Foreign Minister statement on the significance of the Commonwealth summit

Cyprus, along with Malta, has a special role to play in bringing the Commonwealth and the European Union closer together, given the UK’s departure from the EU, said Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides.

Speaking to reporters in London on the sidelines of this week’s CHOGM and the bilateral meetings he holds with counterparts from the Commonwealth member countries, the Cypriot Foreign Minister said: Apart from the very important issues discussed at the Commonwealth summit, there is also the opportunity for meetings with a significant number of countries – as there are 53 members – either at Heads of Government or at Foreign Ministers level; countries with which there are no opportunities to hold meetings, either due to distance or because of the wider approach of our foreign policy, which naturally attributes greater importance on issues relating to the EU and the wider Easter Mediterranean region.

So, continued the Minister, there was the opportunity for important bilateral meetings both for the President of the Republic and at Foreign Ministers level. For example, there was a meeting today with the Foreign Minister of Singapore, a Commonwealth member country with which trade and economic relations in particular can be developed, having also in mind that the European Commission has very recently called for an advancement of a trade deal with Singapore.

Christodoulides then referred to the fact that for the Republic of Cyprus and for Malta there is an additional role to play as the only two members of both the EU and the Commonwealth once Brexit has taken place.

Indeed, the Republic of Cyprus has for long now undertaken an initiative so that the Commonwealth and the EU come closer. There are issues of mutual interest, there are issues on which there can be a common approach and within this framework the Republic of Cyprus can play a significant role. It is something on which we will have further developments in the coming days.

In relation to the bilateral meetings he has had, the Foreign Minister said: There was a very interesting, open and frank discussion with the UK Minister for Europe, during which we discussed the latest developments on the Cyprus issue and the outcome of the recent dinner between the two leaders.

One on hand we had the opportunity to repeat, as the President of the Republic had discussed with the UK Prime Minister, the readiness of the President of the Republic to resume talks; but at the same time to also discuss the role that the UK Government can play in the effort to resume talks towards a direction with real prospects of a positive outcome.

The UK Government’s position on the subject od Security and Guarantees is known, a position that has been expressed publicly in the past and has been recorded. You understand that this was the chapter that led to an impasse at the Conference in Crans Montana and it is important that there is a reaffirmation of the position on behalf of the UK Government about this particular chapter.

Then there are also bilateral issues that are expected to be examined by the two countries bearing in mind Britain’s exit from the EU.

Source: Cyprus News Agency