President of Ireland to pay state visit to Cyprus on October 13-16

President of Ireland Michael Higgings will pay a state visit to Cyprus from 13 to 16 October at the invitation of President Nicos Anastasiades. This is the first state visit to Cyprus by a President of Ireland since 2006.

Cyprus Government Spokesman, Prodromos Prodromou, has told the Cyprus News Agency (CNA) that during the talks that will take place at the Presidential Palace, President Anastasiades will raise the issue of Turkeys provocations and illegal interventions in Cyprus Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and will brief his Irish counterpart about developments in the Cyprus problem. Moreover the bilateral relations between Cyprus will be discussed as well as developments in the EU, and more specifically Brexit.

The programme of the state visit, which comes after President Anastasiades’ state visit to Ireland in 2016, will also include visits to the buffer zone and meetings with the UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus and the Committee on Missing Persons. President Higgins will also deliver an address to the House of Representatives.

A press release issued by the Irish side said that the state visit provides a timely opportunity to renew the longstanding bonds of friendship and solidarity between Ireland and Cyprus and to recognise Ireland’s UN peacekeeping contribution in Cyprus over many decades. Developing cultural and marine links will be highlighted, and President Higgins will take the opportunity to meet the resident Irish community.

The Irish President and Sabina Higgins will be accompanied on the visit by the irish Minister for Justice and Equality, Charles Flanagan.

Higgins state visit to Cyprus will follow his visit, on 9-13 October, to Greece where he will have meetings with 12 other EU Heads of State and deliver the distinguished Aristotle Address.

Upon conclusion of the state visit to Cyprus, President Higgins will travel to Lebanon, for meetings with President Michel Aoun, meetings with Lebanese politicians and UN agencies, as well as a visit to Irish troops and Irish NGOs working in the country.

According to a navigational warning issued by Turkey, Turkish drill ship “Yavuz”, which has returned to Cyprus’ EEZ, will carry out drilling operations inside block 7, located off the south-western coast of Cyprus. Block 7 has been licensed by the government of Cyprus to France’s Total and Italy’s ENI for drilling operations.

“Yavuz, was anchored off the island’s north-eastern coast on July 8 and operated within the territorial waters of the Republic of Cyprus, until September 17, when it departed for a Turkish port in Mersin.

Moreover, Turkey issued a navigational telex (navtex), announcing its intention to start drilling off Cyprus and since 4 May 2019, the Turkish drill ship Fatih has been anchored 36 nautical miles west of Akamas peninsula. The area falls within the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and continental shelf of the Republic of Cyprus. Ankara extended the navtex until November 1, 2019.

Cyprus has called on drill ship Yavuz and its supporting vessels to immediately cease illegal actions in the Republic’ Exclusive Economic Zone and its continental shelf.

A navigational telex (navtex), published on the website of the Joint Rescue and Coordination Centre (JRCC) stationed in Larnaca, also warned all those working on “Yavuz” and its supporting vessels that they will face consequences and an international arrest warrant will be issued against them.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded and occupied its northern third. Turkey has ignored numerous UN resolutions calling for the withdrawal of the Turkish troops and respect of the integrity and sovereignty of the Republic of Cyprus. Repeated rounds of UN-led peace talks have so far failed to yield results. The last round of negotiations, in the summer of 2017, at the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana ended inconclusively.

Source: Cyprus News Agency