We write a new and bold chapter in relations with Israel, President says

We write a new and bold chapter in relations with Israel, President says

We have been writing a new and bold chapter in our relations with Israel, President of the Republic of Cyprus Nicos Anastasiades told the American Jewish Committee.

The President, who is currently having a series of meetings in the US and will attend and address the UN General Assembly, said that “it is not an exaggeration to state that we have been writing a new and bold chapter in the history of our relations with Israel. The exchange of high level meetings, most recently in June by myself in Israel and in July by Prime Minister Netanyahu in Cyprus, is merely another proof of our joint desire to realize our relationship’s full potential”.

In addition, he pointed out that the discovery of hydrocarbons has undoubtedly opened new horizons both in our bilateral and regional cooperation.

“This translates into much needed energy security, diversification, and exports for both countries
We are also of the view that the recent discovery of the Zohr natural gas field in Egypt does not undermine these prospects, but in fact enhances the prospects for further synergies in the region. Energy can serve as a catalyst for stability and co-operation in our volatile region”, he went on to say.

Referring to the Cyprus problem, he said that the government is exerting intense efforts to find a solution to the forty-one year old Cyprus problem, adding that “we are cautiously optimistic that conditions may soon prevail that will enable substantive progress”.

He said that with the new leader of the Turkish Cypriot community they share a common vision to reunify our country and its people in a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation, but stressed once more that “no solution is possible without the concrete contribution of Turkey”.

Regrettably, he said, Turkey, beyond mere rhetoric, has yet to undertake practical steps.

“In this respect, we are counting on our friends and allies, including the AJC and the US Government to convey in the strongest terms this message to Turkey”, he underlined.

As regards the sectors of defence- security-terrorism in the Cyprus Israel relations, he said that in a region faced with ongoing turmoil and terrorism, “we – the democratic countries of the region – constitute a shield of security and stability”.

“And I wish to convey the crystal clear position of my Government, not only as regards the fight against terrorism but also in relation to any hostile threats that might be directed against Israel”, he said.

He pointed out that it is not enough to take action against those individuals responsible for terrorist attacks, “we should direct our efforts towards those who either finance or provide military supplies to the terrorist groups: the enablers of terrorism”.

Cyprus and Israel, President Anastasiades said, “see eye-to-eye on this issue and we are ready to provide our help and support in every way possible and in accordance with our capabilities. We have only recently demonstrated this on a couple of occasions, the one related with the arrest in Cyprus of a Hezbollah-linked terrorist”.

He also said that during the recent visit of PM Netanyahu in Cyprus they discussed a number of ideas for materializing in practical terms their cooperation on the various dimensions of security.

“We do expect that in the very near future we will deliver some tangible results”, he pointed out.

As regards the Middle East process, he expressed hope that the ultimate goal of peace, through a mutually agreed two state solution, will be the basis for a more stable and secure future.

Cyprus, he added, enjoys the trust of both sides, and is ready to facilitate their efforts in every possible way.

He recalled that he has conveyed this message to the Israeli Prime Minister who has welcomed his proposal to the President of the European Council to invite separately both Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Abbas to a Summit of the European Council to present their own point of view and vision.

President Anastasiades added that recently, following his personal initiative and a series of coordinated actions, the President of the European Council, Mr. Donald Tusk, visited Israel and Palestine.

“Moreover, following his recent visit to Cyprus and due to my personal intervention towards the President of Egypt, el-Sisi, President Tusk, after his planned trip to Jordan also visited Egypt.
President el-Sisi constitutes a stabilizing factor in the region. It is for this reason of maintaining stability that we need not to isolate countries that contribute towards this cause” he concluded.

The Republic of Cyprus, a full EU member state since May 2004, is divided by Turkish troops since the summer of 1974. Turkey still occupies 37% of Cyprus` territory. UN led talks are underway in order to reach a solution and reunify the island under a federal system.