Presidency of the Republic of Cyprus

The President of the Republic, Mr Nikos Christodoulides, and the President of Germany, Mr Frank-Walter Steinmeier made statements to the media on Monday, 12 February 2024, following their tête-à-tête meeting and the extended talks between their delegations, at the Presidential Palace.

In his statements to the media, welcoming Mr Steinmeier on his first official visit to Cyprus as President of Germany, President Christodoulides noted, inter alia, his satisfaction regarding the close cooperation between the two countries in “areas in which we have the strategic objective of further expanding our cooperation,” such as education, culture, immigration, defence and safety, health, and tourism.

As regards to their European agenda, the two presidents discussed the pressing issue of immigration as well as the developments in Ukraine. “The position of the Republic of Cyprus is that we should work together to further integrate the European Union (EU), to come even closer and to offer much more to our citizens,” stated President Christodoulides.

He also referred to the regional developments in Gaza and Israel, underlying “the need for an end to the hostilities.” Furthermore, he mentioned Cyprus’ efforts to establish a maritime humanitarian aid corridor as Cyprus, the closest EU member state to the region, “we have a duty as member states to play a more prominent role in the developments.”

Concluding, President Christodoulides stated that 2024 marks the 50th anniversary of the Turkish invasion and continued occupation. “My vision and sole ambition is to end this unacceptable state of affairs – half a century of occupation – to reunite our country on the basis of the agreed framework, the United Nations (UN) resolutions and the EU principles and values,” said President Christodoulides. He added that the EU must contribute significantly in order to reinforce the UN effort as it has the means which can aid in reaching “a mutually beneficial state of affairs for all Cypriot people, for the EU, for Turkey, for Euro-Turkish relations.”

On his part, President Steinmeier said, inter alia, “For us and for all of Europe, Cyprus is truly a safe heaven in the region and I mean that literally, especially after the Hamas terrorist attack. We had to prepare for a possible evacuation of German nationals and that is why we sent German soldiers to Cyprus. I would like to thank Cyprus for the support it has given us, which has been swift, multi-faceted and vital.”

Referring to the Cyprus problem, President Steinmeier stated that a solution to the Cyprus problem must be reached, expressing Germany’s support for “a bizonal, bicommunal solution to the Cyprus problem on the basis of the UN parameters.” Moreover, he welcomed the appointment of the UN Secretary-General’s personal envoy, Ms Cuellar, stressing its importance in order to “give new momentum to the solution of the Cyprus problem and break the stalemate.”

Concluding, President Steinmeier noted that Germany will send German police officers to Cyprus for the first time, who will assume their duties in the coming months.

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.”