President of France Emmanuel Macron has expressed his country’s support to Cyprus’ efforts to reach a lasting solution to the Cyprus problem.

Macron, who welcomed Wednesday to Paris President of the Republic Nikos Christodoulides, said that Cyprus has the undivided support of France as regards the Cyprus issue.

Addressing the Cypriot President, he said that he is aware of his commitment to reach a sustainable solution adding “you can count on France’s undivided support on this issue both on a diplomatic and military level, as always in the past when we had threats of escalation in the Eastern Mediterranean in a military context”.

President Christodoulides said that France is the only EU state that is also a permanent member of the UN Security Council and stressed that Nicosia looks forward to France’s strong support to break the deadlock and resume the Cyprus talks from where they were left, reiterating that the EU should play a more leading role.

They both referred to the excellent bilateral relations saying that they can be further strengthened.

Macron said that they can enhance their cooperation in the fields of education and finance and expressed satisfaction with the excellent cooperation in the defence sector. He expressed the belief that both countries will succeed in establishing these excellent ties and continue in the future.

President Christodoulides noted that this is his first visit to an EU member state after Greece, and pointed out that this in itself is proof of the excellent relations between the two countries, but also of the strategic importance of their bilateral relations.

He spoke about the excellent cooperation, both bilaterally and multilaterally, including the common European family.

“We will see how we can further strengthen our bilateral cooperation, especially in areas such as energy, defence and security,” he added.

He said that France and Cyprus strongly support the further integration and strategic autonomy of the EU at all levels adding that the strengthening of relations between Cyprus and France on these issues serves the EU’s goals as well.

The Cypriot President said that they would also discuss “how we can break the deadlock in the Cyprus issue and we think that the EU should play a more leading role” adding that the EU has those tools, the incentives, to lead us to a win win situation.

“We are particularly investing in you, Mr. President, and in France, which is the only EU member state that is also a Permanent Member of the United Nations Security Council, with particular sensitivities in the Eastern Mediterranean, and we look forward to your strong support so that we can break the deadlock and resume the talks from where they were left,” he noted

Regarding Ukraine, he said that the EU, France, Cyprus “are on the right side of history” noting that they strongly support the sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence of Ukraine.

In addition, he said they would discuss developments in the Eastern Mediterranean and the wider Middle East, where they have identical views and approaches.

On the Immigration issue, President Christodoulides stressed that the Republic of Cyprus continues to be the EU member state with the largest number of immigrants in proportion to its population and pointed out that a European solution is needed for a European problem so as to have a fair balance between responsibility and practical solidarity.

Referring to the second Summit of the European Political Community, which will be held in Moldova on June 1, President Christodoulides said he will attend and congratulated President Macron for this initiative that aims to address the many challenges of the European continent.

Speaking through an interpreter, President Macron said that the two countries share the same commitment as Europe for the support to Ukraine, while referring to Immigration, he said that they will continue to negotiate for common solutions in Brussels noting that he is fully aware of what this issue means for Cyprus. He noted that recently the common mechanism of solidarity had been activated and pledged that they will continue to work in the spirit of solidarity.

Later on, the two Presidents and the members of their delegations had a working lunch followed by a tete a tete meeting between President Christodoulides and President Macron.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. Repeated rounds of UN-led peace talks have so far failed to yield results. The latest round of negotiations, in July 2017 at the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana ended inconclusively.

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