On the occasion of 1st March, which has been designated as the annual ASEM Day, I would like to convey my warmest greetings to all the member-states of the Organization and wish them happiness and prosperity.
Since its inception more than 20 years ago, ASEM has proved its value, especially in connecting Europe and Asia, in bringing the people of the two continents together and in facilitating the trend towards further strengthening their political, economic and cultural activities.
The 11th Summit, which was held in Mongolia in July last year, was a wonderful occasion for reaffirming ASEM’s values, especially in the face of the many challenges the world is confronted with, in the effort to maintain peace, security, stability and prosperity. At the same time, it provided the impetus and the stimulus to its members to surge ahead and produce tangible results in many sectors.
The world has come a long way since the global cataclysm of the Second World War. It has learned valuable lessons, albeit the hard way. Despite this, the negative qualities and deficiencies that torment human nature and lead to wars continue to exist. ASEM can play a role of paramount importance in the effort for their eradication.
Today, we need a more inclusive ASEM, which will engage civil society, academia, NGO’s, the public sector and the business community. Furthermore, we need more communication, to enable us to understand better the complex global challenges, like terrorism, migration, poverty, environment protection and climate change, which we have to address together. In these terms, cooperation between us is of utmost importance, despite the geographical distance.
The Republic of Cyprus, being at the crossroads of three continents, ie., Europe, Asia and Africa, has as a priority the promotion in the best way possible the values of ASEM. In this context, we will continue to support the ASEM process and we are ready to engage more actively in the discussions for the future role of the Forum.
ASEM Day is an excellent proof of our fruitful past and what we can achieve together. At the same time, it dictates our common hopeful future.