By Jean Christou
FOREIGN Minister Ioannis Kasoulides on Friday met the Under-Secretary for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Italy, Benedetto Della Vedova.
Kasoulides and Della Vedova had a private meeting, followed by official talks between the delegations of the two countries. Issues on the agenda included bilateral relations and possible ways to further deepening them, the Cyprus problem, energy related issues and the situation in the eastern Mediterranean.
“We agreed to explore ways to further enhance our coordination in a number of fields,” said Kasoulides after the meeting. “We specifically discussed our bilateral cooperation in the field of energy, a welcoming example of our diverse spectrum of relations and in particular, the steady progress of ENI’s exploratory activities in our Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ)”.
As members of the Med Group, they also discussed several challenges faced particularly by Mediterranean partners, such as ways to address the phenomena of illegal migration and the surge of terrorism. Ukraine was also discussed.
Della Vedova said Italy considered Cyprus as a very close European partner and said it was an acknowledgment to the island’s role as a factor of stability and security, in a region characterised by high instability.
“In this context, everybody has to be aware that we cannot afford further tensions and that we have to do whatever is possible to promote the conditions for the stabilisation of the area,” Della Vedova said.
“We are deeply convinced that the reunification of Cyprus dividends of a comprehensive and viable solution of the Cyprus issue would be extremely positive in terms of stability and prosperity, not only for Cyprus itself, but for the entire region.”
He said this model of peaceful coexistence was possible and achievable and would be beneficial for the region. “We do hope that the Republic of Cyprus and the other parties involved will make any possible effort to reach a comprehensive solution, as soon as possible.”
Regarding the issue of natural resources in the Mediterranean, Della Vedova said Italy hoped that as was in the case of Europe at the end of the Second World War, “when former enemies put together their coal and steel, thus starting the EU integration process” it would turn into a factor of growth and cooperation “and not into a factor of further conflict”.