Three new ambassadors to Cyprus were accredited on Wednesday to represent India, Cuba and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), all pledging to boost ties with the island and expressing support for a Cyprus settlement under UN auspices.
The new High Commissioner of India Dr RK Raghavan also referred to the fact that four Indian police officers were serving with the UN in Cyprus and the fact that some 7,000 Indian nationals live on the island, including 2,700 students.
“In the business-friendly environment and the high standard educational system in Cyprus, the Indian community is growing year by year to make Cyprus their second home,” he said.
“These people are primarily engaged in shipping, software, banking, tourism, etc. and are contributing significantly to the Cyprus economy.”
Raghavan said the volume of business and investment between the two countries was also growing. Cyprus is the eighth largest country for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) amounting to US$ 9.2bn.
Anastasiades, in response, referred to his visit to India last April, which he said paved the way for further deepening bilateral relations that “can and must be enhanced”.
The president also received the credentials of the new ambassador of the United Arab Emirates Sultan Ahmed Ghanem Al Suwaidi who spoke of his country’s support for a Cyprus settlement.
Anastasiades said leading Emirati companies were investing in Cyprus and Cypriot companies were providing competitive and quality services and products in the UAE. The recent approval granted by the UAE government for a direct flight route by a commercial carrier from Larnaca to Abu Dhabi and Dubai, was a positive development, “which can hopefully contribute to the increase of tourist flows, facilitate reciprocal investments and ideally bring our peoples even closer”, he said.
The new Cuban ambassador Omar Leyva Rafull spoke of historic ties that unite both peoples from the friendship between Archbishop Makarios and Fidel Castro to Cyprus and Cuba’s collaboration within the Non-Aligned Movement.
“Cuba has firmly defended and will continue to do so as a matter of principle, the right of the Cypriots to have a nation… without external interference and with full respect for their sovereignty and territorial integrity,” he said.
Anastasiades responded, saying both countries enjoyed a traditionally close cooperation in international fora, especially within the United Nations. “Furthermore, as an EU member state, Cyprus will continue working in a constructive way for strengthening the EU-Cuba relations,” he added.