Foreign Minister Nikos Christodouldies, who accompanied the President of the Republic Nikos Anastasiades to New York, completed his contacts on the sidelines of the High Level Week of the 76th Session of the General Assembly, and is departing on Monday night to return to Cyprus.
During the past week, FM Christodoulides held 26 bilateral meetings, 23 with counterparts from non-EU countries (excluding Greece), 3 meetings with Heads of International Organizations. He also attended a tripartite meeting with his counterparts from Greece and Egypt and participated in the informal meeting of EU Foreign Ministers.
Detailed information on the contacts of the Foreign Minister in New York, by day, follows.
Monday, 20 September 2021
The Minister of Foreign Affairs held separate meetings with his counterparts of Kuwait, Egypt, Kyrgyzstan and Greece, while later in the afternoon he participated in an informal meeting of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the Member States of the European Union.
During the meeting with his counterpart from Kuwait, Sheikh Ahmed Al-Sabah, the two Ministers reviewed the state of play in the traditionally friendly relations between Cyprus and Kuwait and, in this context, discussed a forthcoming visit of President Anastasiades to the country. Recent developments in the Cyprus issue, as well as in the wider Eastern Mediterranean, the Middle East and the Gulf region were also discussed, and views were exchanged on EU-Kuwait relations, concluding that it would be mutually beneficial for the EU to assume a more active role and involvement in the area. To this end, FM Christodoulides invited Sheikh Al-Sabah to visit Brussels in the near future to attend a working breakfast with the EU Foreign Ministers.
A meeting followed between Mr. Christodoulides and his Egyptian counterpart, Mr. Sameh Shoukry, during which they discussed the implementation of the agreements reached during the recent, historic Cyprus-Egypt Intergovernmental Meeting held in Cairo, as well as on the latest developments in the wider region, and the next steps in the joint effort to further strengthen cooperation between like-minded countries in the wider region. The Egyptian Foreign Minister accepted an invitation to visit Cyprus before the end of the year.
Early in the afternoon, the Foreign Minister met with his Kyrgyz counterpart, Mr. Ruslan Kazakbaev, with whom they discussed the impact of developments in Afghanistan in the wider Central Asian region, the prospects for further development of the Cyprus-Kyrgyz bilateral relations, as well as EU-Kyrgyzstan relations. Moreover the Ministers discussed the latest developments in the Cyprus issue, both stressing the importance of adhering to and respecting the relevant UN Security Council resolutions.
Later on, Mr. Christodoulides met with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Greece, Mr. Nikos Dendias, with whom they had the opportunity to exchange views on issues of common interest, and to coordinate the next steps in relation to the Cyprus issue, issues from the EU agenda, and the tripartite cooperation that Cyprus and Greece have jointly established with countries in the wider region.
Finally, in the context of the informal meeting of the EU Foreign Ministers that took place at the end of the day, the Minister and his EU counterparts discussed issues of European interest arising from recent world developments, with emphasis on the current situation in Afghanistan.
Tuesday, 21 September 2021
The Foreign Minister had successive meetings with his counterparts from Palestine, the Gambia, and India.
During the meeting with the Palestinian Foreign Minister, Mr. Riyad al-Maliki, views were exchanged on the developments in the wider region, EU-Palestine relations and ways of further strengthening the bilateral cooperation between Cyprus and Palestine. To this end, it was agreed, among other, to exchange visits in the near future, at Ministerial level, in Nicosia and Ramallah, respectively.
Moreover Mr. Christodoulides and Mr. Maliki signed a Memorandum of Understanding for the provision of development assistance by Cyprus, to fund actions aimed at promoting gender equality and strengthening the role of women.
Next, FM Christodoulides met with his counterpart from the Gambia, Mr. Mamadou Tangara, with whom they discussed, among other issues, the pandemic and its effects in various fields, migration and the need to address its root causes, as well as EU relations with the Gambia, and the Cyprus issue, within the framework of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, of which the Gambia is a member.
Finally, the Foreign Minister met with his Indian counterpart, Mr. Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, exchanging views on regional and international issues, such as the latest developments in Afghanistan and their impact on neighboring countries and the wider region, and the upheaval caused by the Strategic Alliance of Australia, USA, UK (AUKUS). Ways were also discussed to strengthen Cyprus-India economic relations, India's participation in regional cooperation mechanisms established in the wider Eastern Mediterranean, the Middle East and the Gulf region, as well as issues related to strengthening EU co-operation with India.
On the occasion of the meeting, the Foreign Minister warmly thanked Mr. Jaishankar for the strong support of India, a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council, in support of the positions of the Republic of Cyprus, in the context of the recent processes on the Cyprus issue with regard to the illegal Turkish actions in the fenced area of Famagusta and the renewal of the mandate of UNFICYP.
In the morning, Mr. Christodoulides attended the inaugural Plenary Session of the 76th session of the General Assembly at the United Nations, with the President of the Republic, Mr. Nikos Anastasiades.
Wednesday, 22 September 2021
The Foreign Minister had separate meetings with the Secretary-General of the Union for the Mediterranean, with the Secretary-General of the Gulf Cooperation Council, with the Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology of the United Arab Emirates, as well as with his counterparts of Libya, Serbia, Moldova, Syria, Iraq, Senegal and Georgia.
During the working breakfast with the Secretary-General of the Union for the Mediterranean, Mr. Nasser Kamel, they exchanged views on the latest developments in the wider Mediterranean region and discussed ways to further strengthen cooperation between Cyprus and the Union, as well as the possibility of creating a rapid response force in the event of natural disasters, consisting of detachments and equipment from the Member States of the Union for the Mediterranean.
During the meeting which followed with the Secretary-General of the Gulf Cooperation Council, Mr. Nayef Falah Al-Hajraf, views were exchanged on the latest developments in the wider Gulf region, and the effects of the situation in Afghanistan on the countries in the region. Furthermore, the ever-expanding cooperation of Cyprus with the Council was reviewed and it was decided that Secretary-General Al-Hajraf will visit Cyprus in the near future, during which he will also sign a Memorandum of Understanding for the establishment of consultations between the two sides which is in the final stage of negotiation.
Mr. Christodoulides then had a meeting with the Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology of the United Arab Emirates, Dr. Sultan Al Jaber, focusing on the participation of Cyprus in the World Expo2020 exhibition that opens its doors next month in Dubai, as well as enhancing Cyprus-UAE economic relations to reflect the excellent level of political relations that have been built by both countries.
During the meeting with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Libya, Ms. Najla El Mangoush, the situation in the country and the latest developments in the wider Eastern Mediterranean and EU-Libya relations were discussed, while ways to reactivate the Cyprus-Libya bilateral relations were examined, building on the traditionally close bonds of friendship that connect the two countries and their peoples.
Next, Mr. Christodoulides attended a working lunch with his Serbian counterpart, Mr. Nikola Selaković, with whom they had the opportunity to exchange views, among other issues, on the situation in the Western Balkans, on EU-Serbia relations, as well as on ways to further develop our bilateral relations.
In the afternoon, the Minister of Foreign Affairs first met with Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Moldova, Mr. Nicu Popescu, with whom the discussion focused on progress of the reforms in the country after the new government took office recently, the state of play in EU-Moldova relations and the prospects for their enhancement. Moreover, mutual will was expressed for the acceleration and completion of the consultations aimed at the signing in the near future of a number of bilateral agreements under negotiation between Cyprus and Moldova, as well as for the exchange of visits at Ministerial level, in connection with the holding of business forums.
A meeting followed with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Syria, Mr. Faisal Mekdad, who briefed Minister Christodoulides on the situation in the country, as well as about the pandemic-related humanitarian needs. Issues relating to the bilateral relations between the two countries that remain on hold due to the situation in recent years were also discussed.
During the meeting with the Iraqi Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Fuad Hussein, regional issues were discussed, including the possibility of Iraq's participation in the regional cooperation networks established in the wider region, as well as ways to further strengthen bilateral relations and cooperation. In this context, Messrs. Christodoulides and Hussein signed an agreement on the exemption of the visa requirement for holders of diplomatic and service passports between the two countries.
Later, Mr. Christodoulides held a meeting with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Senegal, Ms. Aïssata Tall Sall, with whom they discussed the effects of the pandemic and how to address them, as well as ways to reinforce the bilateral cooperation between Cyprus and Senegal, including in the context of the International Organization of the Francophonie. Ministers also reviewed EU-Senegal relations and EU-African Union relations, given that the Union will be chaired by the President of Senegal in 2022.
Finally, the Minister of Foreign Affairs met with his Georgian counterpart, Mr. David Zalkaliani. At the meeting, issues related to the further development of bilateral relations were discussed as well as EU-Georgia relations and regional issues.
In the context of the meetings, Mr. Christodoulides had the opportunity to inform his interlocutors about the latest developments in relation to the Cyprus issue.
Thursday, 23 September 2021
In the afternoon, the Foreign Minister attended a tripartite meeting with his counterparts from Greece and Egypt, while earlier in the day he had separate meetings and contacts with the Secretary-General of the Arab League, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Qatar, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Armenia, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Jordan, the Foreign Minister of Guyana, the Foreign Minister of Mongolia and the Foreign Minister of Rwanda.
During the tripartite meeting with his counterparts from Egypt, Mr. Sameh Shoukry, and Greece, Mr. Nikos Dendias, the progress in the implementation of the agreed actions in the framework of the cooperation of the three countries was reviewed, and the commitment of all parties to establish mechanisms to monitor the work carried out through the Permanent Secretariat, which is expected to start operating in Nicosia very soon, was reaffirmed. Also, the possibility of inviting other States on an ad hoc basis to participate in the processes was discussed and preparations were made for the Tripartite Summit which is due to take place in October in Greece.
In the morning meeting of Minister Chrisodoulides with the Secretary-General of the Arab League, Mr. Ahmed Aboul Gheit, the developments in the wider region of the Eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East were discussed, further to their meeting last May, while ways to further enhance Cyprus' cooperation with the League were explored.
To this end, it was decided to immediately start consultations with the aim of concluding a Memorandum of Understanding for political consultations between the two parties, which will be signed in an upcoming visit of Secretary-General Aboul Gheit to Cyprus.
Subsequently, Mr. Christodoulides met with the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Qatar, Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani, with whom he had the opportunity to discuss issues related to bilateral cooperation between the two countries, with an emphasis on energy issues and prospects for further strengthening our relations in the business sector. They also exchanged views on EU-Qatar relations, while on his part, the Foreign Minister briefed Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani on the latest developments in the Cyprus issue.
During the meeting with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Armenia, Mr. Ararat Mirzoyan, issues of common interest were discussed and the high level of bilateral relations was reaffirmed, which is based on the close historical ties that connect the peoples of the two countries. The Armenian Minister accepted Mr. Christodoulides' invitation to visit Cyprus, with the aim of further strengthening relations.
At noon, Mr. Christodoulides attended a working lunch with the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Jordan, Mr. Ayman Safadi, during which they discussed, among other issues, the further enhancement of the excellent bilateral relations between Cyprus and Jordan, recent developments in the region, and the next steps in the joint effort of the two countries to strengthen regional cooperation and dialogue, on the basis of a positive approach.
At the meeting held by the Minister of Foreign Affairs with his counterpart from Guyana, Mr. Hugh Hilton Todd, issues of common interest were discussed, focusing on the energy sector and in particular on prospects and challenges posed by the discovery and exploitation of hydrocarbons, and ways to enhance cooperation between the two countries, both bilaterally and in the context of international organizations of which they are both members, such as the United Nations and the Commonwealth.
Later on, Christodoulides had successive meetings with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Mongolia, Ms. Battsetseg Batmunkh, and with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Rwanda, Mr. Vincent Biruta, respectively, with whom he discussed international and regional issues of common interest, while also having the opportunity to exchange with them views aimed at ensuring mutual support in the candidacies of Cyprus in various international bodies and organizations.
Friday, 24 September 2021
Mr. Christodoulides had separate meetings with South Sudan's Deputy Foreign Minister, the first between officials of the two countries, and with Kazakhstan's Foreign Minister.
During the meeting with South Sudan's Deputy Foreign Minister, Mr. Deng Dau Deng, the two Ministers signed a Joint Communiqué establishing diplomatic relations between the two countries. The Communiqué expresses, inter alia, the will of the two countries to work for the development of mutually beneficial relations and cooperation, in accordance with the principles and rules of International Law and the Charter of the United Nations, and reaffirms their commitment to the promotion of international peace and security.
Next, the Foreign Minister had a meeting with his counterpart from Kazakhstan, Mr. Tileuberdi Mukhtar, during which the will of both sides to implement the roadmap agreed in 2019 to strengthen their bilateral relations was reaffirmed. In this context, Mr. Tileuberdi accepted an invitation from Mr. Christodoulides to visit Cyprus in the near future, accompanied by a delegation consisting of businesspeople. Recent developments in the wider region and the impact of the situation in Afghanistan, as well as EU-Kazakhstan relations, were also discussed.
Earlier, Mr. Christodoulides accompanied President Anastasiades to the United Nations, where the latter addressed the 76th session of the General Assembly, and also attended the meeting that the President held with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, Mr. Sergey Lavrov, as well as at the working lunch held for the Permanent Representatives of the five Permanent Members of the Security Council.
In the evening, the Minister of Foreign Affairs attended the meeting of President Anastasiades with a delegation of ExxonMobil and then attended a dinner hosted by organizations of expatriates.