Cyprus highly appreciates the fact that Australia stood by it during difficult times and has been supportive of Cyprus’ efforts to reach a solution of the Cyprus problem, President of the Republic Demetris Christofias has said in Canberra.

According to an official press release, President Chistofias, who was speaking during an official dinner given in his honour by Australia’s Governor General Quentin Bryce, said that he considers his visit in Australia “extremely important, being the first official visit of the President of the Republic of Cyprus since 1995”, adding that it is “a visit that highlights the deep-rooted relations between our two countries and peoples”.

“Cyprus and Australia enjoy a very close and friendly relationship based on our shared values and principles and the brotherly relations between our two peoples”, he noted, adding that “we highly appreciate, in this regard, the fact that Australia stood at our side during the difficult times of our history and has been supportive to our efforts to reach a just, viable and lasting solution of the Cyprus problem and reunify our homeland”.

He also conveyed “the solidarity of the people of Cyprus to the people of Australia, who suffered the consequences of the floods in the States of Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria, the Yasi cyclone and the fires in Western Australia”.

President Christofias proceeded to express “deepest appreciation to Australia and the Australian people who provided shelter and compassion and have been hospitable to our compatriots who sought a better life, peace and harmony in this country, either as early immigrants or as refugees following the Turkish invasion in 1974”.

Today, he said, Australia is home to the second largest Cypriot community outside Cyprus. “Both our countries feel legitimately proud because the Cypriot community is a vivid and important part of the Australian society and contributes to the social and cultural richness and the economic development of their second homeland,” he added.

Concluding, he expressed the conviction that “this visit will mark the further deepening of relations between Cyprus and Australia, between Cypriot and Australian people”.

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