Cyprus’ relations with Israel and trilateral synergies that have developed constitute a shield of security and stability, President of Cyprus Nicos Anastasiades stressed on Friday, addressing the American Jewish Committee Award Presentation, in New York.
He pointed out that energy is one of the founding pillars of the trilateral synergies which are of inclusive nature and that energy cooperation can serve as a perfect incentive for the resolution of the Cyprus problem.
On Friday the American Jewish Committee (AJC) bestowed upon President Anastasiades the “Light Unto The Nations” Award, attributed to personalities who have been tested and proved themselves as regards their sincere and genuine friendship towards the State of Israel.
Anastasiades said that the award is a testament to the joint belief to advancing closer Cypriot-Israeli cooperation and strengthening regional synergies and transatlantic relations and “also proof of the shared principles that we share” such as democracy and tolerance, peace and understanding, the fight against anti-Semitism, racism and all forms of human rights violations.
The President said that the AJC, through its long-standing co-operation with the Hellenic diaspora, has been instrumental and the architect of the quadrilateral partnership developed between the US, Greece, Israel and Cyprus. “A partnership of strategic value which we aim to further widen and deepen” he noted.
He noted that “Cyprus constitutes a credible Mediterranean EU neighbor that appreciates the positive agenda of EU – Israel relations, is a fervent supporter of constructive dialogue and trust – building in the Arab – Israeli relationship, holds pragmatic and prudent positions and represents an EU member state which shares sound relations with all moderate Arab partners”.
“Our position specifically on EU – Israeli relations is crystal clear: Israel is a very important strategic partner and a stabilizing force in the Middle East region” Anastasiades pointed out, adding that “Cyprus will continue to be a consistent voice of moderation and advocate in support of the security of the State of Israel, and call for refraining from unilateral measures which could detrimentally affect EU – Israeli relations”.
He stressed that anti-Semitism is “an evil that must be eradicated to the full”, recalling that thousands of Jewish Holocaust survivors passed through Cyprus and were hosted for some time on the island following World War II.
“Our partnership is open to all that share our constructive geostrategic vision. This realization is of critical value in an area faced with ongoing turmoil, ravaged by extremism, sectarianism, civil unrest and terrorism” Anastasiades stressed.
He added that “our relationship and trilateral synergies developed constitute a shield of security and stability and entails stand-alone merit”.
The President stressed that “the trilateral cooperation launched between Cyprus, Israel and Greece, which covers an array of fields, including the vital areas of security and defence, maritime cooperation, and of course, energy, is of primary importance”.
The President noted that the trilateral cooperation is gradually evolving from political declarations to implementation and concrete action in view of the next Summit after the Nicosia Summit of last January, to be hosted in December in Jerusalem.
Energy, he said, has become one of the founding pillars of the trilateral cooperation of Cyprus and Greece with Israel, but also with Egypt and Jordan.
“This observation goes hand in hand with the fact that our mutual vision with Israel – also actively promoted by the United States – is that natural gas can become the vehicle for creating a region of unity, peace and stability, forging regional cooperation and synergies and promoting strategic interests” he noted.
“You may have noticed I have not yet referred to Turkey: So it is imperative that I clarify that these synergies are not a zero sum game. On the contrary, they are of an inclusive nature and our hope remains to expand them to the greatest possible degree. Energy cooperation can serve as a perfect motive for the resolution of the Cyprus problem 42 years on” he pointed out.
President Anastasiades reiterated that he is fully committed to working tirelessly and in good faith with the Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci, towards the peaceful reunification of the island, which has been divided since the 1974 Turkish invasion.
“Turkey’s contribution in concrete terms is vital in this respect, and we count on our partners and friends to relay to Ankara the value of a constructive approach, particularly on the critical issues that will determine the final outcome of the intense phase of negotiations that we are engaged in” he said.
The President reiterated that his aim is to reach a viable, functional and comprehensive settlement, safeguarding the fundamental freedoms, rights and interests of all Cypriots.
“A viable and functional solution to the Cyprus problem and one that would maintain Cyprus’ independent foreign policy would obviously be of strategic interest to Israel” he noted.
“The necessity for regional cooperation as depicted above in our bilateral, trilateral and quadrilateral backbone is an exercise of confidence building and one of creating trust. And this is of tremendous geostrategic value. Our synergies are beacons of hope, the voices of reason and an exemplary choice that can ease tensions, assist in resolving conflict and in providing a regional tool – kit for a widely beneficial code of conduct” said the President.