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President Christodoulidis: The EU's essential role in the efforts for reunification

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Προεδροσ Χριστ οδουλiδης: Ουσιoδης ο ρoλος ΕΕ στ&iota

In our reunification efforts, the EU's leadership role is essential, as its meaningful and active involvement can help restart negotiations and achieve a Cyprus solution , emphasized the President of the Republic of Cyprus, Nikos Christodoulidis, in a speech at the College of Europe in the city of Bruges, Belgium.

The President, who was invited to address the College by the newly formed Cypriot Students' Association of the College, as part of the national week dedicated to Cyprus, referredto the three anniversaries/events that coincide in 2024, the 20 years since accession of Cyprus in the EU, the 50th anniversary of the Turkish invasion and the upcoming European elections.

What unites them, he said, is the desire and vision for the future, for the Europe we want, for more integration, for more unity, which inevitably means that the EU must also become a catalyst for the reunification of the last divided state member, through a comprehensive settlement in accordance with UN Security Council resolutions and the European acquis. A solution that protects the fundamental rights and freedoms of all Cypriots, Greek Cypriots, Turkish Cypriots, Maronites, Latins and Armenians.

In these efforts for reunification, he stressed, “the leadership role of the EU is essential as its substantial and active involvementcan help to restart negotiations and achieve a solution to the Cyprus problem. As I have repeatedly stated, the tools that the EU has at its disposal can help achieve a mutually beneficial situation for all the Cypriot people, the EU, Turkey and the wider region”.

He reiterated that from the assumption of his duties,is in constant communication with Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot civil society groupsand representatives of youth networks saying “I am well aware of the fact that the new generation of the island, both Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, want peace. And I think that the Cypriot student society of the College of Europe is indeed a typical example of this, as it is made up of members from both the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities. Your call for peace is clearly heard. And I will spare no effort to realize the common dream of reunification, peace and prosperity in Cyprus”, the President underlined.

In his speech, he also referred to the Middle East, noting that the EU does not can afford not to have a strong voice and role in what happens in theregion, not only because it is an integral part of the EU as a strategic, global actor, but also because what happens in the Middle East has a serious impact on Europe, from migration to security.

“The visit last Sunday of the President of the European Commission together with five heads of state, including Cyprus, for the historic signing of the EU-Egypt strategic partnership is proof that the EU can and must play this role. For a long time, Cyprus was fully aware of Egypt's crucial role as a pillar of stability in the regionand we supported the development of a strategic partnership between the EU and Egypt. I am very happy that last Sunday this vision came true, he stressed.

President Christodoulidis, who is the first Cypriot President to visit this historic academic institution, referred to the maritime humanitarian aid corridor from Cyprus to Gaza saying that after months of intense diplomatic efforts and coordination with partners, the Amalthia project has been implemented with the first ships carrying humanitarian aid having arrived safely in Gaza.

He added that one ship has already successfully delivered humanitarian aid to Gaza and another is under way. en route to Gaza, and said that Cyprus is working hard with its partners, over 40 states have expressed interest, to ensure a continuous flow of aid to civilians.

“It was an effort that we embarked on fully aware of its enormous difficulties. Fully aware that almost no one believed it could actually be implemented. But as a small country, without hidden agendas, having an important geographical position and excellent relations with all the countries in the region, we had a responsibility to pursue it,” he underlined.

He said that “with the support of the EU, the United States , of the UAE and others, we managed to make it a reality. An achievement for the whole of the EU and for the benefit of hundreds of thousands of people”.

“This is a testament to the role the EU can play and the role Cyprus can play as a bridge between the troubled region of the Middle East and the rest of Europe. The EU must be actively present in neighborhood and support all efforts for a sustainable ceasefire, which we hope will lead to new negotiations on the basis of the UN Security Council resolutions for a two-state solution for Palestine and Israel”, he pointed out.

Referring to Ukraine, he said that Cyprus, a victim of illegal invasion and half a century of continuous occupation, has stood unwaveringly, decisively on the right side of history regarding the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

“We stand and will continue to stand with Ukraine and its courageous people fighting Russian aggression, which has effectively erased the notion that peace on the European continent is a given. Rather, it has proved that we must protect and defend it vigorously And this can only be achieved if we are united.”

Furthermore, he pointed out that standing on the right side of history does not it was done without cost, adding that “we have made painful decisions, which come at a cost to our people and our societies. But it is clearly a cost worth bearing. We will never allow changes to the borders that come from violence and war“.

Referring to the vision for the future of Europe, he said that the European project has never been more valuable than what today and that never before have we needed a stronger, more resilient, more competitive Union, which gives importance to the daily lives of European citizens and is present as a strong global factor in the geopolitical arena.

The strategic autonomy of the EU, noted President Christodoulidis, must not remain an abstract idea, but must be given flesh and bones and become a reality. In this respect, he continued, building European defense at Union level can be catalytic and is something that Cyprus strongly supports.

“Cyprus will continue to contribute constructively in the discussions on the Future of Europe, the strategic agenda in view of its expected approval at the European Council in June”, he concluded.

Source: www.philenews.com

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