The Minister of Foreign Affairs met with the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy - 24/07/2015
Cyprus is a strong advocate for a robust and coherent EU common foreign and security policy. We are also committed to the further strengthening of the European External Action Service under the leadership of my good friend Federica.
|The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Ioannis Kasoulides, met today with the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the European Commission, Mrs Federica Mogherini. Mrs Mogherini’s visit was held as part of her outreach to all the EU member states.|
Mr Kasoulides and Mrs Mogherini had a tete-a-tete meeting, at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, followed by official talks, statements to the Press and working lunch. Issues on the agenda included, inter alia, the developments on the Cyprus problem, the Southern Neighbourhood, EU-Russia relations and Energy Diplomacy. The developments in Syria, Egypt and Libya, as well as ways, with which Cyprus could contribute to the EU efforts and involvement in the region, were also discussed.
In statements to the Press, Minister Kasoulides welcomed Mrs Mogherini, underlining that it was “an excellent opportunity to have an in depth discussion on a whole range of issues that affect the foreign policy agenda of both Cyprus and the EU.
I am confident that through our consultations here in Cyprus, the High Representative has deepened her appreciation of our approach to national and European foreign policy issues.
We have had an exchange of views on developments in the EU’s Southern Neighbourhood. Cyprus is the EU’s border in this volatile area and we shared ideas on how Cyprus and the EU can contribute to the promotion of regional stability and security.
I have also warmly congratulated the High Representative for the EU’s and her own personal role in reaching the historic agreement on Iran’s nuclear programme. As I also said during Secretary Hammond’s visit last week, we expect that Iran will assume a constructive and responsible regional role in order to allay the concerns of other friendly nations in our neighbourhood.
We have also discussed the complex issue of the EU-Russia relations as well as the situation in Ukraine. I underlined that engagement is better than confrontation and that the EU should develop a strategic vision of its relations with Russia.
To conclude, I once again welcome the High Representative to Cyprus. Dear Federica, it is a pleasure to have you in Cyprus and I look forward to continuing our fruitful cooperation”.
On her part, the EU High Representative thanked Minister Kasoulides for the welcoming and noted that, at today’s meeting, a constructive meeting was held, during which views were exchanged on issues of mutual interest.
She stressed that her visit falls within the efforts to shape a common, strong and consistent foreign and security policy of the European Union. Mrs Mogherini thanked Cyprus “for the always strong, wise and truly European approach that Cyprus brings to the table”.
As regards to the reason of her visit to Cyprus, Mrs Mogherini said that she is paying the visit “to meet and discuss the priorities of your country when it comes to the foreign and security European policy. And here obviously, the number one priority is this region, this part of the world, which is the most conflictual and it is also the most relevant for the EU’s external action”.
On the Iranian nuclear program agreement, the High Representative said: “I thank you for the nice words you spent on the good news we had last week on the Iranian nuclear agreement. I have to tell you publicly that it was obviously a matter of security for Cyprus as well, because not having a nuclear weapon in Iran is a matter of security for your region, and also for Cyprus and the EU. But also it was a matter of contributing to the region, the wider Middle East, that can be more stable and secure, and it is also a way of having good news coming from this part of the world and from the European Union.
On the Syrian crisis she pointed out that is lasting too long, with security and humanitarian consequences, with huge flow of refugees which is then creating other issues on our European table”.
Mrs Mogherini then added: “The long lasting conflict over the Middle East, the Palestinian issue, which is another area where our cooperation is hopefully bringing some fruits and results. I would like to thank you for the extremely thankful contribution that Cyprus is bringing to reviving the EU role in opening new perspective for the peace process”.
On the Cyprus problem, the High Representative of the EU expressed the Commission’s full support to the efforts for reaching a solution through the UN-lead negotiation process.
Invited to say whether the EU is ready to support financially the reunification of the island, Mrs Mogherini replied: “I know the issue of the cost of the reunification is debated. I would invite everybody to think of the cost of non-reunification, economic, human, political, security cost of it. The very same words ‘European Union’ is about uniting diversities, reuniting. We have experiences with other cases parallel to this throughout our European history. I think that, yes, the EU is strong, it is much stronger than we, ourselves, recognize sometimes; we should be more confident and proud for ourselves. But again, the real costs would be if this process failed. I think that these would be the real cost that no one could bare.
I am confident that the leadership that is shown in these last weeks and months with a lot of courage and determination can bring results, especially for the younger generations. What is at stake here is the future of the generations that were growing up in these last 41 years. I think that the real investments would be for the generations that have been growing up with this situation. It is also an investment for the European Union as such, re-finding the meaning of its pride of being in the Union and it is going to be key contribution of the stability and the security of this region. So I really hope that this process can lead to a result. I do not say that it is now or never, but I do say that it is either now or very difficult in the future. I will personally do all I can to support this process in order for it to have a positive outcome”.