Presidency of the Republic of Cyprus

The President of the Republic, Mr Nikos Christodoulides, hosted on Monday, 12 February 2024, at the Presidential Palace, a state banquet in honour of the President of Germany, Mr Frank-Walter Steinmeier, who paid a state visit to Cyprus, the first ever state visit of a German President to the Republic of Cyprus.

In his toast at the banquet the President of the Republic said: “I would like to once again extend a very warm welcome to the President of Germany, Mr Frank-Walter Steinmeier, and his esteemed delegation. As I mentioned earlier, Mr President, your visit to Cyprus is the first visit by a Federal President of Germany since the establishment of our diplomatic relations in 1960. It is a historic event of significant symbolism and stands as a substantial milestone of the relations between our countries.

I am also truly pleased that we are witnessing increased contacts and exchanges between our countries at all levels; another testament to our common desire to further reinforce our substantial cooperation, both at bilateral and European level.

Earlier today, President Steinmeier and I had a very productive meeting and exchanged views on several issues concerning our bilateral relations, our common European agenda, regional issues as well as the Cyprus problem. I am very pleased to say that during our deliberations we have confirmed that our countries see eye to eye on several important issues.

The rich histories and cultural identities of Germany and Cyprus are unique pieces that form the intricate European mosaic. Our countries, together with the other 25 member states, are an integral part of our common European home, the European Union (EU).

This year we mark 20 years since the accession of the Republic of Cyprus to the EU. This anniversary and this visit by the President of Germany are an opportunity to celebrate our European identity. To reflect on all that we have jointly achieved these 20 years in reinforcing our union and to set new goals for the future, in order to fulfil our common aspiration for an even stronger and more integrated EU.

This year we will also mark 50 years since the illegal Turkish invasion. During our meeting, but also during our visit to the Green Line, I have reassured President Steinmeier of my firm commitment to work for the reunification of Cyprus. My vision is that Nicosia will soon stop being the last divided capital of Europe and that all Cypriots will be able to prosper in a reunified Cyprus, member state of the EU. In this vein, I have thanked President Steinmeier for the stance and support of his country for the solution of the Cyprus Problem based on the relevant Security Council resolutions and, of course, the values and principles of the EU.

In closing, I would like once again to express my gratification for this first historic visit of a President of Germany to Cyprus, which I believe will create a new impetus for the substantial advancement of the relationship between our countries.

I now raise my glass to the honour of President Steinmeier, as well as to the continued prosperity of the friendly people of Germany.”

On his part, President Steinmeier said, inter alia: “Even if this is the first ever visit by a German President, I personally know your country quite well, not only because I have good friends here, but primarily because the situation on the island was always a key issue during my long years as foreign minister, sometimes with great hope, other times with bitter disappointment when solutions that seemed within reach did not materialise. But, even more vividly, I remember the strength shown by the people of Cyprus who are dealing with the challenges of a difficult neighbourhood and despite obstacles are persistently working for a better future for the coming generations.”

He added, “We live in times of conflict and times of challenge,” pointing out that “this year’s European elections are decisive to find solutions to our common challenges, such as migration, and to refute antidemocratic voices.” He also noted that “together we call on Cypriot and German citizens to go out and vote and take part in shaping the European future.”

Referring to the Cyprus problem, the German President said: “This year marks 50 years of division. I believe that in these days of coming spring there is reason to look to the future with some optimism. The appointment of the new personal envoy of the United Nations (UN) Secretary-General is an important step to reinvigorate the UN-led talks and overcome the stalemate of the recent years. Germany stands ready to support the UN in its process. The German Government decided to send German police officers to join the peace keeping mission for the first time.”

President Steinmeier also said that he truly welcomes President Christodoulides’ sincere commitment to move forward on the Cyprus issue.

Concluding, while addressing President Christodoulides, the German President said: “You and I have both served our countries as foreign ministers in the past, and I am well aware of the great experience of the international network that you bring with you to the presidency. At the same time, you are an accomplished academic who continued to publish on the history of the Cyprus issue well into your active political life. I believe that in times like these we need such scholar statesmen who can envision a better future and find ways to actually get there. You can count on Germany to be at your country’s side.”