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Migration and energy top talks as Italian president visits Cyprus

President Christodoulides, and President Mattarella of Italy have reaffirmed their common will to further strengthen the already excellent relations between Cyprus and Italy.

Christodoulides said that this first visit of the President of Italy to Cyprus is historic, adding that “it is an indication of the mutual desire to strengthen the already close relations.

‘Our countries cooperate closely bilaterally, as well as within the European Union (EU), and I am particularly pleased that President Mattarella’s visit coincides with the 20th anniversary of our accession to the EU, which for us is the most important success for our country,’ Christodoulides said.

During a private meeting in Nicosia, the leaders emphasized on areas where cooperation was close, such as Energy, where the Italian ENI is active in a large number of blocks of the Cypriot Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).

‘As regards Defence, there is already close cooperation with joint exercises and trainings, also with other countries such as Greece and France. There is a very important annual exercise for the need to ensure security conditions and cooperation in the Eastern Mediterranean,’ Christodoulides added.

During talks, the issue of migration was touched upon, a huge challenge for both countries. ‘We note with interest the Italian initiatives on this issue and we agree with the Italian approach to tackle the root causes of the phenomenon, but also the need for collective action on the part of the EU and the importance of starting to discuss within the EU some issues that until now and for many years, unfortunately, we have not discussed, such as the issue of Syria,’ Christodoulides said.

Famagusta Gazette