Cyprus Mail

President Anastasiades to pay official visit to Ireland

Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party blocked the restoration of a power-sharing administration on Friday when newly elected members for the Assembly met in Stormont for the first time.

Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades will pay a two-day official visit to Ireland, during which he will meet with Prime Minister Enda Kenny and President Michael Higgins, with whom he will discuss, apart from the Cyprus problem, bilateral and international concerns.

Speaking to CNA about the visit, the Ambassador of Ireland Nicholas Twist said that one hot issue which is expected to dominate the agenda of the talks is Brexit and its fallout on Europe and the two countries.

Migration, bilateral ties, economic austerity as well as the Cyprus issue are also included on the agenda of the talks President Anastasiades will have in Dublin.

“We have concerns about the ramifications of Brexit,” Twist told CNA.

Referring to the issues on the agenda of the discussions, he expressed the view that there is scope for further collaboration in the fields of services.

Referring to the Cyprus question, the Ambassador said that PM Kenny “is very interested to be briefed and get an insight into the current effort for a solution”, adding that Kenny is expected to “express the good will” to help as an EU member state.

Replying to questions, he said “every issue is unique, you cannot transpose one situation to another,” noting that “mutual respect is necessary”.

This is not a zero sum game, he pointed out, commenting on the peace process that led to the Good Friday Agreement on Northern Ireland in 1998 and the current effort for a political settlement in Cyprus to reunite the country, divided since the 1974 Turkish invasion.

“If there is an agreement in Cyprus, not everything will change from day 1. We still have issues to sort out, years after the Good Friday Agreement,” he remarked.

He acknowledged that “there are a lot of positive indications and reasons to be cautiously optimistic” regarding the prospects of a solution.

In his statements to CNA, Ambassador Twist said he was pleased with the upcoming visit, noting that Ireland and Cyprus “two small islands at opposite ends of the EU” have “very good working relations and a lot of positive history between us.”

He recalled that when Cyprus joined the EU, this happened under the Irish EU Presidency and that Irish soldiers serve in the UN peace-keeping force in Cyprus for years.

According to the preliminary programme of the visit, President Anastasiades arrives in Dublin on Monday and his official meetings begin on Tuesday morning with a formal welcome ceremony at the residence of President Higgins. Later on Anastasiades will lay a wreath at a memorial honouring those who fought and were killed for Ireland`s freedom. He will then go to the Parliament and in the evening he will attend a state banquet in his honour.

On Wednesday, he is due to address the Institute of International and European Affairs (IIEA), meet the Lord Mayor of Dublin and have talks with Enda Kenny.

President Anastasiades will be in Brussels on Thursday for the European Council summit.


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