Presidency of the Republic of Cyprus

The President of the Republic, Mr Nikos Christodoulides, emphasised on Wednesday, 22 November 2023, during a two-day official visit to Belgrade, that Cyprus is the strongest supporter of Serbia's European course. The statement was made following Mr Christodoulides’ meeting with the President of Serbia, Mr Aleksandar Vučić, who in turn underlined that Cyprus is a sister country of Serbia.

In his statements to the media, welcoming President Christodoulides on his first visit to Belgrade as President of the Republic of Cyprus, President Vučić said, inter alia, speaking through an interpreter: "Cyprus is a sincere friend of our country, just as we are a sincere friend of both the Cypriot people and Cyprus.

President Christodoulides is a true friend of Serbia and we are happy and grateful that he is a guest to our country. Please feel at home in Serbia, as we feel when we are in Cyprus" he said, addressing President Christodoulides.

Referring to the Cyprus – Serbia Council for Cooperation (Intergovernmental Summit), which will take place tomorrow, President Vučić said that two Summits have already taken place in the past, in 2013 and 2018, adding: "Cyprus has only had such Summits with Greece and Egypt, so this proves how important our relationship is.

Today we have confirmed that we want to further strengthen the relations between our two countries. I have expressed my gratitude to Cyprus and to President Christodoulides for supporting the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Serbia and respecting international law and United Nations Security Council Resolution 1244, in particular.

Also, the Republic of Serbia abides by international law and supports the resolutions of the United Nations for the sovereignty and integrity of the Republic of Cyprus, both on land and at sea. The policy of our country is not going to change."

The President of Serbia noted that he informed the President of the Republic "of the situation in Kosovo and the desire of Serbia to resolve, through dialogue and compromise, the problems that exist on this very difficult issue, and I have expressed to him the difficult position of our Government and the people of our country, because we respect international law and the resolutions of the United Nations".

He also thanked President Christodoulides for the continuous and very important support that his country provides to Serbia's European perspective.

"Cyprus", stated President Vučić, "is one of the countries that very strongly support the European integration of our country and cooperate with us in all sectors".

He also referred to the Memoranda of Understanding that will be signed tomorrow between the two countries, stressing: "We will try to increase the number of visits by Serbian citizens to Cyprus and by Cypriots to Serbia, as well as the level of services and trade.

I would also like to encourage investors from Cyprus, who until now have invested in the food and agricultural products industry."

President Vučić added that Serbia provides opportunities and facilities for investments, noting that he wishes the same for Serbian investors in relation to Cyprus, noting that there are opportunities in the energy sector within the MED.

He said, moreover, that he considers the cooperation between the two countries in the field of defense very important.

“We have been having a very good cooperation in the field of military industry for many years now and I believe that we can strengthen this cooperation”, President Vučić said.

President Vučić added: “Within the next 48 hours, I will present to you some topics about our army and what we have done with our Cypriot friends. Cypriots are more than friends to us, they are our brothers”, he stressed, noting that “we love this country, we love its people and I know very well how much Cypriots love Serbia and our people.”

He also expressed his thanks to the President of the Republic for the support provided by Cyprus to Serbia “everywhere, in Brussels and in bilateral relations.”

Concluding, he invited the President of the Republic as well as the Ministers of the Cyprus Government to visit Serbia more often since, as he said, “we can learn from you”, noting that Cyprus “is the only window we have in Europe.”

On his part, President Christodoulides said, inter alia: “Today, I am in Belgrade with feelings of joy and familiarity. Joy, because even though I visited Serbia many times before, in different capacities, as Government Spokesman, as Minister of Foreign Affairs, today I have the honour to visit Serbia for the first time as President of the Republic of Cyprus, shortly after assuming my duties.

I feel familiarity because I, and I am certain that I am expressing the feelings of the people of Cyprus as well, we feel Serbia and its people very close to us, historically, politically, culturally, and also as human beings. Today, I feel that I am among friends and I am certain, dear President, that you share the same feelings.

Being in Belgrade, it would be remiss of me not to mention the highest honour bestowed upon me when I was Minister of Foreign Affairs (with the Order of the Serbian Flag 1st class) during my working visit in Belgrade in April 2021. Once again, thank you for such a great honour.

Today, together with President Vučić, we had a substantial exchange of views. We specifically discussed how we can further deepen our bilateral relations, which have been developed in almost all areas in recent years, but there are always prospects for further development, and I wish to refer specifically to the Defense sector, where we had several discussions, which will continue tomorrow, as well as in the fields of Trade and Tourism.

Tomorrow I will visit a Cypriot company that has invested in Serbia, as an indication of support for such Cypriot investments in Serbia. Moreover, in recent years under your leadership, dear President, the country’s economic development has been significantly strengthened, as is reflected in the discussions and Reports of Brussels”.

Referring to the cooperation in the field of Tourism, President Christodoulides said that it is important that there are direct flights, adding that “Cyprus is ready to host more tourism, especially from Serbia”.

Referring to tomorrow’s Summit of the Council for Cooperation, with the participation of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Defense and Education of Cyprus, the President of the Republic said that three fundamental Memoranda of Understanding will be signed in the fields of Education, Science and Technology, as well as for further cooperation between the Foreign Ministries of the two countries.

He added that with his Serbian counterpart, they discussed developments in the Balkans as well as in the Cyprus problem, noting “our commitment to solving the problem that has tormented our country for almost half a century, and from the first moment of assuming office, I have been working for the resumption of talks. And today I wish to express my gratitude for Serbia’s stance on our efforts, not only in relation to the basis of the Cyprus solution, but also for the resumption of the talks”.

The President of the Republic said that he informed President Vučić regarding the initiatives of the Republic of Cyprus for the evacuation of populations from the area and also for the creation of a sea corridor for the provision of humanitarian aid to Gaza.

“We hope that the latest developments, which are positive –they are more related to the issue of the release of hostages and we welcome this development – will help in the realization of the plan of the Republic of Cyprus, which is supported by both the EU, the USA and the neighbouring states”.

President Christodoulides also stated: “Today we also discussed developments in relation to the Belgrade – Pristina dialogue, and I expressed our support to the efforts of the Serbian Government. The position of Cyprus is firm and cannot be altered with regard to the respect for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the Republic of Serbia”.

In conclusion, regarding Serbia’s European prospect, the President of the Republic said: "Cyprus is indeed the strongest supporter of Serbia’s European course and we believe that the country has taken significant steps, especially recently, both in terms of reforms and (progress) in many other areas and this should be recognised by the EU and reflected in the Conclusions to be issued after the European Council in December.

Cyprus was, is and will continue to be one of the most ardent supporters of Serbia’s European integration."

Concluding, the President of the Republic extended an invitation to President Vučić to visit Cyprus.