Any improvement of relations between Israel and Turkey would not be at the expense of Cyprus or any other country in the region, said the Ambassador of Israel to Cyprus, Oran Anolik, in statements to CNA, in view of the official visit by the President of Israel, Isaac Herzog, to Cyprus on Wednesday 2 March.

According to the Israeli ambassador, the visit of President Herzog to Cyprus is a demonstration of the excellent relations between Israel and Cyprus. “We are friends, we are partners, we cooperate in a variety of issues and fields and together we promote common interests for the benefit of both peoples” he said, adding that “Cypriots and Israelis are connected by strong and meaningful bonds that date back even to the day before the establishment of our states”.

“President Herzog’s own family history shows this, his grandfather made an investment in Cyprus in the 1930s in Fassouri. This is just one example of how Cypriots and Israelis have these roots that are deep, almost historic, and these excellent roots continue to bear fruits even today”, he added.

Furthermore, the Israeli diplomat noted that this is a very good opportunity to exchange views at the highest level on both bilateral and regional developments. “President Herzog and President Anastasiades are going to discuss most likely the trilateral relation together with Greece and also the mutual interest that we have in using this trilateral platform in order to advance synergies with other countries, such as the US (3+1), moderate Arab countries, like Egypt, and the Abraham accords countries, UAE or Bahrain”.

In view of the Israeli President’s visit to Turkey next week, Anolik said that the possibility of Israel and Turkey improving their relations will be discussed as well.

He stressed however that “we are being very cautious in this regard, we are having discussions with Turkey with our eyes wide open and at the same time we continue to send a very clear message to all that any improvement, if it happens, between Israel and Turkey would not be at the expense of Cyprus or any other country”, adding that “we understand the situation in the region, we understand who are our friends, who are our partners and we have no intention of doing anything which will be detrimental to our friends and the region”.

Furthermore, Anolik said that issues such as energy, climate change, emergency response and combatting wildfires will also be part of the meeting’s agenda.

Asked whether Ukraine will be also part of the exchanges, Anolik said that given that this is the number one issue on the global agenda, it is most probable that this will also be raised during discussion between the presidents. “None of us is a major player in this regard so I don’t think it will take up a large portion of the conversation, we will try to compare notes to what it is we are doing and what it is that we are learning from this development”, he added.

Finally, asked whether higher education and research could be part of the future bilateral relations’ scope, the Israeli Ambassador said that “this is not a future issue, but no doubt a current one. In the last two weeks I had the chance to visit three different universities here in Cyprus and we discussed about cooperation possibilities in education. There are already ongoing relations and many agreements between universities in Cyprus and Israel”.

“I know that there are Israeli students that come to Cyprus to study in the medical schools and Israel is very much interested in bringing in foreign students, also from Cyprus, to study in Israeli higher education facilities. This is for certain part of the agenda”, he concluded.

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