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Cyprus FM in Lebanon: Text of speech

Press remarks by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr Constantinos Kombos, following his meeting with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Lebanon, Mr Abdallah Bou Habib, in Beirut

Dear Minister,

Dear Abdallah,

I am very pleased to be in Beirut today and for the opportunity to have extensive discussions on a wide range of issues.

Cyprus and Lebanon have a common, solid foundation of close historic ties, excellent people-to-people relations, and we are tied together by geography. I want to underline that the Republic of Cyprus remains and will continue to be a supportive friend.

Today, with my dear colleague, we focused on topics of bilateral and regional interest. In specific, on the situation in Gaza, the spill-over danger, migration challenges, energy, European Union (EU) support to Lebanon, and the Cyprus problem.

I would like to highlight a few topics.

Firstly, on the Cyprus Problem. We stand ready to resume negotiations to reach a viable and lasting solution to the Cyprus Problem, on the basis of a bizonal, bicommunal federation with political equality, as provided by the relevant UN Security Council Resolutions. In this respect, I wish to thank Lebanon for its long-standing principled stance on the Cyprus Question.

Secondly, I would like to underline that peace and stability in Lebanon are important for the economic development and prosperity of Lebanon and its people, as well as for the wider region and, of course, for Cyprus. In this context, we discussed the ongoing hostilities in the southern part of Lebanon and the efforts of international partners to support Lebanon in finding a diplomatic solution to the situation. We encourage all parties involved to engage constructively in these discussions in order to find a comprehensive solution that would guarantee the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Lebanon and the safety and security of all parties involved.

Thirdly, we also had the opportunity to discuss issues related to the situation in Syria and the consequences of that situation to Lebanon and Cyprus. We understand the concerns expressed by Lebanon and the need to find ways to improve the humanitarian situation of these people within Syria, so they do not have to leave their homes. In this context, we also conveyed our strong support for enhanced cooperation with Lebanon as regards addressing the immense problem of irregular migration and the continuing flows created by people smuggling networks. Both Lebanon and Cyprus are under tremendous pressure from migration flows and we need to enhance our cooperation in this field.

Fourthly, we exchanged views about the Agreement between the Republic of Cyprus and Lebanon on the Exclusive Economic Zone signed in 2007. Cyprus is looking forward to the expeditious ratification of the Agreement. We strongly believe that the Agreement will contribute in the further development of our cooperation in a number of fields.

Fifthly, I would like to note that Cyprus has consistently supported the further deepening of the relationship between the EU and Lebanon.

Lastly, we also discussed Cyprus’ efforts, including through the initiative for a dedicated one-way maritime corridor, as one more way of providing additional aid to civilians that desperately need it in Gaza. I informed the Minister about the latest developments.

I would like to thank you once again, dear Abdallah, for the frank exchange. I look forward to welcoming you in Nicosia.

Thank you.

Famagusta Gazette