Presidency of the Republic of Cyprus

The President of the Republic, Mr Nikos Christodoulides, upon his arrival at the European Council Summit in Brussels, made statements to journalists.

In his statements, the President of the Republic referred to information the Republic of Cyprus had received yesterday from the United Nations (UN) on the Secretary General’s decision to proceed with the appointment of a specific personality, as an envoy, who will undertake to examine the prospects for resuming the talks from where they have been interrupted. President Christodoulides said that the Government of the Republic of Cyprus has already given its consent, expressing the expectation that the other parties concerned will do the same as soon as possible.

Referring to the Summit’s deliberations, the President of the Republic noted that there are several important issues on the agenda of the European Council, expressing the hope that the situation in the Middle East will dominate in the discussions. He stressed that the European Union (EU) must play a more active and prominent role, particularly in the efforts to de-escalate the crisis.

President Christodoulides said that the Republic of Cyprus - as the European Union member-state in proximity to the region and which maintains excellent relations with all neighbouring states - will continue to convey the importance of de-escalation, which can only be achieved through a political peace process for achieving a two-state solution. At the same time, Cyprus stresses the importance of a more active involvement of the EU in efforts to de-escalate the crisis, he added.

At the same time, President Christodoulides referred to the important role of the Republic of Cyprus in the evacuation of civilians from the region, responding to requests received from EU member states and third countries, such as the USA and others.

The President of the Republic stressed that the issue of unhindered humanitarian aid is of particular importance, while he also referred to ways in which Cyprus can contribute in this regard. In particular, President Christodoulides referred to the possibility of creating a humanitarian sea corridor for the delivery of humanitarian aid to Gaza through Cyprus, an issue he has already discussed with the Prime Minister of Israel and the President of Egypt.

President Christodoulides noted that the protection of the population is a necessary prerequisite, stating explicitly that terrorism can never be accepted. A solution can only be achieved through the political process, he concluded.

Regarding the migration dimension, he said that this is one of the seperate topics discussed by the leaders, but also discussed in the context of the revision of the Multiannual Financial Framework. We expect the EU to show more willingness, more readiness to deal effectively with this issue, through the support of frontline countries, including, of course, the Republic of Cyprus, especially if the crisis in the region is prolonged.

In response to a journalist's question, the President of the Republic said that the position of the Republic of Cyprus is that there must be unhindered humanitarian aid to Gaza.

Asked to comment on the statements of the Turkish President, who claimed that Hamas is not a terrorist organisation but a "liberation movement", President Christodoulides said that this is something that the members of the European Council and the United States should listen to. The statements made by the Turkish President are simply encouraging terrorism, he added. In conclusion, the President stressed that there is no excuse for terrorist acts and this is also a response to those who support Hamas. Hamas does not represent the Palestinians and, in fact, through such actions, it is attempting to undermine the Palestinian Authority itself, the President noted.