CNA News

Cyprus can contribute to the start of a dialogue in Middle East, President says

The Republic of Cyprus can contribute to an effort to start a dialogue that may lead to a de-escalation of the crisis in the region, President of the Republic Nikos Christodoulides said on Sunday.  

Asked by journalists about his participation in the Peace Summit that was held on Saturday in Cairo, the President of the Republic said that Cyprus’ participation was important noting that Cyprus is a state of the region, an EU state, and a country that has excellent relations with all its neighboring states. 

He pointed out that only the big EU states participated in the Summit. “France, Germany, Italy, and Spain because it presides over the Council of the EU, the Republic of Cyprus and Greece. 

Moreover, he said that in Cairo met with the Egyptian President, the President of the United Arab Emirates, the President of Palestine, with leaders from Qatar and other countries in the region. The aim, he noted, was “to see how conditions can be created that will not worsen this bad situation we are faced with, but also how to achieve de-escalation.” 

Within this context, he added, the Republic of Cyprus can contribute either in terms of an uninterrupted humanitarian aid, which already does, and can help if there is need for evacuation in the region, but also because of the excellent relations that Nicosia maintains with all parties, to initiate a dialogue that may lead to de-escalation. “And I consider that very important.” 

This, he said, was one of the reasons that after the conclusion of the Peace Summit in Cairo, he travelled to Israel, where he met with the Prime Minister and the President of the country. 

“In addition to clearly condemning the terrorist attacks by Hamas – terrorism from whoever it comes from is condemnable – I developed some ideas that we have and that we have also shared with our Arab friends, to see how a situation can be created which will not lead to further escalation. We hope to reach de-escalation because, you understand, we are all affected by these developments”, he stressed. 

The President also said that the UN Secretary-General and the UN Assistant Secretary-General attended the Cairo Peace Summit saying that he considers this as very important, “because one of the things we are trying to achieve is to make an effort to restart the talks for the solution of the Palestinian issue on the basis of the agreed framework”. 

Invited to refer to his meetings in Israel with the President and the Prime Minister of the country, the President of the Republic said that they briefed him on the current situation and requested for some specific issues, “that we need to see immediately”, from the Republic of Cyprus, as an EU member state and due to the fact that Nicosia has excellent relations with all the neighboring states. He added that he cannot give any details however he said that the requests are related to humanitarian aid, possible evacuation from the region, but also to convey to the EU the real situation on the ground. 

Because, he continued, “we have to say that, in the current crisis, the EU did not show the necessary reflexes. Let me remind you that the extraordinary European Council took place almost ten days after the terrorist attack by Hamas.”