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The President of the Republic received the credentials of the new Ambassador of the Republic of Moldova - 18/05/2007

The President of the Republic, Mr. Tassos Papadopoulos, received today, at a formal ceremony at the Presidential Palace, the credentials of the new Ambassador of the Republic of Moldova, based in Tel Aviv, Mrs. Larisa Miculet.

Presenting her credentials, the new Ambassador of the Republic of Moldova said: "I have the honour to present to you the Letters of Credence, accrediting me as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Moldova to the Republic of Cyprus with residence in Tel Aviv and to take this opportunity to convey to you the warmest greetings and good wishes on behalf of the President of the Republic of Moldova Mr. Vladimir Voronin.

It is a great privilege and honour to be appointed as Ambassador in this beautiful and hospitable country, with which the Republic of Moldova has friendly and trusty relations, based on mutual respect and common values, like democracy, human rights, and free economy. Both countries share similar concerns regarding separatism and global terrorism as well as common aspirations to reintegrate the countries based on the principle of territorial integrity and sovereignty for making them prosper. Taking this opportunity, the Republic of Moldova reiterates its support for the unification of Cyprus based on a just, peaceful and viable solution of the longstanding issue, under the UN auspices.

Indeed, these shared goals have constituted the foundation of our bilateral ties and cooperation established in 1992 and proved to be efficient both in the international framework and the bilateral collaboration. Very important and useful for the strengthening of our relations were the visit of President Vladimir Voronin to Cyprus, the visits of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs in Moldova and Cyprus voicing the mutual support for our common objectives, pointing out that there is room for further development and expressing mutual wish for further strengthening of the bilateral ties.

The Republic of Moldova, as a reliable partner, is going to exert strong efforts to promote a new stage in the diplomatic relations between the two countries by taking action in areas of mutual interest, such as political dialogue, economic dimension and in the cultural sphere, based on an expanded legal framework. Particular attention will be dedicated to the most important area of Moldovan foreign policy as regards the European Union integration, counting on Cyprus' valuable experience, expertise and support in this field. We are convinced that the further cooperation between Moldova and Cyprus will develop the entire existing potential. The 15th anniversary of the diplomatic relations that we are celebrating this year is likely to offer the new impetus.

As the new Ambassador of the Republic of Moldova to the Republic of Cyprus I am committed to contribute with dedication to the comprehensive development of the Moldovan - Cypriot relations, based on the traditional friendship and mutual respect and I rely, Mr. President, upon your benevolent assistance and the support of the Government headed by you.

I take this opportunity to convey my most sincere wishes for strong health, happiness and success to you and your family, and peace, progress and prosperity for the people of Cyprus."

Replying, the President of the Republic said: "It is with great pleasure that I receive today the Letters of Credence by which you are appointed the new Ambassador of the Republic of Moldova to the Republic of Cyprus. In welcoming you to Cyprus, I assure you of the full support and cooperation of my Government and myself in the performance of your high duties.

Cyprus and Moldova enjoy excellent relations of friendship and cooperation at the bilateral level as well as in international relations. Friendship between our two countries is solidly founded on common values and principles such as peace, democracy, human rights and justice. As witnessed by the results of high level visits including by President Voronin to Cyprus and the exchange of visits between our Foreign Ministers, there is clearly scope and willingness for the further development of our relations in many fields, such as trade, investment, tourism and culture.

Cyprus welcomes the efforts of the Moldovan Government to move towards closer integration with the European Union. In this respect it will continue to support the effective implementation of the Action Plan that exists between the EU and the Republic of Moldova within the framework of the European Neighborhood Policy.

Cyprus, as a member of the European Union, supports the mediation efforts for the finding of a peaceful and mutually acceptable solution to the problem of Transnistria based on the respect of sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Republic of Moldova. Cyprus holds a principled position in condemning any secessionist movement that contravenes international law and the United Nations Charter.

At this point I would like to remind you that since 1974, 36.4% of the territory of the Republic of Cyprus is still under Turkish military occupation. 88% of the privately owned land in the occupied area belongs to Greek Cypriots who have been deprived of access and enjoyment of the use of their own properties. It should be noted that the ratio of the indigenous population of Cyprus is 82% Greek Cypriots to 18% Turkish Cypriots. Since the 1974 invasion, however, Turkey has embarked on a policy of deliberately changing the demographic profile of Cyprus with the introduction of over 160,000 settlers from Turkey. As a result, the settlers now outnumber the indigenous 80,000 Turkish Cypriots, by two to one. In addition, in the last few years, an illegal construction boom has taken place in the occupied area, involving foreign companies and foreign “purchasers” of Greek Cypriot properties. Those who, in any way, are involved in the illegal exploitation of Greek Cypriot properties run the risk of being subjected to legal proceedings in the courts of the Republic of Cyprus.

Cyprus welcomes the support of friendly countries in condemning any actions which, directly or indirectly, lead to the upgrading of the illegal secessionist entity in the occupied area, which, instead of allowing for reunification, cement the division of the country.

Tireless efforts were exerted throughout the years to reach a functional and viable settlement, which would end the Turkish occupation and forcible division, would reunify Cyprus and provide for a prosperous future for its people as a whole. Turkey’s negative stand and partitionist designs, includes its policy to upgrade the illegal secessionist entity in the occupied area to a separate legal entity, short only of diplomatic recognition. In order to put an end to the suffering of our people from foreign occupation and, in a spirit of compromise, we support a United Nations solution based on a bizonal, bicommunal federation, with a single sovereignty and international personality. We remain committed to this, in order to bring about the genuine reunification of our country, its territory, society, economy and institutions.

The 8 July 2006 Agreement and the 15 November suggestions of then United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, Mr. Ibrahim Gambari, were agreed to by myself and the leader of the Turkish Cypriot community, Mr. Mehmet-Ali Talat. The agreed 8 July-15 November Process, provides for the concurrent establishment of working groups to address substantive issues of the Cyprus problem and technical committees to deal with the day-to-day problems that affect the people, as well as Confidence Building Measures. We are committed to its immediate implementation, which is fully supported by the Permanent Members of the UN Security Council. It is therefore of grave concern that in his 3 April 2007 letter to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Mr. Talat, has called for the abandonment of the 8 July Process and the return to the divisive Annan Plan, which was rejected by 76% of the Greek Cypriots and is null and void. We are continuing our efforts towards the implementation of the agreed 8 July Process, which we believe can create the dynamic necessary for the solution of the Cyprus problem on the basis of the principles agreed to on 8 July 2006, in accordance with United Nations Security Council Resolutions on Cyprus and the principles and values on which the European Union is founded.

The Government of Cyprus firmly supports the economic development of the Turkish Cypriots, and has very recently proposed a new set of measures, including provisions for joint ventures with Greek Cypriots and the upgrading of civil society, to which it is hoped that Turkish Cypriots will respond to positively of their own free choice. In addition, for the past three years, the Government has been providing free medical and pharmaceutical care as well as other social benefits to Turkish Cypriots and has taken several other steps towards promoting trust and cooperation between Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots. As a result, claims that the Turkish Cypriots are subject to “economic isolation” or embargoes, are politically motivated, in order to gain political advantage to ensure the upgrading of the illegal secessionist entity.

Despite the Turkish military occupation of 37% of its territory for over 32 years, the Republic of Cyprus has supported Turkey’s European Union accession process. Turkey, however, similarly to every other candidate country, is obliged to fulfil all her obligations towards the EU and all its Member States. Ankara’s refusal to meet her commitments vis-ΰ-vis the EU and in particular her non-implementation of the Ankara Protocol had, in December 2006, led to the suspension of eight Chapters and to the decision that not a single Chapter would close until Turkey fulfils her obligations. Reviews to take place at the end of 2007, 2008 and 2009 may lead to further measures by the European Council if Turkey rejects implementation of the Additional Protocol of the Ankara Agreement and does not normalize relations with and recognize all member states of the European Union.

I wish you every success in the performance of your duties. On this occasion, I request that you convey to President Vladimir Voronin, the Government and the people of the Republic of Moldova our warmest greetings and a message of friendship and good will.

Present at the ceremony were the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Yiorgos Lillikas, the Deputy Minister to the President, Mr. Georgios Hadjianastassiou , and the Chief of Protocol, Mr. Marios Ieronymides.

(Last Update: 21/5/2007)

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