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Kasoulides and Peres discuss Middle East problem
2002-07-15 10:37:03

Jerusalem, Jul 15 (CNA) -- The Foreign Ministers of Cyprus and Israel, Ioannis Kasoulides and Shimon Peres, had a working lunch at Inbal Hotel in Jerusalem today, during which they talked about the recent developments in the region and the Middle East problem.

Speaking to the media after the lunch, the two Ministers said they are optimistic about the future and expressed their willingness to work towards a peaceful settlement in the area.|

"And I would say", the Foreign Minister of Israel said, "that Cyprus, on many occasions, offered its services successfully". He added that was not only a success for Israel and the Jews, but for the Mediterranean and the relations between Israel and Cyprus. Peres thanked Kasoulides for his interest.

Explaining his interest regarding the Middle East problem, Kasoulides said "Cyprus is part of the geography of this region but perhaps not part of its problem".

"Cyprus", he added, "has close ties with Israel and shares common values with the Israeli people and has close ties also with the other neighbouring countries".

He said this is why he believed that the Cyprus government "can contribute to efforts to bring peace and stability to our region".

Kasoulides said he was visiting Israel to exchange thoughts and views with Israeli officials and noted that "we are ready to help, if our help is needed".

Referring to the enlargement of the European Union and the accession of Cyprus to the EU, Kasoulides expressed hope that Europe will become closer to Israel and that the whole region will benefit from that development.

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