France has always been a strategic partner of the Republic of Cyprus and there is a clear political will to strengthen and further extend the already excellent relations at bilateral, European and multilateral levels, said President Nicos Anastasiades.
Addressing a reception at the French Embassy on the occasion of the National Day on Wednesday evening, the President spoke of an ideal opportunity to reconfirm the excellent level of relations on the basis of the strategic agenda signed in 2018. The agenda, he added, determines cooperation in areas such as energy, security, economy, education, innovation, culture and diplomacy.
Regarding the participation of the French multinational TOTAL in the energy program of Cyprus, President Anastasiades said that it undoubtedly opened up new horizons regarding cooperation on energy issues in the region and France’s presence in MED7. The two countries have closer cooperation in security and defense.
President Anastasiades also referred to the excellent relations of the two countries which are illustrated by the good functioning of the Franco-Cypriot school in Nicosia, noting that a second school will operate in Limassol.
The two countries, he added, have a common vision that goes beyond bilateral relations or the EU framework for the Eastern Mediterranean Basin and the wider Middle East and share the same concerns about developments. and asymmetric threats in the region, as well as the same vision for peace, stability and security. For this reason, he added, unilateral illegal actions that lead to tension and threaten peace should be avoided by all.
Anastasiades thanked French President Emanuel Macron for his long-standing support and solidarity in the face of the violation of the sovereignty and sovereign rights of the Republic of Cyprus.
Referring to the Cyprus problem, he said that despite the deadlock due to the other side straying from the basis of a solution, he assured that he would do everything possible to create the conditions necessary to allow the resumption of substantive talks under the UNSG.
For her part and referring to the Cypriot problem, Ambassador Salina Grenet-Catalano declared that “a solution cannot be found by division. The division means that all parties would lose.
She noted that “France, as an EU country and a permanent member of the Security Council, eagerly awaits the resumption of negotiations within the framework of the United Nations. Creative ideas or some flexibility will likely come in handy as it does in any successful negotiation process. But our compass must remain firmly the bi-zonal and bi-communal federation with political equality.
Today, added the French ambassador, “there is a risk of a dangerous blockage given the positions exposed in Geneva. Urgency, determination, perhaps a little daring are then more necessary than ever. Non-counterproductive and unrealistic preconditions for the talks.
According to Grenet-Catalano, “the reopening of the crossing points after nearly 450 days of closure was a very positive development”, adding however that “more must be done to build confidence. Confidence-building precludes any action that goes against UN resolutions. That is why unilateral decisions regarding Varosha must be avoided and the issue dealt with through dialogue ”.
Catalano says geographically, Cyprus and France are located at both ends of the European continent. “But through the heart, our common history and the strength of friendship, Cyprus and France have never been so close.”
In the field of defense, strong strategic links exist and have deepened, in particular thanks to the numerous stops by French navy ships in Cyprus.
The French military presence in the eastern Mediterranean, she added, illustrates our enduring commitment to regional stability and security. Tensions have recently eased. Illegal activities have ceased in recent months. However, this “detente” must be sustainable. France will remain vigilant and always ready to defend international law through dialogue and mutual respect, she promised.
Energy, she added, is another area that could accelerate cooperation – not competition – in the region. France will play its role as a new member of the Eastern Mediterranean Gas Forum (EMGF).
She also hoped that Cyprus and France broaden their partnership in new areas such as innovation and research.