President Nicos Anastasiades on Thursday said the visit by Jordan’s King Abdullah II marked another “crucial milestone” in bilateral relations and created a strong momentum for further deepening cooperation.
Speaking at a working lunch with the Cypriot and Jordanian delegations at the presidential palace in Nicosia, Anastasiades said: “Over the last few years, Cyprus and Jordan have been writing a new chapter in the history of relations. Our relations extend now beyond the geographical proximity that we share: they are founded on the friendship of our peoples, as well as our close personal friendship, our historical ties and our common objectives for the present and the future.”
He said he had no doubt that the recent opening of the Jordanian embassy in Cyprus would contribute positively towards this goal.
Anastasiades spoke of shared objectives of promoting peace, stability and security in a turbulent region.
“Our partnership in this respect has far more than declaratory value: it is of critical importance in a region facing a multifaceted turmoil,” he said “We are both concerned about the rise of extremism, civil war and terrorism. For this reason, as moderate and like-minded countries, we choose to stand together as focal points of stability in the region.”
King Abdullah II arrived in Nicosia just before 1pm for a meeting at the presidential palace, followed by the working lunch. The king was welcomed by Anastasiades in a red carpet ceremony and official reception.
As part of the ceremony, Abdullah laid a wreath at the statue of Archbishop Makarios III on the palace grounds. Following the tete-a-tete with Anastasiades the working lunch was held with members of the delegations of the two countries.
The Cyprus delegation comprised the ministers of energy and defence, the government spokesman and other officials. The king was accompanied by his prime minister, the minister of foreign affairs and other Jordanian officials.
Anastasiades said King Abdullah shared personal family links with Cyprus in that his great-grandfather Sharif Hussein, the Emir of Mecca and King of the Hejaz, resided in Cyprus between 1926-1931 following his exile by the British and his great-grandmother, the wife of Sharif Hussein, was buried at the Hala Sutan Tekke in Larnaca.
He said Cyprus, “as a partner and friend” would continue to support Jordan, politically, diplomatically and otherwise and was actively committed to bringing closer the EU and the Middle East, a cooperation that would be of “tremendous strategic value”.
“Promoting peace in our region is a ceaseless task. Cypriots know it very well,” he said.
Anastasiades also praised Jordan for its efforts for a lasting solution to the Palestinian conflict, supporting the establishment of a viable, independent Palestinian state, living in peace alongside Israel, as a step towards regional peace and stability.
On his part Abdullah said he was happy to be in Cyprus “to be among friends and colleagues, to visit your beautiful country”.
Both Anastasiades’ and Cyprus’ support was greatly appreciated, he added. “We are very encouraged with obviously the increase of economic cooperation between our two countries,” the king added, pointing out that the new embassy in Nicosia was a testament to relations. He also spoke of expanding relations in areas such as tourism and “regional projects”.
“What binds our two countries together at this stage is the challenges of the region, the turmoil which brings us shoulder to shoulder in a way that I think will strengthen Jordan and Cyprus for generations to come,” Abdullah said.
On the Cyprus problem, he said, Jordan had “a strong position historically”. “And you will always get a strong position from us.”