Cyprus makes every effort to contribute to peace and security in the Middle East region with the strengthening of the country`s relations both with Israel and the Arab states, said President Nicos Anastasiades, during his visit in the Jerusalem Patriarchate and his meeting with Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos III today Sunday.
The Patriarch who welcomed the President and his spouse Andri, said that the President`s presence in the Patriarchate demonstrated their common historical and cultural heritage and their Greek Orthodox Christian faith and tradition
He added that the Patriarchate tirelessly continued its mission for the preservation of the existing multinational, multi-religious and inter-communal political status quo of the Holy City of Jerusalem
He also pointed out that “the historic course of the island of Cyprus, which is experiencing hardship, is interwoven with the course of the Middle East in general and the Holy Land in particular ”
He added that the visit of President Anastasiades in Israel took place at a time when neighboring countries suffer from displacement of people from their ancestral homes, persecution of Christians and inhuman mutual slaughtering and fratricide. Patriarch Theophilos III assured that the Patriarchate was working for the peaceful coexistence of the people in the region and wished all the best to the people of Cyprus.
On his part President Anastasiades assured that he did every effort to maintain excellent relations between both Cyprus and Israel and between Cyprus and the Palestinians and other Arab states
He expressed concern for the current situation in the region and especially the action of extremists in Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Libya.
“We live, in general, in a region which, unfortunately, is tormented by instability and the efforts we are making for the further strengthening of relations with the state of Israel and the Arab states are, to the degree we can also contribute, so that peace and security prevail “he said.
He added that the city of Jerusalem, where tradition desires peaceful coexistence, is perhaps the example for a way of broader governance of countries, so that there will be mutual respect both with regard to the faith and the rights. He also wished in his next visit to Jerusalem to be able to talk about a region of peace and prosperity for all.
Referring to the Cyprus Problem the President said that there`s now a prospect, a hope and cautious optimism, that the resumption of dialogue would finally lead to the desired peace, reunification of the country and the liberation from the occupation forces, as well as the creation of a modern EU member-state that will guarantee the rights of all Cypriots without exception, Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots.
The Patriarch honored president Anastasiades by awarding him the Highest Decoration of the Holy Grave, and they exchanged presents.
Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades arrived Sunday morning in Israel for an official visit.
The President will be welcomed on Monday by the President of Israel Reuven Rivlin and later he will have talks with the Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
The Ministers of Foreign Affairs Ioannis Kasoulides and Energy Yiorgos Lakkotrypis as well as the Government Spokesman Nicos Christodoulides who will accompany the President during his talks tomorrow, are expected to arrive in Israel later this afternoon.