Former foreign minister, Ioannis Kasoulides, will receive on Friday one of the highest honours that France has to offer – the Legion of Honour.
The French foreign minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian, will present the award to Kasoulides at the French ambassador’s residence in Nicosia as part of a working visit to Cyprus.
Kasoulides, who served as foreign minister from 1997 until 2003 and again from 2013 to 2018, will be receive the rank of ‘officier’, one of five classes of the award.
He will be among approximately 17,000 individuals who have been awarded this class.
A spokesperson at the French embassy in Cyprus said that Kasoulides was receiving this honour “for the way he has contributed to promote the bilateral relationship between France and Cyprus and to reinforce the links between our two countries, in particular when he was Minister of Foreign Affairs. Mr Kasoulides is a friend of France.”
The legion of honour is the highest French decoration and one of the most famous in the world. For two centuries, it has been presented on behalf of the head of state to reward the most deserving citizens in all fields of activity.
The legion of honour increasingly recognises ‘the life achievements of persons of modest origins’, according to the legion’s official website.
Kasoulides studied medicine at the university of Lyon, and founded and served as the chairman of the federation of Cypriot student unions in France. In June 2004, Ioannis Kasoulides was elected to be a member of the European parliament. He sat on the foreign affairs committee and was a substitute on the transport and tourism committee.
He held various European parliament committee positions, including the presidency of the ad hoc delegation for the human rights in Western Sahara and sat as a member of the bureau of the European’s People Party until November 2007, when he stood as candidate for the presidency of Cyprus. He is also fluent in French.