Foreign Affairs Minister participates in the EU Foreign Affairs Council

At the EU Foreign Affairs Council, which was held on Monday, January 16, in Brussels, the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Ms Frederica Mogherini, briefed participants on a number of issues, inter alia, the Conference on Cyprus held in Geneva earlier this month, developments in Syria, and the Middle East peace process. Ministers further held an exchange of views on the outlook for the first part of 2017.

Briefing her counterparts on the Conference on Cyprus, Ms Mogherini spoke of a historic landmark, praising President Anastasiades and Mustafa Akinci’s will to work towards reaching a solution to the Cyprus problem. EU High Representative further congratulated the parties involved in the process, expressed EU’s commitment to provide financial assistance for the Cyprus solution, and noted the EU’s participation in the next stage of the process for discussing the chapter of Security and Guarantees. Moreover, Ms Mogherini emphasized the positive impact a settlement of the Cyprus problem will have to the wider region and stressed that the EU will assist in any way possible towards a successful outcome of the Cyprus talks; an outcome which will be acceptable by all and in line with the legal and security framework that governs the EU.

On his part, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Ioannis Kasoulides, during his intervention, thanked the European Commission’s President Jean-Claude Juncker and EU’s High Representative for their stance during the Conference on Cyprus, noting that discussions in Geneva were about the future of a member state, which should be in line with the European Treaties and EU acquis communautaire. Minister Kasoulides further thanked the British Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, Mr Boris Johnson, for his positive participation in the Conference, as well as the Foreign Minister of the Hellenic Republic, Mr Niko Kotzia, for his strong pro-Cyprus support.

Moreover, Cypriot Minister of Foreign Affairs noted that the Conference on Cyprus, in Geneva, is open-ended, whilst the decision taken for discussing, at technical level, the chapter of Security � a taboo for over 40 years� is a constructive step forward. This step, Mr Kasoulides said, manifests the will that is being demonstrated by the two sides for reaching a solution that enhances Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots concerns over security. The solution will turn Cyprus into a fully independent and sovereign state, without third-party-guarantees. This is of the essence, because at the end of the day, people will be called to decide upon the approval of the proposed solution, Minister Kasoulides said, who expressed Cyprus’ satisfaction over the unanimous deliberation of the European Council for the EU presence in the Conference on Cyprus.

Following, British Secretary of State, Mr Boris Johnson, expressed support to Cyprus’ reunification efforts and highlighted the will of the two leaders for finding a solution to the problem. Ministers of Foreign Affairs from a number of member states also noted that in a time of challenge, a settlement of the Cyprus problem will be considered a positive development.

Lastly, the Council adopted conclusions on Lebanon’s presidential elections and the formation of a new government.

Source: Press and Information Office