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Malta to encourage another effort for Cyprus solution
2005-02-11 11:30:01

Nicosia, Feb 11 (CNA) - Malta will ''continue to exhort and encourage both communities in Cyprus to make another effort at reconciling their differences and reach a just and functional conclusion,'' the country's new High Commissioner to Cyprus, based in Athens, Saviour John Falzon, said and assured that ''our support for your country will remain steadfast.''

Presenting his credentials to President Tassos Papadopoulos yesterday, Falzon said ''the division of the island is unfortunate and the failure to reach an agreement on reunification on the basis of a bizonal, bicommunal federal state deemed to be fair, just and acceptable to both communities, is deeply regretted.''

Receiving the credentials, President Papadopoulos assured that ''the government of Cyprus remains committed to a solution of a bizonal, bicommunal federation ensuring the smooth and effective functioning of the state,'' and noted that he very much looks forward to his visit to Malta next week.

Falzon referred to the common ideals the two countries share and noted that ''we are the only two island states in the Mediterranean, members of the European Union since May 2004.''

He added that ''in the light of our histories, our social, cultural and environmental conditions and our geographic positions in the Mediterranean Sea, we envisage to continue to cooperate together in the task of promoting and developing the political, economic and social relations among states in the region.''

''We will continue to shoulder our responsibilities and to share the tasks involved. Political developments in our region close to both our shores give us more hope for improved mutual understanding and better political and economic prospects,'' he said.

Falzon also said the Maltese government looks forward to welcoming President Papadopoulos in Malta later this month on his first official visit to the island.

''We hope that your visit will foster greater cooperation between our two countries and will induce closer economic links and higher prosperity,'' he said.

Replying, President Papadopoulos assured that ''the government of Cyprus remains committed to a solution of a bizonal, bicommunal federation ensuring the smooth and effective functioning of the state.''

''We shall continue working for a negotiated solution that addresses the legitimate concerns of the people of Cyprus as a whole, Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots alike. Our accession to the EU, in May of last year, and the fact that Turkey has now received the unique opportunity to begin accession negotiations with the Union, later this year, provide us with a hopeful framework for the normalisation of our relations with Turkey and a speedy settlement of the Cyprus problem,'' he added.

The President said ''our aim is to enable our Turkish Cypriot compatriots to enjoy to the fullest extent possible the benefits emanating from our country’s accession,'' noting that ''in fact, all legitimate Turkish Cypriot citizens are already citizens of the EU.''

Referring to Turkey, President Papadopoulos said ''Cyprus favours Turkey's European perspective'' but noted that ''the continued occupation of Cyprus by Turkey cannot be relegated into a non-issue in the relations between Turkey and the EU.''

The Cypriot President also referred to the solid bonds of friendship between the two countries and peoples, adding that ''Cyprus and Malta, as members of the EU, can work jointly in addressing common concerns of our societies and promoting common interests.''

On his trip to Malta next week, Papadopoulos said it would provide ''an excellent opportunity for the strengthening of the already excellent relations between our two countries and peoples.''

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