The President of the Republic received the credentials of the new Ambassador of Lithuania

The President of the Republic, Mr Nicos Anastasiades, received today, during a formal ceremony at the Presidential Palace, the credentials of the Ambassador of Lithuania to the Republic of Cyprus, stationed in Athens, Mr Rolandas Kacinskas.

Presenting his credentials, the Lithuanian Ambassador said:

Your Excellency, the President of the Republic of Cyprus:

I have the great honor today to present to you the Letter accrediting me as a non-resident Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Lithuania to the Republic of Cyprus, as well as the letter of Recall of my Predecessor.

At the outset, allow me to convey to Your Excellency the cordial greetings of President Dalia Grybauskaite and extend, through Your Excellency, the best wishes of the Government and people of Lithuania to the Government and people of Cyprus.

Lithuania sincerely wishes your country ever-fresh achievements in all your national endeavours, and especially in your efforts to reunite Cyprus. Lithuania fully supports the ongoing negotiation process. A settlement would be significant not only for Cyprus – the reunification of Cyprus would send a strong positive message to the wider region and could become a genuine success story in Europe, especially at this particular time when Europe is in need for success more than ever before.

The beginning of my tenure of duty coincides with the twenty-fifth anniversary of establishment of diplomatic relations between Lithuania and Cyprus. Since 1992, our bilateral relations have developed steadily and fruitfully. Co-operation between Lithuania and Cyprus was strongly encouraged by the common European aspiration, culminating to both our countries in the EU membership in 2004, which has given to bilateral cooperation since then even more dynamism, depth and breadth.

In fact, regardless of a geographical distance and belonging to opposite European regions, Cyprus and Lithuania have more elements in common today than one would think. As we see it, both our countries occupy important geostrategic locations and play important geopolitical role. As front-line EU member-states, both of them are hugely interested in strengthening and managing the EU external border as well as focusing on the implementation of the European Neighborhood Policy, with the aim to make the common neighborhood more stable and secure. Finally, the further success of development of our countries will largely depend on the success of the EU to remain strong and united. This clearly shows that Lithuania and Cyprus are on the same boat, although on different sides of it. Yet, to move forward, we need harmonious actions and clear understanding of each other’s interests and needs.

With this in mind, I look forward to assuming my duties as Lithuania’s ambassador to the Republic of Cyprus, and contributing to developing our relations to a new high as well as strengthening friendship between our two peoples, an extremely honorable and important mission, in which, I believe, I’ll receive assistance and support from Your Excellency and your Government.

More specifically, I believe that both our countries would benefit from more frequent, high-level visits and exchanges between presidents, governments, legislatures and political parties, to exchange our experience and deepen mutual understanding. It goes without saying that solidarity and unity should continue to be the foundation of the development of our bilateral relations.

Secondly, I will work hard to advance practical cooperation. The economies of Lithuania and Cyprus are complimentary to each other, and there are broad areas of cooperation. So far, the highest degree of cooperation has been achieved in the field of tourism. Cyprus has rich tourism resources, while Lithuania is a potential growing market for it � the number of tourists from Lithuania to Cyprus has doubled over the last two years, reaching twenty-six thousand tourists in 2016. However, I believe that Lithuania and Cyprus have much more to offer to each other in terms of economic and business relations – Lithuania is looking for opportunities to extend mutual beneficial cooperation in areas like renewable energy, information technology, maritime economy and life-sciences industry.

Thirdly, I will pay special emphasis on promoting people-to-people contacts, academia and cultural exchanges. There is nothing else that so effectively enhances cooperation between states, increase mutual understanding and break stereotypes like ordinary people-to-people contacts.

This is particularly important now that Europe is at risk of alienation and fragmentation. Therefore, I see this as one of the key tasks of modern diplomacy within the EU and beyond to encourage co-operation between people and take advantage of each other’s experience and knowledge, as we search for best ways and means to deal with the demands and challenges of our modern and interdependent life.

Your Excellency Mr President:

The twenty-five years since the establishment of diplomatic relations between the Republic of Lithuania and the Republic of Cyprus, is merely a glimpse in history. I have no doubt that this period has been just an introduction to the long-lasting and rich relations between our countries and its people. I wish to assure Your Excellency that during the tenure of my mission I will do my best to contribute to the consolidation and strengthening of these relations.

I thank you, Your Excellency Mr President.

Receiving the credentials, President Anastasiades said:

Your Excellency,

It is with great pleasure that I accept your Letters of Credence as the new Ambassador of Lithuania to the Republic of Cyprus.

Cyprus and Lithuania are connected by historical bonds of friendship and cooperation, and we aim at the further strengthening of the already excellent relations that exist between our countries.

We share the same European values of democracy, freedom, the rule of law and respect for human rights. Our simultaneous accession to the European Union in 2004 has further enriched our bilateral relations and the friendship and exchanges between our peoples, while offering more opportunities to further advance our cooperation in many other fields.

We stand ready to enhance our cooperation in the fields of investments, bilateral trade, energy, tourism and education and to explore new fields of cooperation through the conclusion of new agreements. Considering our comparable sized economies and regardless of the geographical distance, Cyprus and Lithuania can do more to increase their exchanges.

The fact that we are located at the southern and eastern borders of the EU, respectively, means that we can share similar perceptions as regards our role in safeguarding regional stability in the European neighborhood area and maintaining the security of EU external borders.

Your Excellency,

As regards the latest developments in the negotiations for a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus Problem, a joint meeting was held between the leaders of the two communities with the United Nations Secretary – General on 4 June 2017. During the meeting it was decided to reconvene the Conference on Cyprus, starting on 28 June, with the UN explicitly underlining that the Chapter of Security and Guarantees is an essential element in reaching an overall agreement.

On 30 June, the United Nations Secretary � General, during his first presence and participation in the Conference on Cyprus and following consultations with all parties involved, set the parameters within which, always according to the results of his recommendations, the negotiations should move forward, in order to achieve progress and/or convergences on six thematic topics, including on the Chapter of Security and Guarantees and the issue of foreign troops. The UN Secretary General’s specifically stated:

– The Treaty of Guarantee, and the unilateral right of intervention should be terminated, and replaced by strong implementation and monitoring mechanisms of the settlement, which will include an international dimension (UN / multilateral � international framework / friendly countries).

– On foreign troops there must be drastic reduction from the first day of the entry into force of the settlement, and subsequently the number of forces to be reduced to reach the 1960 levels; the issue of a clause of the termination for the stay of the troops, or a clause for review should be discussed in the presence of the Prime Ministers of the three guarantor powers.

As a result of the refusal of the Turkish and the Turkish Cypriot side to negotiate within the limits set by the parameters that the UN Secretary – General, and in view of an imminent impasse, our side undertook an initiative, and on 5 July, under specific preconditions, submitted specific proposals that addressed the concerns of the Turkish Cypriots, without ignoring the sensitivities of the Greek Cypriot side, always in line with the outline presented by the UN Secretary � General.

Our written proposal clearly stressed that none of the proposals would come into force if the unilateral right of intervention and the guarantees were not terminated; if there was no withdrawal of the occupation forces with a specific timetable; and if the just demands of the Greek Cypriot side on territorial readjustments were not satisfied. At the same time, we proposed a credible monitoring mechanism for the implementation and monitoring of the settlement.

On 6 July, in the presence of the UN Secretary � General and during the long consultations that followed, Mr Cavusoglu, albeit implying that Turkey was ready to show flexibility, stubbornly refused to reveal the Turkish positions, while at the same time demanding the prior satisfaction of the Turkish Cypriot positions on the internal dimension of the Cyprus problem, with special emphasis on the need to satisfy the Turkish demand on the issue of the equivalent treatment of Greek and Turkish citizens, and also the Turkish position for the solution to become primary law of the European Union.

In view of the imminent deadlock, the UN Secretary – General took the initiative to propose a short communique that would register generally acceptable positions on the Chapter on Security and Guarantees, and also on some other Chapters where it was thought possible for a convergence of views to be achieved.

Unfortunately, Mr Cavusoglu, finally revealed that the position of Turkey remained unchanged, and namely that the system of security and guarantees and also the right of intervention must be maintained with a review clause in fifteen years’ time, whereas on the issue of the troops the absolute position of Turkey was that whatever number is agreed upon will remain permanently in Cyprus.

In order to avoid the aggravation of a further crisis, the Secretary – General assumed the burden of responsibility stating that, in view of the developments, it seemed that on the issue of the termination of the Treaty of Guarantee, and the right of intervention, his suggestions throughout the entire duration of the consultations were based on a false understanding that he had formulated during his talks with the Turkish Foreign Minister.

What is most unfortunate and deeply disappointing, is that Turkey, once the process reached a critical point, when it was called to prove in practice that it means business on the Cyprus Problem, and when it was expected to deliver on the Chapter of Security and Guarantees, merely repeated its well-known positions, demonstrating that it has no intention to materialize in practice its repeated rhetoric of adopting a constructive stance and positively contributing to the efforts of reaching a settlement.

On our behalf, what the Greek Cypriot community would like to convey to the international community, and to Turkey, is that we are strongly committed to negotiate a solution within the parameters that the Secretary General set, if:

First: The Treaties of Guarantee and Alliance, including the right of intervention, are terminated from the first day of the implementation of the settlement.

Second: An effective mechanism for the implementation and monitoring of the settlement is agreed, on the basis of the comprehensive proposal that we have submitted.

Third: A timetable for the complete withdrawal of the occupation forces is agreed, on the basis of the proposal we have submitted.

Our sole aim and purpose, through the proposals we have submitted, is the establishment of a truly independent and sovereign state, free of any third country dependencies.

A modern state, fully harmonized with the European acquis, that will offer the prospect of peaceful co-existence and prospect for the future for all its citizens without exception.

We therefore hope that Turkey, which illegally has more than 40,000 occupation troops in Cyprus, will show a positive respond to our proposals, revisit its intransigent positions particularly in the areas of security and guarantees, and as regards demands that are not in line with Cyprus’ capacity as a member-state of the EU, so as to create sound prospects of achieving an overall agreement.

Excellency,

Four years ago, just after my election as President of the Republic of Cyprus, this country was faced with nothing less than economic collapse. Today, we can proudly – once more – connect Cyprus to growth and potential. The Cypriot economy is emerging stronger and stands ready to face current challenges, utilizing its full potential. For 2016 growth was at 2.8%, one of the highest rates in the European Union and most importantly this growth rate is expected to stay at this level for the next few years. Our efforts to improve the business environment are continuing and at the same time our focus on reforms and strengthening the economy’s reliability is strong and decisive.

Despite the economic difficulties that we have faced, our country’s comparative advantages not only remain intact, but have been further enhanced and expanded, setting them apart from most investment destinations. These include a significant network of Agreements for Avoidance of Double Taxation a highly qualified and professional workforce, and a fully EU-harmonised tax and legal system. Cyprus continues to be a highly competitive center for international businesses, offering a platform for operations and preferential access to markets like Europe, Middle East, North Africa and Asia.

We are now focusing on attracting investors in the productive sectors of the economy. This is my Government’s most important priority, following the restoration of the state’s and the financial system’s credibility. The majority of economic sectors in Cyprus present growth opportunities: tourism, telecommunications, shipping, real estate, education, health, transport, research and innovation. The energy sector is also a promising field. The discovery of natural gas reserves within Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone creates excellent investment prospects in the energy sector and supplementary services. All these areas offer an excellent potential for further deepening our cooperation in the years to come for mutual benefit.

Excellency,

The beginning of your tenure of duty coincides indeed with the twenty-fifth anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Cyprus and Lithuania. This is a milestone in our bilateral relations and I am confident that during your tenure as Ambassador of Lithuania to the Republic of Cyprus you will actively contribute to their strengthening.

I would like to kindly ask you to convey my warm greetings and best wishes to President Dalia Grybauskaite and a message of friendship and solidarity to the Government and friendly people of Lithuania.

Ambassador Kacinskas, I warmly welcome you to Cyprus and I would like to assure you of my Government’s commitment to assist you, so that your tenure will be constructive and fruitful.

Present at the ceremony were the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Ioannis Kasoulides, the Head of Presidency at the Presidential Palace, Mr Michalis Sophocleous, and the Chief of Protocol, Mr Antonis Grivas.

Source: Press and Information Office