Meeting of the Minister of Foreign Affairs Kasoulides with his British counterpart – June 17, 2013
The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Ioannis Kasoulides, attended a working lunch, on Monday, June 17, in London, with his British counterpart, Mr William Hague. Mr Kasoulides was accompanied by the High Commissioner of Cyprus in Britain, Ambassador Alexandros Zenon and other officials. During the lunch, that was conducted in a friendly atmosphere, the main issues of discussion were the bilateral relations between the two countries, the Cyprus problem, the financial situation in Cyprus and energy issues. The two Ministers also reviewed the recent developments in Turkey and exchanged views on the situation in the Middle East, with particular emphasis on the Syrian crisis.
After the meeting, the Minister of Foreign Affairs made the following statement: “We had the opportunity to talk about all issues concerning the United Kingdom and Cyprus. With regard to the Cyprus problem we fully explained our known positions concerning the resumption of the Cyprus negotiations in October. We also discussed bilateral issues, which we have decided to continue to follow in the framework of a dialogue. Although sometimes we may have issues on which we have different approaches, it is good to have them remain within the framework of discussion and dialogue, take the ones on which we thought we disagreed but actually do agree on and leave the rest to continue discussing them.
We have also discussed international issues, especially regarding the neighborhood of Cyprus, which concern us because we are an EU country bordering with the region of the eastern Mediterranean – Syria, Israel, Lebanon and the Middle East. We have highlighted, in agreement with the British Foreign Minister, the importance of hydrocarbons reserves in the region as a future bridge of friendship and mutual understanding between all the states in the Eastern Mediterranean, including Cyprus and Turkey. I must say that it was a heartfelt meeting. It had results because on all issues, one gave explanations to the other and I believe it is a good start.
Responding to questions regarding the resumption of the negotiations of the Cyprus problem and Famagusta, Mr Kasoulides said that Britain understands the reasons for which negotiations will begin in October, noting that the British government expressed, through Mr Hague, its willingness to help in areas where it can. “We elaborated on the importance which we attribute to measures such as the return of Famagusta which will serve as a catalyst that will allow us to address the remaining aspects of the Cyprus problem with confidence and trust vis-a-vis Turkey’s intentions. We will see how this issue evolves. I think that as long as there is an understanding of the positions of both sides there will be no complications”, he added. Mr Kasoulides also expressed the view that Britain can help constructively in the efforts to solve the Cyprus problem “as long as there is a spirit of mutual understanding in advance and of constant communication during the effort.