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Nikos Christodoulides, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Cyprus

Support For The European Perspective And Dedication To The Principles Of International Law

We had a very open and constructive exchange of opinions regarding the latest developments in the Western Balkans, as well as the European perspective of the region’s countries. We used this occasion to reaffirm our support for Serbia’s EU accession process and expressed our readiness to provide all possible assistance in achieving this strategic goal.

“We also reaffirmed our commitment to the principles of international law, as expressed through our policy of non-recognition of Kosovo’s unilateral declaration of independence,” said Cypriot Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides, speaking after the first trilateral meeting of the foreign ministers of Cyprus, Greece and Serbia, which was held in Belgrade on 5th April.

“I always looking forward very much to visiting Belgrade, and that’s especially the case today, when this visit is unfolding under the auspices of the first trilateral meeting with my esteemed colleagues, the ministers of foreign affairs of Serbia and Greece. I would first and foremost like to express my deep respect for the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Serbia, my good friend Nikola, for the cordial hospitality he has shown to us and our delegations.

“As has been stated already, at today’s meeting, with Nikola and Nikos, we had the opportunity to conduct our first overview of the prospects of strengthening what are already strong bonds of friendship between the three countries through trilateral cooperation. The aim is to create a positive agenda in the interest of our nations, in order to strengthen stability and prosperity across the wider area of the Western Balkans and the Eastern Mediterranean. I am certain, on the basis of our experience from trilateral cooperation with other countries, that contacts between the three countries will be intensified in the period ahead, in order for us to very quickly be ready to present the first tangible results of this cooperation.

“The fact that this meeting is being held during the height of a pandemic points to the obvious importance all three sides attach to the further development of our mutual relations.

“The issue of confronting the unfavourable consequences of the pandemic was at the very top of our meeting’s agenda. With regard to this, I would also like to publicly offer my congratulations to the Serbian government on the impressive pace of the immunisation process, which places you among the world’s very top countries when it comes to the percentage of the population to have been vaccinated.

“During our conversation I had an opportunity to inform my esteemed colleagues about the recent decisions of the Cypriot government that will enable the resumption of tourist traffic. In accordance with these decisions, as of 1st April, citizens of certain countries, including Serbia, will be able to freely visit Cyprus by presenting a negative PCR test that is not more than 72 hours old. We consider this as representing our country’s first step towards a gradual return to normality.

It is my pleasure to announce, at the bilateral level, that I today signed a Memorandum on Cooperation, together with the Minister of Youth and Sports of the Republic of Serbia, on joint action between our two countries in the field of youth policy. This memorandum further strengthens the institutional framework of bilateral cooperation between Cyprus and Serbia. I consider this Memorandum as being extremely important, given that its objective is to facilitate the establishment of cooperation structures for young people from the two countries.

“We also exchanged our opinions on current issues that are of common interest, as well as on the shared challenges that are facing our countries, such as the issue of migratory flows.

“For my part, I had the opportunity to inform my colleagues about the latest developments regarding the Cyprus issue in the build-up to the five-party meeting that will be convened in Geneva at the end of this month. I consider it important to point out that the continuation of substantive negotiations, from where the last process was interrupted in Crans-Montana, remains the unwavering goal of the Republic of Cyprus.

“I simultaneously informed them about Turkey’s illegal activities in the exclusive economic zone and on the territory of the Cypriot continental shelf, as well as on the mainland, with Ankara’s provocative opening of the closed area of Varosha, in violation of the relevant UN Security Council resolution.

“We had a very open and constructive exchange of opinions regarding the latest developments in the Western Balkans, as well as the European integration prospects of the countries in the region. We used this occasion to reaffirm our support for Serbia in the accession process and expressed our readiness to provide all possible assistance in achieving this strategic goal. We also reaffirmed our commitment to the principles of international law, as expressed through our policy of non-recognition of Kosovo’s unilateral declaration of independence.

“It is my pleasure to announce, at the bilateral level, that I today signed a Memorandum on Cooperation, together with the Minister of Youth and Sports of the Republic of Serbia, on joint action between our two countries in the field of youth policy. This memorandum further strengthens the institutional framework of bilateral cooperation between Cyprus and Serbia. I consider this Memorandum as being extremely important, given that its objective is to facilitate the establishment of cooperation structures for young people from the two countries.

“In conclusion, I would like to reiterate the message sent by my good colleagues and friends, who stand by me: the links between Cyprus, Greece and Serbia have strong foundations in history, civilisation and culture. The goal that the three of us share is to build upon those foundations, in order for us to expand and deepen our cooperation in all areas where we have a common interest.”