Stein­meier: “We need to con­tinue fight­ing ISIS in Syria”

Financial Mirror (Cyprus) - - FRONT PAGE -

For­eign Min­is­ter Ioan­nis Ka­soulides and his Ger­man coun­ter­part, Dr Frank-Wal­ter Stein­meier, on a work­ing visit to the is­land, said that both coun­tries have al­most iden­ti­cal poli­cies dur­ing their monthly For­eign Af­fairs Coun­cils (FAC) meet­ings, es­pe­cially on the sit­u­a­tion in Syria and Libya, the Mid­dle East Peace Process (MEPP) and the agree­ment reached with Iran on the nu­clear is­sue.

Stein­meier, who also joked that is it not of­ten that two for­eign min­is­ters meet for break­fast, lunch and din­ner on the same day, as they also trav­elled from Brussels on the same flight, of­fered Ger­many’s ex­pe­ri­ence and know-how on the po­lit­i­cal level, as his coun­try marks the 25th an­niver­sary of re­uni­fi­ca­tion this year.

“Our process of re­uni­fi­ca­tion also was not easy. We are happy to re­fer and share our ex­pe­ri­ences, if you so wish, and if it is needed,” he stressed.

Ka­soulides said that the Ger­man Min­is­ter, who was also re­ceived ear­lier in the day by Pres­i­dent Ni­cos Anas­tasi­ades, dis­cussed re­gional se­cu­rity, mi­gra­tion and en­ergy is­sues.

Stein­meier’s in­ter­est on the Cyprus prob­lem is very strong, the Min­is­ter said, stress­ing that “we are look­ing for­ward to the help that we can get from our EU part­ners for ar­riv­ing to this goal, as soon as pos­si­ble,” as he also briefed his Ger­man coun­ter­part on the progress made in the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the Eco­nomic Ad­just­ment Pro­gramme im­ple­men­ta­tion and the ex­pected exit from the pro­gramme in 2016.

Views were also ex­changed on Tur­key, as well as on the is­sue of mi­gra­tion, on which Ka­soulides com­mented that “we have to see be­tween two mar­gins: one is the com­pas­sion­ate and hu­man­i­tar­ian na­ture of the EU and their so­ci­eties, but on the other hand, is the need to guard our bor­ders and not to al­low peo­ple to abuse our com­pas­sion­ate na­ture.”

As re­gards to the sit­u­a­tion in Ukraine, the Cypriot Min­is­ter said that “we have al­ways sup­ported and we still sup­port Ger­many and France in their ef­forts to com­plete with a sat­is­fac­tory con­clu­sion the Minsk process agreed in the Nor­mandy for­mat”, adding that Cyprus’ po­si­tion in the FAC re­gard­ing the is­sue of the sanc­tions, “will de­pend on what will be the rec­om­men­da­tion com­ing from Ger­many and France”.

On his part, Stein­meier noted that the main is­sues of dis­cus­sion th­ese two con­sec­u­tive days were, on the one hand, the Cyprus prob­lem, upon which Ger­many shows a great deal of in­ter­est in the ef­forts to­wards solv­ing the decade-long con­flict, and on the other hand, the tragic events in Paris.

“We need to en­hance and, even more, closely co­op­er­ate be­tween the se­cu­rity au­thor­i­ties in or­der to re­duce the risk of such at­tacks from hap­pen­ing in the fu­ture.”

He added that “it is also clear that we need to con­tinue fight­ing ISIS in Syria, but on the other it is very im­por­tant a process of talks has been ini­ti­ated in the past months in Vi­enna to­wards the dif­fu­sion of cri­sis in Syria, which,” as he said, “is a hope­ful de­vel­op­ment to­wards the end­ing of the con­flict that is been rav­aging Syria.”

Re­fer­ring to bi­lat­eral re­la­tions, Stein­meier said that “there are plenty of op­por­tu­ni­ties in the field of tourism, but also in the field of en­ergy, not as con­ven­tional forms of en­ergy, but also the is­sue of re­new­able en­er­gies.” Mean­while, Bri­tish For­eign Sec­re­tary Phillip Ham­mond will visit Cyprus on Thurs­day for “high-level meet­ings to dis­cuss the set­tle­ment and bi­lat­eral is­sues”.

Ham­mond will be re­ceived by Pres­i­dent Ni­cos Anas­tasi­ades and will have a meet­ing with For­eign Min­is­ter Ioan­nis Ka­soulides.

He will also meet with UNSG Spe­cial En­voy Espen Barth Eide and Turk­ish Cypriot leader Mustafa Ak­inci as well, af­ter which the Bri­tish For­eign Sec­re­tary will visit the Com­mit­tee on Miss­ing Per­sons.

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