Cyprus and Belgium, as partners within the family of the European Union, recognize that their present and future are intertwined, President Nicos Anastasiades on Thursday said, receiving the credentials of the new Belgian Ambassador Françoise Gustin. He added that Nicosia acknowledges the significant potential that exists for the further enhancement of the bilateral relations in all areas.
The President referred to the Cyprus problem saying that “our side considers the tripartite meeting with the UN Secretary-General, the Turkish Cypriot leader, and himself in Berlin last November, as a positive step in our efforts to conclude the ‘Terms of Reference’ and resume the peace process in the framework of the Good Offices Mission of the UN Secretary-General.”
“Our side considers the tripartite meeting with the UN Secretary-General, the Turkish Cypriot leader, and himself in Berlin last November, as a positive step.”
“Such a development would allow us to hold an informal Conference on Cyprus in the format of the previous ones, which would give the opportunity to all stakeholders to discuss the modalities that should guide the possible resumption of meaningful and well-prepared negotiations”, he added.
He also referred to Turkey’s latest provocations, saying that they have a huge negative effect on our efforts to resume the peace process and do not create the necessary conditions for all parties to engage in a results-oriented dialogue.
“Taking this opportunity, I wish to express my personal appreciation, as well as that of my Government and the people of the Republic of Cyprus, for Belgium’s support and contribution towards our efforts to reach a viable and lasting settlement of the Cyprus problem, as well as your country’s generous contribution throughout the years to the Committee of Missing Persons in Cyprus”, the President said.
Presenting her credentials Ambassador Gustin said that since 1960 Belgium and Cyprus’ ties have developed, not only bilaterally but as well multilaterally in the European Union and in the United Nations, adding that this is a strong and stable partnership relying on mutual trust and understanding.
“Since 1960 Belgium and Cyprus’ ties have developed, not only bilaterally but as well multilaterally in the European Union.”
“Recently Belgium also supported a recent EU unanimous decision on the illegality of the foreign drillings in the Cypriot territorial waters and on the need to respect international law. In the EU our two countries are indeed linked by the community of values we firmly believe in. The Member States and the EU Institutions managed to make the EU a unique area of peace, of stability, of prosperity and of liberty”, she said.
The Ambassador referred to current challenges that risk undermining the European Union’s cohesion and its inter-European solidarity, like the question of migration to which Cyprus is very much exposed.
“We believe it has become urgent to review the EU asylum mechanism in a spirit of responsibility and solidarity and to find appropriate and common solutions to these challenges”, she added.
“We believe it has become urgent to review the EU asylum mechanism in a spirit of responsibility and solidarity and to find appropriate and common solutions.”
She also referred to the recent meeting in Berlin under the leadership of SG Antonio Guterres, saying that it was a step forward in the right direction and Belgium supports all efforts which could be made to progress on the negotiation of the Terms of Reference.
The Ambassador also said that her country fully and strongly supports the Secretary-General in the good offices he provides to both parties in order to find a fair and sustainable solution in accordance with the relevant UN Security Council Resolutions.
“The mandate of UNFICYP has recently once more been extended and Belgium fully supported this extension as well as the work accomplished by UNFICYP. We will further attach the highest importance to the full respect of its mandate. Finally, Belgium will also continue to support the implementation of confidence-building measures which are essential to developing trust between the parties. Indeed, we firmly believe that enhancing mutual understanding is essential and that unilateral actions, on the contrary, are not likely at all to achieve any result and should be avoided”, she said.
“The mandate of UNFICYP has recently once more been extended and Belgium fully supported this extension as well as the work accomplished by UNFICYP.”
Ambassador Gustin also said that a solution to the Cyprus issue would be of major importance in the history not only of the European Union but also of the United Nations and therefore, Belgium will continue to welcome any diplomatic effort made under your courageous leadership in order to turn this ambition into reality.
Cyprus remains divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37% of its territory. Repeated rounds of UN-led peace talks for a Cyprus settlement have so far failed to yield results. The latest round of negotiations, in July 2017 at the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana ended inconclusively.