Ioannis Kasoulides took over on Tuesday the reins of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs stating that Cyprus’ foreign policy will remain unchanged.

Kasoulides returns to the Foreign Ministry for the third time succeeding Nikos Christodoulides who has resigned, expressing his interest for the 2023 presidential elections.

Speaking during the handover ceremony, at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, along side Christodoulides, Kasoulides assured that he will continue on the path charted by his predecessor. “You can be sure that my intention is to continue on the same course,” he said.

Referring to Christodoulides, Kasoulides said he remembers him as a young attaché when he came at the Ministry.

“He was a young restless attaché whose future was evident. I am sure that today he has a heavy heart because the Ministry and its staff is his home,” he said, adding that Christodoulides worked tirelessly reaching the post of Foreign Minister.”

Christodoulides succeeded Kasoulides in President Anastasiades’ second term in office in March 2018. Kasoulides served as Foreign Minister between March 2013 and 28 February 2018 and April 1997 to the end of February 2003.

On his part, Christodoulides said he passes the Ministry’s reins to a “very experienced politician and a good captain.”

Noting that time would be not enough to say what he wished to say for Kasoulides, Christodoulides said he is certain over Kasoulides’ success.

“I am saddened that following almost 23 years of everyday work in the Foreign Ministry, my natural habitat, 19 years as a diplomat and almost 4 years as Foreign Minister I am stepping down for the reasons I outlined on Sunday and I will not repeat,” Christodoulides said.

Christodoulides announced on Sunday that he had tendered his resignation to President Anastasiades, expressing his interest over the coming presidential elections in 2023. But he did not submit his candidacy in the ruling Democratic Rally party, DISY, selection process stating that premature election periods are counter-productive. DISY’s sole presidential candidate is the party’s President, Averof Neofytou.

Christodoulides thanked President Anastasiades expressing gratitude for the honour of serving as his associate since 2013, adding that “unfortunately time was not enough to complete the projects in the pipeline.”

“However, I will say that I am very proud for the Foreign Ministry, its people, its diplomats, the administrative personnel and all the staff from communications to crisis management, our embassies and Consulates, as well as supportive security staff, both in Cyprus and abroad,” he said.

Recalling the projects completed during his term in office, Christodoulides among others referred to the establishment of the Permanent Secretariat for the Trilateral Mechanisms, the operation of the General Secretariat for European Affairs in the Ministry, 15 yeas after Cyprus’ accession to the EU, the drafting of the strategy for European Affairs approved by the Council of Ministers, the enlarged network of regional cooperation with the inclusion of new states, the deepening of cooperation with other mechanisms, the establishment of a regional training centre in Larnaca, the operation of the First Diplomatic Academy, as well as the setting up of the units of Economic Diplomacy, Communication and Public Diplomacy and of Gender Equality.

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