Enhancing relations with Japan amongst priorities of Cyprus’ foreign policy, says FM

Cyprus has placed enhancement of relations with Japan amongst the priorities of its foreign policy, said on Wednesday Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides after a meeting with his Japanese counterpart in Tokyo, Taro Kono.

On his part, Kono said Japan attaches great significance in relations with Cyprus.

In their statements before the working dinner in honour of the Cypriot FM, Christodoulides underlined that this is his first official visit to Japan, a country, noting that despite the geographical distance between them, the two countries have in fact a lot in common, and most importantly they have shared values and common interests. It is for this reason that Cyprus has placed enhancement of relations with Japan amongst the priorities of its foreign policy, an official press release said.

Christodoulides said the momentum in relations is evidenced by the recent establishment of a Japanese Embassy in Nicosia, following 56 years of diplomatic relations. Cyprus is reciprocating with the opening of an embassy of the Republic of Cyprus in Tokyo. These developments bear testament to the mutual commitment to strengthen and deepen our bilateral ties in a tangible manner, he said.

On the bilateral front, the FM said they will discuss areas of potential cooperation, including those of trade, shipping, energy and investment. We believe we can further enhance our existing cooperation with a view to consolidating and institutionalizing it, in ways that can bring enormous benefit to both sides. The time is right, particularly following the signing of the Strategic Partnership and Economic Partnership Agreement between the European Union and Japan. The signing in July of these two highly important agreements was a pivotal step, which also signals the enhancement of the strategic relationship and the mutual commitment to rule-based international order, he added.

Furthermore, Christodoulides said that as a member state of the European Union, Cyprus attaches great importance to this strategic partnership, and strongly supports the further enhancement of relations between the EU and Japan.

The Minister said he looks forward to discussing international and regional developments with Minister Kono, including developments in the Eastern Mediterranean.

He further said that he intends to inform Minister Kono on Cyprus’ efforts to promote peace, stability and security in the Eastern Mediterranean, including through the trilateral cooperation mechanisms established with neighbouring countries.

We believe that this form of regional cooperation creates synergies and paves the ground for greater cooperation, mutual understanding, trust and solidarity. Through the traditionally close relations we enjoy with our neighbours, Cyprus is eager to contribute constructively to the efforts of the international community towards addressing the many challenges the region faces. In essence, the trilateral fora we have formed in the Eastern Mediterranean are the embodiment of multilateralism, he added.

The Minister further expressed Cyprus’s appreciation for Japan’s support to efforts for a just and viable comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem, in line with UN Security Council resolutions and international law.

Concluding, he said Cyprus is deeply appreciative of Japan’s positive contributions and commitments to rules-based international order, including with regards to law of the sea, and Japan’s commitment to acting together with the European Union in defense of shared values and principles with the aim of achieving global prosperity, security and stability.

Welcoming Minister Christodoulides, Kono said Japan sees great importance in the relations with Cyprus as a partner with whom we share fundamental values, such as rule of law and democracy.

Kono said Cyprus is a member of the European Union and is located close to the Middle East region, which means that it is situated in a very important geopolitical position.

The Japanese minister said that with the aim of enhancing bilateral relations, Japan has opened an Embassy in Nicosia in January of this year and is delighted to see that that bilateral relations are becoming active, as evidenced by the announcement by President Anastasiades of the opening of a Cyprus Embassy in Tokyo, at the opening reception of our Embassy in Cyprus.

Japan and Cyprus are both island States surrounded by beautiful oceans and are recipients of free and open maritime order based on the rule of law. We would like to cooperate together to establish rule of law at sea, as nations jointly aspiring for peace and stability of the international community, he remarked.

He further reminded that in July, the two nations signed the memorandum of cooperation concerning the evacuation of Japanese from crisis areas to Cyprus and said Cyprus cooperated and received the Japanese evacuees in the past and we would like to ask for your continuous cooperation.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. Repeated rounds of UN-led peace talks have so far failed to yield results. The latest round of negotiations, in July 2017 at the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana ended inconclusively.

Source: Cyprus News Agency