The Belgian authorities wholeheartedly support the negotiating process that is under way in Cyprus, and that was accelerated in 2015, the Ambassador of the Kingdom of Belgium to the Republic of Cyprus, stationed in Athens, Luc Liebaut said on Monday.
He added that together with the European institutions and the other member states, Belgium stands ready to offer its assistance, “but it does not forget that for the first time in the history of the Cyprus question the two leaders are solely in the driving seat. The leaders negotiate a ‘Cypriot solution to a Cypriot problem’ and this looks to my country the best recipe for success,” he noted, speaking at an official ceremony, during which he presented his credentials to Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades.
Liebaut said that Belgium hopes that the negotiations will be successful as a solution would not only bring peace, reconciliation and prosperity to the Cypriot people, but it would also prove that diplomacy, patience, perseverance and a reconciliatory stance can contribute to the resolution of the most difficult problems.
“A just, viable and long-lasting solution to the Cyprus issue would be a light of hope in a region that has been facing growing instability, violence, civil war and massive violations of human rights. But first and foremost, a solution to the Cyprus issue would eloquently confirm the vitality of the European idea and of the European values,” he noted.
Referring to the bilateral relations between Cyprus and Belgium, the Ambassador said that “our countries are trusted friends that have stood side by side in difficult moments and are linked by a dense network of bilateral agreements, frequent political contacts, economic and commercial relations that are bound to be deepened, academic exchanges and interpersonal relations. Moreover, Cyprus is for many Belgians a highly appreciated tourist destination,” he added.
Furthermore, he noted that “our countries and our people are keenly aware of the grand design that lies at the heart of the European Union; a design that has allowed us to create a unique area of peace, of stability, of prosperity and of liberty.”
“It is therefore with apprehension that our countries have observed the growing challenges that the European Union and its member states have to face; challenges of a global nature such as the economic downturn and the migration crises, challenges of a regional nature such as the ones we are facing in our southern and eastern neighbourhood, and even internal challenges that risk to undermine the European Union’s cohesion and its inter-European solidarity. Our countries share the same analyses and the same concerns as well as the determination to tackle jointly – in the true European spirit – the challenges and to consolidate the European edifice”, he noted.
On his part, President Anastasiades stressed that “we count on our European partners – we count on Belgium – to support our committed efforts to reunify Cyprus.”
“Belgium’s interest in the Cyprus problem has been demonstrated through the years by the principled position that successive Belgian Governments have maintained on the efforts to solve the problem and reunite the island,” he noted.
Anastasaides reiterated his sincere willingness and determination to work tirelessly to achieve a settlement based on a bicommunal, bizonal federation with political equality, as set out in the relevant Security Council Resolutions, the High Level Agreements and the Joint Declaration of February 2014, with a single international legal personality, a single sovereignty and a single citizenship.
Referring to the bilateral relations, he noted that “our countries, both as partners within the European Union and on a bilateral basis, have developed very close and warm relations, based on our shared values and principles of democracy, human rights and the rule of law. We stand ready to continue our cooperation, and extend our relations to other areas, especially in the fields of renewable energy, in which Belgium is known for its expertise.”
As regards the Cypriot economy, he said that “we are confident that the economy will be on solid ground in the medium and long term.”
ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY