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Sweden and Finland open embassies in Nicosia
2004-11-29 10:16:36

Nicosia, Nov 26 (CNA) -- Sweden and Finland inaugurated today their embassies in Nicosia.

State Secretaries of the Swedish and Finnish Foreign Ministries, Hans Dahlgren and Arto Mansala, underlined the excellent bilateral relations that exist between Cyprus and their countries and reassured that their diplomatic missions will have a close cooperation with the Cyprus government, especially within the framework the European Union institutions.

On his part Permanent Secretary of the Cyprus Foreign Ministry Sotos Zackheos reassured that the Foreign Ministry and the Cyprus government are in the disposal of the two embassies and he wished them every success.

In his short speech at a special ceremony State Secretary of the Swedish Foreign Ministry Hans Dahlgren said that his country was a warm supporter of Cyprus' accession to the EU and expressed his disappointment that Cyprus did not enter the Union as a united country.

Referring to the Cyprus issue, he said ''we still hope for developments''.

He referred to the two countries' bilateral relations in the areas of tourism and the European Union and noted the presence of Swedish peacekeepers within the framework of the UN Peacekeeping Force to Cyprus (UNFICYP).

Finnish Secretary of State of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Arto Mansala referred to the recent visit of Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos to Helsinki.

''This year we turned a page in our relations. The recent visit of Cyprus President to Helsinki was mostly welcomed'', he said.

He noted that by opening the embassy, a new era will begin that will be characterised by the cooperation of the two countries in the EU institutions, as well as the enhancement of the trade and cultural relations.

Mansala referred to Finnish tourists who visit Cyprus, to Finnish peacekeepers in UNFICYP, as well as to the beginning of the Cyprus - Finland relations that started at the time of first President of the Republic, Archbishop Makarios.

The State Secretaries of all three countries cut the ribbons, inaugurating the embassies.

The embassies' premises are separate but they will share common rooms such as the reception, the library, conference facilities as well as administrative support services.

The concept of joint embassies is an expression of Nordic cooperation, which has already been applied in some other services, a press release by the two embassies says.

Nicosia-based Sweden's Ambassador is Ingemar Lindhahl and Finland's Risto Piipponen.

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