The President of the Republic receives the credentials of the Ambassador of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania

The President of the Republic, Mr Nicos Anastasiades, received today, at a formal ceremony at the Presidential Palace, the credentials of the Ambassador of Islamic Republic of Mauritania to the Republic of Cyprus, Mrs Mariem Aouffa, stationed in Rome.

Presenting his credentials, Ambassador Aouffa said:

Excellency, Honorable Mr President,

It is a great honor for me to be here today to present my credentials as Ambassador of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania to the Republic of Cyprus. At the beginning, I would like to convey sincere greetings from the President of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania to you, and to the Government of the friendly people of the Republic of Cyprus. He has conveyed his best wishes for progress and prosperity of the Republic of Cyprus. The relationship between Mauritania and Cyprus is an important facet of our foreign policy. This relationship is based on the fundamental principles of mutual respect and cooperation. The Republic of Cyprus, being an important member of the European Union, has held a special place in the international community and Mauritania and Cyprus has traditionally enjoyed close and cordial relations.

We look forward to continue cooperation in various domains. Therefore, it would be my earnest desire and commitment to fortify our longstanding relations, particularly through enhancement of trade and development of bridges between the economies of our two countries. Your guidance will be crucial to inspire my task and will help me to achieve substantive results during my assignment.

Mr President,

Today Mauritania has established itself as a stable country in a trouble Saharan-Sahel regional environment. Mauritania has achieved substantive achievements in various spheres, particularly in the fight against terrorism. The political system has gained maturity coupled with improvement in the general level of security. The economic indicators are very positive and promising.

Mauritania believes in resolution of all outstanding issues through peaceful ways. We also strive for peace and stability in support to the efforts towards a comprehensive, viable and fair settlement of the Cyprus problem based on UN Resolutions and High Level Agreements at the earliest possible. We believe that the Republic of Cyprus, under your visionary leadership, will achieve this objective.

Mr President,

I would like to conclude by reiterating my objective of further strengthening the excellent relations between Mauritania and Cyprus. I have the honor to present the letter of credence, by which H.E. Mohamed OULD Abdel Aziz, President of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania has appointed me as an Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic Islamic of Mauritania to the Republic of Cyprus.

Receiving the credentials, the President of the Republic said:

Your Excellency,

It is with distinct pleasure that I receive today your Letters of Credence, appointing you as the new Ambassador of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania to the Republic of Cyprus, as well as the Letters of Recall of your predecessor. I would like to wish you every success in your mission and to assure you that my Government will provide you with every possible assistance.

Cyprus and Mauritania share friendly bilateral relations and cooperation in international fora and especially within the United Nations. May I express on this occasion, my Government’s appreciation for the record of reciprocal support between Cyprus and Mauritania in international organizations.

My Government looks forward to strengthening our bilateral relations and to that respect stands ready to join efforts in exploring new areas of cooperation. As an EU member state, Cyprus, in pursuant to the outcome of the 4th EU-Africa Summit that took place in April 2014, in Brussels, is committed to the enhancement of political dialogue and cooperation with African countries, especially in order to deal effectively with today’s common challenges, such as terrorism and refugee crisis.

Excellency,

Almost 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, Cyprus can be justifiably projected as a success story of economic reform. With the determination of my Government, the resilience of key productive sectors of the economy and the sacrifice and hard work of the Cypriot people, we have achieved:

? to address fiscal imbalances, through growth-friendly consolidation,

? to have a restructured and fully recapitalized banking sector, mainly through big international investors,

? to undertake and implement radical structural reforms,

? to return to the international markets much earlier than any other programme country, and

? to restore our credibility and regain confidence in the Cypriot economy.

Our ambitious reform agenda, aspires to lay the foundations for long-term sustainable growth, improving the business environment, which will increasingly attract foreign direct investments in the productive sectors of the economy. Towards this direction, there is a continuing process to modernise and reform the current tax and legal framework, while the effort to reform the public service and modernize our legislation continues, with additional measures underway, such as accelerated licensing procedures, updated permanent residency and citizenship programmes, the introduction of e-government and sector-related incentive schemes. Our reform agenda is aiming to eventually transform our economic model, to enhance our competitive edge and to attract foreign direct investments, in order to achieve sustained growth and prosperity for all Cypriots.

Your Excellency,

As regards the ongoing negotiating process to reach a comprehensive settlement on the Cyprus problem, for the last 18 months a new effort has begun which has provided, I have to admit, positive results. Progress has been achieved in the Chapters of Governance and Power-Sharing, Economy, EU and to a lesser extent the Chapter of Property.

I need to underline, however, that despite the remarkable progress achieved, differences remain on a number of issues relating to the Chapters I have mentioned.

Unfortunately, and despite the constructive stance and the flexibility shown by the Greek Cypriot side, in order to facilitate discussions and reach a positive outcome, the two sessions held at Mont PAlerin, Switzerland, in November, did not yield the desired outcome.

Nevertheless, and in order to address another fundamental Chapter, that of the territorial adjustments �the outcome of which will significantly contribute towards reaching an agreement on the outstanding issues of the Property Chapter-, on October 26 it was decided to commence a new phase of intensive negotiations at Mont Pelerin, in Switzerland, focusing on this particular Chapter.

During the two rounds of discussions that followed, despite the progress that had been achieved in one of the three main criteria, which should govern territorial adjustments, we did not reach an agreement on the other two criteria. This prevented the submission of maps and consequently the negotiating process came to a deadlock.

On 1 December, and in order to safeguard the momentum of the negotiations and to prevent an overall halt of the process with unpredictable consequences, we agreed to resume and intensify the dialogue in Cyprus from the point it was left-off at Mont PAlerin.

This will lead to a three-day meeting to be held in Geneva between 9-11 of January 2017, with the aim of achieving further convergences on the internal aspects of the Cyprus problem.

On 11 January maps will be submitted on territorial adjustments. Progress on the above issues will allow us to come within reach of an agreement by creating the conditions and prospects for a successful conclusion of the multilateral Conference on Cyprus on 12th of January, which will discuss issues that relate to the international aspects of the Cyprus problem, and in particular on the Chapter of Security and Guarantees and ways and means to ensure the smooth implementation of the settlement.

At this critical juncture, I wish to reassure of my determination to reach a successful outcome at the negotiations in Geneva, so as to achieve a settlement that will reunify our country and fulfill the vision of the people of Cyprus of building an attractive future for our youth and the generations to come, setting an example for peace-making and enhancing security and stability in our region.

A settlement based on a bicommunal, bizonal federation with political equality, as set out in the relevant Security Council Resolutions, the High Level Agreements and the Joint Declaration of February 2014, with a single international legal personality, a single sovereignty and a single citizenship.

A settlement that will:

? Reunite our country, its people, the economy and institutions;

? Create a win-win situation for all Cypriots, taking into account the sensitivities and concerns of both communities;

? Ensure a modern member-state of the EU and UN, enjoying full sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity;

? Restore and fully respect the fundamental freedoms and human rights of all its lawful citizens;

? Rid Cyprus of third country military troops or guarantees, an anachronism in today’s World.

To this end, Turkey’s contribution in tangible terms in these negotiations is vital. There is no solution that can be reached without Turkey’s input. We do therefore expect Turkey, which is responsible for the illegal stationing of more than 40.000 occupation troops in Cyprus, to take practical and concrete steps towards this direction, particularly during the upcoming Conference of Cyprus, taking into account not only the benefit of the people of Cyprus, but also the positive impact a settlement will have to regional stability and cooperation.

Your Excellency,

In welcoming you to Cyprus, I would kindly request that you convey to H.E. Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz and to the friendly people of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania my warmest greetings and a message of sincere friendship and solidarity.

Present at the ceremony were the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Christoforos Fokaides, the Chief of Protocol, Mr Marios Kountourides, and the Head of Presidency at the Presidential Palace, Mr Kypros Kyprianou.

Source: Press and Information Office