President Nicos Anastasiades’ forthcoming visit to Israel, with the participation of members of his Cabinet, aims at further upgrading the already excellent relations of Cyprus with this friendly neighbouring country, Government Spokesman, Kyriacos Koushos has told the Cyprus News Agency (CNA) noting that Turkey’s destabilizing activities in the region will be discussed during the visit.
He noted that the delegations of the two countries’ governments will also discuss foreign policy issues as well as defence policy issues, energy issues and matters related to tourism. Anastasiades’ visit to Israel is scheduled to take place on June 23.
Koushos noted that President Anastasiades will have the opportunity to have his first contact with the new government of Israel which assumed its duties recently. “Our excellent relations with Israel at all levels are well known. Therefore, it was decided for the President to visit Israel, accompanied by the Foreign Minister, the Minister of Defence, the Energy Minister and the Deputy Minister for Tourism to discuss issues related to each Ministry,” he added.
Moreover, Koushos said that “we want to reaffirm our excellent relations and our cooperation with the neighbouring country, which has been expressing its support to issues that concern the Republic of Cyprus. At the same time the two sides will discuss issues related to the Eastern Mediterranean, focusing on the destabilizing activities of Turkey in the region, which include the questioning of the Republic of Cyprus and Greece’s sovereign rights, Turkey’s intervention in Syria and its involvement in Libya and more generally the policy which Turkey follows in the Eastern Mediterranean,” he added.
Asked if a tripartite summit among Cyprus, Greece and Israel will take place, Koushos said that such a meeting will take place later on. He noted that it will be arranged after the visits which Anastasiades and the Prime Minister of Greece, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, will pay to Israel this month.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded and occupied its northern third. Turkey has ignored numerous UN resolutions calling for the withdrawal of the Turkish troops and respect of the integrity and sovereignty of the Republic of Cyprus.
Turkish drill ship “Yavuz” arrived last April in the exclusive economic zone (ΕΕΖ) of Cyprus, after Ankara announced another attempt to drill a well in blocks licensed to European companies. This is the 6th time Turkey attempts to drill within the EEZ and continental shelf of the Republic of Cyprus, this time in an area that covers part of exploration blocks 6 and 7, which have been licensed to ENI and TOTAL.
In a statement on May 15, EU Foreign Ministers deplored the fact that Turkey has not yet responded to EU calls to cease such activities and reiterated their call on Ankara to show restraint, refrain from such actions, and respect the sovereignty and sovereign rights of Cyprus, in accordance with international law. EU Foreign Ministers also reaffirmed previous Council and European Council conclusions, notably those of June 2019 and October 2019 on Turkey’s continued illegal activities in the Eastern Mediterranean.