The President of the Republic met with the President of France

The President of the Republic, Mr Nicos Anastasiades, met today, in Paris, with the President of France, Mr Francois Hollande.

The meeting started at 12:30 and lasted for about an hour.

Upon his arrival at the Presidential Palace, President Anastasiades was welcomed by his French counterpart and reviewed a military contingent that presented honors. The President was accompanied by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Ioannis Kasoulides, the Government Spokesman, Mr Nikos Christodoulides, and government staff.

Following the meeting, President Anastasiades told reporters that “the meeting with President Hollande was productive in every way, since it provided the opportunity, beyond reviewing bilateral relations, to focus our attention on the current situation of the Cyprus problem, on the efforts that are made and will be made, so that we can achieve, if possible, the target that we have set. In other words, to achieve a solution that will be acceptable to all the people of Cyprus, Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots – even though what I will say is probably optimistic – why not before the end of 2016.

Certainly, Turkey’s stance will play an important role in this, because there are fundamental issues that depend absolutely on the will and the contribution of Turkey.”

In response to an observation that France’s stance is harder toward Turkey in relation to other EU countries, the President of the Republic said that “the stance of France is absolutely in accord with international law; it does not take a position for or against Turkey, but on behalf of international law.”

Asked whether he and President Hollande discussed about the interest of TOTAL (a French energy company) for the Exclusive Economic Zone of Cyprus, President Anastasiades said that “the French President did not raise such an issue. It was, however, an issue of consultation, simply out of interest, between executives (of the company) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the morning, and this will be followed by a visit to Cyprus by the President of TOTAL with whom I will have the opportunity to hold discussions. We are engaged in an international competition which is under the rules and the supervision of the EU, and consequently it was not possible for the French President to intervene.

We are of course aware of the interest of the French Government and of the Italian Government and of the American Government; however, we will follow the procedures with full transparency.”

Asked whether he and President Hollande discussed the issue of Syria, the President responded in the affirmative and said that “we will continue the dialogue at the forthcoming European Council as well.”

In reference to the passing of former Israeli President Shimon Peres, President Anastasiades said the following: “I want to express deep sorrow because a true political giant with international magnitude and recognition has departed this life leaving behind him, however, a legacy that dictates to everybody that the objective, the vision, should always be Peace. As a token of honor and respect, I will attend his funeral this coming Friday.”

Source: Press and Information Office.