EU Foreign Affairs and Security Policy High Representative Federica Mogherini said on Friday that the best guarantee for the security of any country in the world is a well-functioning state, and particularly for any member of the EU is being a member of the EU itself.
Mogherini who was responding to a question after deliberations with Foreign Minister Iaonnis Kasoulides in Nicosia, about the EU`s position as regards the issue of security and guarantees in Cyprus, pointed out that it is still for the parties to discuss these issues, adding that it is extremely important that the negotiations see the leaders taking decisions and finding solutions that can benefit the entire island.
“Obviously, the best guarantee for security of any country in the world is a well-functioning state, and particularly for any member of the EU is being a member of the EU itself. As you understand well, we are entering the last crucial phase of the negotiations”, she stressed.
Mogherini, who was accompanied by the EU Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management, Christos Stylianides, expressed the EU`s full support to the ongoing effots to solve the problem of Cyprus, stressing that “our role as the EU is to accompany the leaders and their determination in a way that can be beneficial for all Cypriots to live in a united European Cyprus.”
Kasoulides and Mogherini presided over official talks of delegations of Cyprus and the European Commission. Kasoulides had the opportunity to brief in detail Mogherini on the negotiations process for the solution of the Cyprus problem. The two officials also discussed developments in the region, including in Turkey and Syria. Of particular focus were also the relations of the European Union with Egypt. On Egypt, the discussion focused on how to enlarge the full potential of the relations between the European Union and the country.
In his statements, Kasoulides said that Mogherini`s meeting with the President of the Republic, Nicos Anastasiades, was very constructive, adding that the President informed the High Representative on “where we are at the negotiations on the Cyprus problem and there was an exchange of views on how to better calibrate the role of the European Union on certain outstanding issues”.
The EU High Representative said that a lot have changed since her last visit to Cyprus few months ago, commenting on the progress achieved in the last months in the negotiations for the Cyprus problem.
“We are here not only to exchange information and be briefed, and we are thankful to Ioannis (Kasoulides) and the President for the insights in the negotiations and also to Espen Barth Eide, and the UN for their facilitating role”, she said, adding that today’s visit has been an occasion to discuss the EU`s support, and “our personal support, how the European Union can accompany to an even more effective way this process at this crucial phase. This is a process that is led with the strong ownership of courageous leaders, who are showing determination and vision and a lot of attention to the future of the people of Cyprus,” she added.
“Our role as the EU is to accompany the leaders and their determination in a way that can be beneficial for all Cypriots to live in a united European Cyprus. So we discussed ways, in which the EU can better accompany these steps and personally, we (Mogherini and Stylianides) stand fully behind the efforts, the talks under the UN auspices, and we share the leaders’ assessment that it will be feasible to overcome the remaining challenges that exist. We are very much encouraged by their determination to continue and intensify the talks in the beginning of November in Switzerland, overcome these challenges and reach an agreement on a comprehensive settlement even by the end of this year”, she stressed.
Mogherini expressed the EU and her personal support to the process “with all our determination and the tools and instruments the EU can put at the disposal of the Cypriots”.
She stressed “this will be not only a turning point, a historic page for the island, this will be an extremely important step for the entire region. This is a particularly difficult region that needs help and trust in diplomacy and political solutions as no other region in the world needs,” she said, adding that diplomacy and determination and investment in political solutions can lead to positive news for the people.
“This can be a game-changer not only for all Cypriots and the island, but also the EU, and obviously for the entire South-East Mediterranean and the entire Middle East. Somehow, it is a regional but even global responsibility to try and do this last mile in the most positive way”, she noted.
To a question on the efforts to counter-terrorism, and invited to say what tangible measures are being taken by the EU to prevent terrorism actions from happening, Mogherini said that the territories in Iraq and Syria need to be first and foremost liberated from the presence of Daesh. This is of security interest for the EU and its citizens, she added.
Mogherini noted that there have been measures introduced to strengthen the control of the movement of people in our external borders, in particular in the control of identity and in general terms. In the last months we have increased the work we do on two issues that are fundamental, one is the issue of financing of Daesh and terrorist activities in general and the second one is the control of terrorist fighters not only on the way back to the EU, but also on the way to Syria and Iraq, she added.
She also referred to internal threats, “because the most of the attacks the EU has experienced in the last year are actually coming within”, adding that the work is being intensified on all fronts and that aim is to make sure that people will return in their countries as soon as possible in the most secure way. “This is itself part of the stabilization and the prevention of the spread of terrorism activities, investing in people’s lives and well-being,” she noted.
On his part, Kasoulides expressed his appreciation to Mogherini for her personal interest in the Cyprus problem and her commitment to support this process. “Your support to this process, as the President highlighted before, is indeed essential and needed”, he underlined.
He also noted that Cyprus “considers the strategic importance of the stability of our region and beyond is paramount, and for this we value very much the role of Egypt”.
Cyprus has been divided since the 1974 Turkish invasion of the island. UN-backed talks are underway with the aim to reunite the island under a federal roof.
President Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci have decided to travel to Mont Pelerin, Switzerland, to hold talks on November 7-11 mainly on the territory aspect of the Cyprus problem.