Presidency of the Republic of Cyprus

It is a distinct pleasure to welcome my dear friend, President Pahor, and to be offered the opportunity to reciprocate the warm hospitality extended during my state visit to Slovenia in 2017.

Dear President, your visit takes place at what only can be described as extremely tragic and challenging times for Ukraine and its people and, inevitably, a large part of our discussions was dedicated to this ongoing humanitarian crisis.

A crisis which transcends Ukraine’s borders, with grave and multiple repercussions, not only in Europe but globally.

Cyprus and its people being in fact the very first victims following the end of the Second World War of the devastating effects of a foreign invasion on European soil and still suffering these past 48 years from the ongoing Turkish military occupation and the violation of international law, fully share the need to display tangible solidarity and support to the Ukrainian people.

In this regard, I also extended our solidarity to Slovenia on the rocket attack that destroyed the Consulate in Kharkiv.

And as Europeans, President Pahor, we should remain united in condemning the Russian invasion, in assuming a more active role so as dialogue and diplomatic means prevail and in immediately securing a cease-fire to end the tragic loss of innocent lives, including of children.

During our fruitful meeting with President Pahor, we did not only reaffirm the excellent level of our relationship, but we also exchanged ideas on the need to further strengthen it, particularly in the fields of economy, trade, tourism and higher education, on which there is great unfulfilled potential.

We also discussed issues high on our European Agenda, such as climate change, migration, the EU recovery plan and energy security.

On climate change, I informed President Pahor of Cyprus’ initiative in developing a Regional Action Plan to address the specific needs and challenges the countries of the Eastern Mediterranean and Middle East are facing, so as to address and mitigate its impact, in accordance with the Paris Agreement.

On migration, we both agree that the management of migratory flows continues to pose one of the most serious challenges that our Union is faced with, particularly the Southern European countries which are at the forefront of migratory external pressures.

Nonetheless, at this time of the unfolding humanitarian crisis in Ukraine and the hundreds of thousands of people fleeing their homes, we both agreed that our priority should be in offering protection to all displaced persons, as well as support and burden share the pressure on the neighboring countries of Ukraine.

We also welcomed the aims of the EU’s Recovery Plan which constitutes the largest stimulus package financed in Europe and provides us with the opportunity to emerge stronger from the pandemic, transform our economies and create a greener, more digital and more resilient Europe.

As regards Energy Security, the latest geopolitical developments have illustrated that the diversification of sources and the necessary interconnections, on which Eastern Mediterranean can assume an important role, is critical in ensuring affordable energy to our citizens, companies and the economies of our countries.

Last, but not least, I had the opportunity to congratulate President Pahor for Slovenia’s significant accomplishments while holding the EU Presidency this past semester, particularly the initiatives for a more comprehensive approach to EU crisis response and in hosting the Western Balkans Summit.

In addition to our cooperation within the European family, with President Pahor we also discussed ways to further enhance our coordination and dialogue in international and regional organizations, in line with the Memorandum of Political Consultations signed between our Ministries of Foreign Affairs in 2019.

To this end, I reaffirmed President Pahor that Cyprus will proudly support Slovenia’s bid for Security – Council membership for the period 2024 to 2025.

As it was expected, I had the opportunity to update President Pahor on the latest developments on the Cyprus Problem, as well as on Turkey’s illegal actions both at sea and on the ground at Varosha.

Actions which not only constitute another violation of international law, but pose a threat for the broader stability, peace and security not only in the already turbulent Eastern Mediterranean, but also of Europe at a period of unsettling events.

And as I have stressed our side will continue its numerous and persistent efforts to resume negotiations for a peaceful solution of the Cyprus Problem in line always with the relevant UN Security Council Resolutions and will continue assuming initiatives to provide a way out of the current deadlock, as our proposals for adopting bold Confidence Building Measures demonstrates.

To this end, it would be an omission on my behalf If I did not extend the genuine appreciation of the Government and the people of Cyprus for the Slovenian governments and the President’s personal interest and strong support to reaching a comprehensive and viable settlement on the Cyprus Problem which will reunite Cyprus in a modern and truly independent state, free from any foreign dependencies.

Mr. President, Dear Borut, with these words, I wish to welcome and thank you once more for your visit which has laid another foundation for even deeper cooperation between our countries on both the bilateral and multilateral levels, to the mutual benefit of our peoples.