Presidency of the Republic of Cyprus

The President of the Republic, Mr Nicos Anastasiades, met on Sunday, February 14, 2021, with the Prime Minister of Israel, Mr Benjamin Netanyahu, in Jerusalem.

Following their tete-a-tete meeting, the President and the Prime Minister made remarks to the Media.

In his remarks, Prime Minister Netanyahu said, among other things, that «Nicos, a great friend of Israel and a great personal friend of mine, I welcome you and your delegation once again to Jerusalem. Since you were first elected President in 2013 we work tirelessly and effectively to build a very special partnership between Cyprus and Israel and through our common efforts I think we have ensured that our relationship is constantly growing strong all the time.

Israel and Cyprus embrace a future of progress, prosperity, peace and security.»

He added that the two countries cooperate in fields such as energy, water, tourism, public security and emergency services. Our medical cooperation has grown over the years but the common battle against covid -19 has energized that important cooperation, he said.

He thanked Cyprus’ willingness to recognise Israel’s vaccination passports and Israel will recognise Cyprus’ vaccination passports. This opens up the possibility of starting tourism in the near future, it is not going to open in the next few weeks but it will open not far away.

He said they will continue working on the EastMed pipeline and this can bring our efforts for exporting natural gas to new hights and new possibilities. He also said that recently he received good suggestions by the Prime Minister of Greece.

Mr Netanyahu said that the Abraham Accords open up options for new of cooperation in the region which could involve Cyprus as well.

He also noted the excellent bilateral relations of Cyprus and Israel.

On his part, President Anastasiades said that «from the outset, I would like to warmly thank you for the truly wonderful hospitality that you have once more extended to our delegation.

The fact that I am accompanied by four Ministers of my Government who have already had the opportunity to discuss with their Israeli counterparts a wide range of topics, such as our bilateral and multilateral cooperation, our energy synergies, our defence and tourism partnerships, aptly demonstrates the strategic depth of our relationship.

As it is expected, in the consultations to follow, Prime Minister Netanyahu and I, will exchange views on the negative impact of the pandemic on our societies, economies and health systems, and will discuss ways by which to mitigate these dire consequences.

We are well aware that vaccination is an extremely important tool in halting the pandemic. By increasing the number of people vaccinated, we can reduce the numbers of those affected, hospitalizations and deaths and, in turn, help reduce the burden on our medical system.

In this respect, it would be an omission on my behalf if I failed to warmly congratulate the Prime Minister for his leadership as regards the most timely and speediest rapid vaccination rollout, which has established the country as a world champion in this respect.

As I understand, about half of the eligible Israeli population has now been fully or partially vaccinated, while older and vulnerable groups are already seeing a significant drop in Covid-19 cases

In this regard, I look forward to hearing more on the very successful Israeli vaccination drive and in examining ways of deepening our professional cooperation in this respect.

We will also have the opportunity to exchange views over Israel’s “Green Passport” proposal, also in light of the fact that the resumption of unrestricted free movement is of great importance to Cyprus, which is a tourism-dependent country.

To this end, I am pleased to inform that an agreement has been reached between our two competent authorities, with which, from April 1st 2021, Israeli citizens who have been vaccinated with a vaccine approved by the European Medicine Association will not be required to take a PCR test to travel to Cyprus and will not be placed in quarantine upon arrival.

I will also be very interested in hearing from you, Mr. Prime Minister, about the new Covid-19 treatment being developed at Tel Aviv’s Ichilov Medical Center, taking also into account that our competent authorities have agreed that Cyprus will take part in the clinical trials.

Dear Benjamin,

As regards our bilateral relations, I have no doubt that, following also the ministerial meetings which took place earlier on, we will reaffirm the excellent co-operation and synergies we have established both bilaterally and multilaterally.

We will also exchange views and ideas on further strengthening our mutually beneficial partnership, particularly in the field of energy, with a special focus on joint projects, such as the EastMed pipeline and the Eurasia interconnector.

It goes without saying that we will also discuss various regional issues which are at the forefront of our attention.

There are no easy times in our region. We know this as close friends and allies. Respect of international law and our countries’ sovereignty and territorial integrity constitutes the bedrock of our bilateral, regional and multilateral partnerships.

In this regard, our trilateral cooperation partnership with Greece has established added value practical synergies, aimed at promoting stability and peace, in accordance with international law and based on the principles of good neighbourly relations and effective multilateralism.

We have also successfully embarked in numerous other joint projects in an array of fields, such as security, counter-terrorism, research and innovation, business, tourism and health collaborations, as well as through the 3+1 context with the United States.

An initiative that we look forward to continue and further pursue under the new US administration, in line with the positive agenda set in our first Summit.

There is indeed a changing tide on our wider region, in which American mediation has been of critical value with the signing of the historic Abraham Accords, marking a paradigm shift in regional dynamics.

At the same time, Cyprus will also continue to endorse and support efforts in assisting the return to direct and meaningful negotiations aiming at resolving the Israeli – Palestinian conflict and fostering long – term peace.

In view of the upcoming 5+1 informal meeting to take place under the auspices of the UN Secretary-General, I will also have the opportunity to brief the Prime Minister on the latest developments on the Cyprus question and convey our clear position:

The form of the envisioned settlement is none other than to establish a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation, in line with the relevant UN Security Council Resolutions and the EU values and principles.

A settlement that will terminate the anachronistic system of guarantees and the presence of occupying troops, establishing a functional, viable and truly independent state.

Mr. Prime Minister, dear Benjamin,

I am looking forward to continue working closely with you so as to realise the full potential of our partnership and I have no doubt that tonight’s meeting will once again reaffirm that our two countries are indeed strategic partners.

Thank you again for your kind welcome and I am looking forward to welcoming you soon in Cyprus.»

After the statements to the Media, the President of the Republic and Mr Netanyahu attended a working dinner at the Prime Minister’s residence.