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Foreign Minister pays official visit to Israel and Palestinian Authority
2005-05-16 13:49:33

Nicosia, May 16 -- The Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr George Iacovou departed last night for Tel Aviv on an official visit to Israel and the Palestinian Authority. The visit takes place as part of Cyprus’ policy to act as a bridge between Europe and the Middle East; a policy that had been reaffirmed since its accession to the European Union last May.

Speaking to reporters prior to his departure, the Foreign Minister described the visit as “very significant” not only regarding bilateral relations but also regarding the prospects of Cyprus acquiring a more active role in the Middle East.

Among the issues to be discussed will be the Cyprus problem, bilateral relations and regional issues of mutual concern.

During his talks with the Israeli Government, Mr Iacovou said he would also discuss the exclusive economic zone between Cyprus and Israel and in particular, Cyprus’ demand that the territorial waters of the zone would be defined.

Today Mr Iacovou will hold talks with his Israeli counterpart Mr Silvan Shalom. He will also have separate meetings at the Knesset with the Head of the opposition party, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Labour and the Vice Prime Minister Mr Shimon Peres. Later on he will meet the President of the State Mr Moshe Katsav.

Tomorrow he will leave for Ramallah to meet the Prime Minister of the Palestinian Authority Mr Ahmad Qurei and the Speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council Mr Rawhi Fatooh.

Mr Iacovou is expected to return to the island on Wednesday 18 May.

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