Cyprus President Nikos Christodoulides, announced the upcoming visit of European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen to Cyprus on May 1, marking the 20th anniversary of the country’s accession to the European Union. Speaking on Saturday at a Democratic Alignment (DEPA) party event, President Christodoulides highlighted the significance of von der Leyen’s presence, emphasising that the visit also sends messages regarding the Cyprus problem.

Replying to journalist’s questions regarding any change in Turkey’s stance regarding a Cyprus settement, President Christodoulides said that there have been no significant developments to report at present.

“Our efforts continue unabated, with one single goal: to resume negotiations from where they were left off,” he said. He also noted ongoing efforts with the EU, which as he said played a significant role, as well as with certain EU member states such as Germany.

Moreover, President Christodoulides mentioned that von der Leyen informed him on Saturday of her planned visit to Cyprus on May 1 for the celebrations marking the 20 years since the Republic of Cyprus joined the EU.

“I believe her presence here sends an important message both for Cyprus and for our ongoing efforts with one single goal,” he noted.

Asked about reports suggesting Turkey’s support for sovereign equality rather than a two-state solution and whether there was a difference between the two, President Christodoulides said that there were no such messages.

Regarding the visit of Dutch Prime Minister, Mark Rutte, in Turkey, and asked  if there were any messages, President Christodoulides noted the ongoing communication and said he would get an update on discussions. When asked if Rutte conveyed any message during his trip, he responded, “certainly, that’s why we are in continuous contact with the Dutch Prime Minister.”

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. UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres appointed María Ángela Holguín Cuéllar of Colombia as his personal envoy for Cyprus, to assume a Good Offices role on his behalf and search for common ground on the way forward in the Cyprus issue. 

 “Needs in Gaza constantly increasing”


Shifting focus to the restart of the “Amalthea” initiative, aimed at delivering humanitarian aid to Gaza, President Christodoulides noted the resumption of efforts following recent events.

“The needs are constantly increasing, and in collaboration with the countries involved in this initiative, such as the UAE, the USA, and the EU, the mission has been resumed,” he said.

He concluded by expressing optimism for the completion of operations within the next week, in order to further bolster humanitarian aid efforts.

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