments in the wider region”.
The President of the Republic pointed out that “Cyprus recognizes the country’s continuing efforts in the fight against terrorism. In this context, I repeat my country’s commitment to supporting the Lebanese armed forces and I am glad to announce that Cyprus will deliver a new package of military assistance to the Lebanese armed forces”.
President Anastasiades praised the Government and the people of Lebanon for hosting more than 1.5 million Syrian refugees, noting their generosity.
The President also pointed out that he is looking forward to hosting a tripartite Cyprus – Lebanon – Greece summit in the coming weeks or months.
President Anastasiades reported that he briefed Mr Hariri on the developments in the Cyprus issue, after the Cyprus Conference in Crans-Montana, and thanked Lebanon for its principled stance in terms of resolving the problem.
“Despite the intensive efforts and commitment of our side in Crans-Montana, Turkey’s insistence on security and guarantees, on the conservation of invasive rights, on the presence of foreign troops, contrary to international law and the parameters set by the UN Secretary-General, did not allow for results.
Despite the outcome of Kran Montagna, our side remains committed to continuing negotiations on a comprehensive solution in line with international law, relevant UN Security Council resolutions as well as European law. Reunified Cyprus must be a functional, viable, independent sovereign state that can play its regional bridging role”, President Anastasiades said.
Reminding that “the peoples of the two countries have stood alongside each other with solidarity”, President Anastasiades said that “we are determined to strengthen our ties and cooperation and to work together for the mutual benefit of our two countries, but also for our region”.
For his part, Prime Minister Hariri stressed that Cyprus is the second home for his compatriots.
He characterized his meeting with President Anastasiades as exceptional and added that his government appreciates his country’s relations with Cyprus, which is Lebanon’s closest European partner.
“I thank the President for his support for our armed forces, the security sector more broadly”, he said, adding that during the talks he stressed the need to further strengthen economic and trade co-operation between the two countries.
The Lebanese PM also referred to the global humanitarian obligation of the international community towards refugees and the provision of assistance and shelter from Lebanon to Syrian refugees, which has greatly burdened Lebanon, adding that “we need the support of our friends in the international community”.
He expressed confidence that, to this end, Cyprus will play an important role as a friend country and as a member of the EU.
Referring to the Cyprus issue, Mr Hariri said that “my Government is fully committed to the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the Republic of Cyprus.
We have repeatedly called for the full implementation of relevant Security Council resolutions and supported the United Nations good offices in this regard and encourage it to intensify its efforts to reach a peaceful solution which will guarantee the rights of all.
The President expressed to me his commitment to resuming the talks to resolve this issue”, PM Hariri concluded./IBNA