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Foreign minister meets UN secretary general

Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides said UN envoy Jane Holl Lute will present 'something more specific' this weekend

Foreign minister Nicos Christodoulides on Thursday briefed UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres on the Cyprus issue and Turkey’s actions in the Republic’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

“Constructive and forward-looking discussion with UN Secretary General,” Christodoulides later tweeted.

He said he has told Guterres that President Nicos Anastasiades is willing to resume reunification talks.

The meeting with the UN chief was held in Rome on the sidelines of the Extraordinary Ministerial Conference in support of UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency).

While in the Italian capital, Christodoulides was scheduled to also meet with the foreign ministers of Italy, Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan and Malta.

On Thursday the foreign minister saw Lapo Pistelli, the Executive Vice President of the Italian oil major ENI, which has several gas exploration concessions in Cyprus’ EEZ.

“Frank and results-oriented exchange of views of [email protected] with ENI’s Executive Vice President @lapopistelli in Rome today #Cyprus #energy,” he tweeted.

During the meeting, the company reaffirmed its commitment to honour all its contractual obligations with Cyprus, a foreign ministry statement said later.

ENI is contractually bound to drill at least two more exploratory gas wells in its offshore concessions.

The two parties – ENI and the government – evaluated their relations in light of the Turkish provocations offshore Cyprus, the statement added.

Last month Turkish warships, claiming to be participating in exercises off Cyprus, prevented a drillship leased by ENI from reaching its target at a drilling site. The drillship eventually withdrew.

On his Twitter feed, Christodoulides announced his upcoming visit to Amman, Jordan, where he would be holding talks on ‘a rich agenda of issues including regional stability, bilateral and trilateral cooperation, and the Cyprus problem’.

The Extraordinary Ministerial Meeting in support of UNRWA is an initiative by Egypt, Jordan and Sweden; it was organised to address the dire economic situation the agency finds itself in.

In his address, Christodoulides said discontinuing UNRWA’s operations due to a lack of financial resources would be disastrous for the refugees, resulting in even more pressure being exerted on host countries such as Lebanon and Jordan.

“The viability and operation of this important UN agency cannot be left to chance. It is incumbent upon us to ensure that it has both the means and the tools necessary to continue performing its mission,” the foreign minister stated.

He said that in response to the urgent request of the Commissioner-General of the Agency, Cyprus has decided to significantly increase its annual contribution for the year 2018.

In Rome, Christodoulides also attended the Ministerial Meeting in Support of the Lebanese Security Forces.

During 2015-2017, the Republic of Cyprus donated military aid to the Lebanese Security Forces, worth approximately €40 million.

Christodoulides returns to Cyprus on Friday.


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