Presidency of the Republic of Cyprus

The President of the Republic, Mr Nicos Anastasiades, had a meeting, on Tuesday, 14 June 2022, with the Palestinian President, Mr Mahmoud Abbas, who paid an official visit to Cyprus.

President Abbas arrived at the Presidential Palace at noon, where he was welcomed by the President of the Republic, while the Guard was paying tribute. The national anthems were performed and President Abbas laid a wreath at the statue of Ethnarch Makarios III.

The two Presidents held a tête-à-tête meeting, during which they were exchanged decorations. The President of the Republic awarded President Abbas the Grand Collar of the Order of Makarios III and President Abbas awarded President Anastasiades the Grand Collar of the State of Palestine. The two leaders also exchanged commemorative gifts.

Welcoming President Abbas, President Anastasiades expressed his pleasure on the opportunity to reciprocate the hospitality he received from President Abbas in 2015, and said that during their extended talks, they would have the opportunity to discuss ways to further strengthen the already excellent Cyprus-Palestinian relations.

President Abbas invited President Anastasiades to revisit Palestine.

Their tête-à-tête meeting was followed by extended talks between the delegations of both sides and the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding in the field of Diplomatic Education and a Memorandum of Understanding in the field of Development Cooperation.

The two Presidents then made statements to the Media.

In his statements, President Anastasiades said: “Friend President of the State of Palestine, my dear brother, it is with great joy and honor that I welcome you to the Republic of Cyprus, as I am given the opportunity to repay the warm hospitality that you offered me and my delegation during my visit to Ramallah, in November 2015.

Your visit, Mr President, confirms, once again, not only the historical ties between our peoples, but also our determination and willingness to further deepen our bilateral cooperation.

In this context, I am very pleased to welcome today’s signing of the Memoranda of Understanding in the fields of diplomatic education and development cooperation.

During today’s consultations with President Abbas, we shared the same position for the need to further strengthen the institutional framework of cooperation between our two countries and the need for closer cooperation between our state, business and scientific communities in areas of common interest, such as tourism, education, medicine, in tackling new climate change conditions and in a lot of other sectors.

At the same time, with my friend President Mahmoud, we looked at ways to strengthen our trilateral cooperation, underlining the necessity to convene a Trilateral Summit of Cyprus – Greece – Palestine; a trilateral summit that will complement and which does not exclude the participation of any third country, since the sole objective is to consolidate political initiatives that will be models of regional cooperation, confidence building and creation of a common vision for achieving security, stability and peace in the wider region.

Referring to regional cooperation, I take this opportunity to warmly thank President Abbas for his sincere and active support to Cyprus’ initiative to tackle the effects of climate change in the Eastern Mediterranean.

I would like to warmly thank him, as well, for his kind offer of assistance to the Republic of Cyprus during the devastating fires of last July. An offer that the people of Cyprus deeply appreciate. I would like to assure you, my friend, that if there is a need – something that I do not wish – our response will be immediate and proportionate to your own willingness to help.

It is precisely this practical solidarity that has led us to launch a new initiative to create a regional firefighting base in the Eastern Mediterranean.

During today’s meeting, apart from the exchange of views on the further deepening and strengthening of the excellent relations we maintain, our attention focused on what is taking place in Ukraine and the consequences of a catastrophic war and, of course, as expected, on the two major and longstanding problems, the Palestinian and the Cyprus problem.

The recent events in Ukraine once again highlight, in the most prominent way, the need to respect international law and resolve any disputes, on the basis of the provisions of the Charter of the United Nations and related international treaties.

Principles which, if applied as the Charter provides, would have prevented regional conflicts and/or revisionist behaviour by member states of the United Nations.

I would like to assure you, dear friend, President Abbas, that despite the equally excellent relations we have with Israel, these are not and will not be detrimental to the legitimate rights of the Palestinians.

It is our respect for these principles that guide our policies regarding the solution of the Middle East, and I would like to take this opportunity to reiterate that the Republic of Cyprus remains firmly committed to the timeless and clear position to achieve a peaceful and just solution to the Palestinian problem, always on the basis of UN resolutions.

A solution based on the relevant Resolutions and Decisions of the United Nations Security Council, which provide for the creation of a sovereign and independent Palestinian state.

Mr President, I would also like to publicly state that the excellent relations we maintain with all the states of the region, allow us, if you wish, to take a specific role if we are to help achieve lasting peace in the region.

During the meeting, I had the opportunity to brief the dear friend, President Abbas, about the latest developments on the Cyprus problem, as well as the new problems we face as a result of Turkey’s effort to create new fait accompli.

An effort which is not only limited to the reversal of the basis of a solution to the Cyprus problem as described by the relevant United Nations Security Council Resolutions, but with the unacceptable claim that the basis for a solution should be two states.

In addition, as I explained to President Abbas, there is an outbreak of violation of international law both on land and at sea.

I also informed him about the disappointment caused by the rejection of confidence building measures, stressing the need for the immediate appointment of a Special Representative, as was the decision of the UN Secretary-General. With the implementation of confidence building measures and the mediation of the Special Representative, the resumption, as soon as possible, of a creative dialogue that would lead us to a permanent solution to the Cyprus problem could be achieved.

At this point, I would like to express the gratitude of the Republic of Cyprus and the people of Cyprus for the stance of the Palestinian State to the Cyprus problem and for the full support to our tireless efforts, but also for your own efforts, wherever you can, towards ending the current unacceptable situation and finding a peaceful solution to the Cyprus problem.

Mr President, once again, thank you for your visit to Cyprus and for the pleasure you gave me with your presence here, and especially for the creative conversation we had creating new perspectives in our excellent relations.

On his part, President Abbas, speaking through an interpreter, said, among other things, that Cyprus is a friend of Palestine and praised the level of bilateral relations and relations between the two peoples.

“We want our relations to continue developing and I am convinced that this visit to Cyprus and the subsequent visits and contacts on a political, economic level and the activation of the action of the interministerial committee will bring much to the benefit of strengthening bilateral relations”, he added.

He also thanked for Cyprus’ firm stance on the Palestinian issue and for Cyprus’ permanent call for peace.

He also referred to “the complete stagnation in efforts to achieve peace due to the current Israeli government, which has suspended the agreements”.

He added that, there must be an international unity against the challenges Palestine faces.

“We are prepared to contribute in any effort for peace”, including the efforts of the President of the Republic of Cyprus, more generally, in initiatives based on international legitimacy.

He also referred to the importance of EU support for Palestine.

Finally, he invited President Anastasiades to visit Palestine, expressing special appreciation to the President of the Republic and Cyprus, for what they offer to the Palestinian people.

The President of the Republic hosted a state banquet in honour of President Abbas.