Saudi Arabia could contribute to Cyprus’ reunification, Kasoulides says

Cyprus Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides said Saudi Arabia could contribute to the reunification of the island during an interview he gave on Monday to Arabic international newspaper Asharq al-Awsat.

In view of President Anastasiades’ upcoming official visit to Riyadh this Wednesday, Mr Kasoulides told reporters that Cyprus looks forward to enhancing its collaboration with the Arab country for the sake of greater security and stability in the region, adding that there are great opportunities for cooperation between Cyprus and Saudi Arabia in many fields such as economy, business and tourism.

Kasoulides said that relationships between the two countries have advanced significantly since Riyadh’s Athens ambassador was appointed as the Charge d’Affaires in Nicosia and the subsequent opening of a Cyprus embassy in the Saudi capital. The minister also expressed hope that Saudi Arabia will open a mission in Nicosia in the near future.

Referring to President Anastasiades’ visit to the Arab Kingdom, Mr Kasoulides pointed out that it is consistent with Cyprus’ foreign policy in the region, while he stressed the leading role of Saudi Arabia in the Arab and Muslim worlds and the fact that King Salman is Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques.

The Cypriot FM reaffirmed Cyprus’ readiness to share the island with the Turkish-Cypriot people in the context of a unified Cyprus, which would result in the eventual reconciliation between the two populations. However, this cannot happen unless Turkey withdraws its troops from the island. Riyadh’s exerting its influence in that direction could prove to be highly significant.

Kasoulides will be one of the ministers escorting President Anastasiades on his visit to Riyadh. The latter will also be accompanied by the ministers of Defence, Transport and Energy, as well as by the Government Spokesman.

On Wednesday, the Cypriot President will be received by King Salman in an official ceremony, after which there will be an official banquet held in his honour. Official consultations between the delegations of the two countries will take place shortly afterwards and it is expected that agreements will be signed between the two sides.

Anastasiades’ agenda includes a meeting with the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia later in the afternoon, as well as a meeting with the Secretary-General of the Gulf Cooperation Council. The President will also visit the facilities of J&P, a Cypriot-owned company.

The Cypriot delegation is scheduled to return to the island on Wednesday night.


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