Ukraine, enhanced bilateral relations, the Cyprus problem and developments on the migrant crisis were the main topics discussed between President Nicos Anastasiades and his Slovenian counterpart Borut Pahor during the first day of his official visit to the island.
Speaking outside the Presidential Palace in Nicosia, Anastasiades said that the visit takes place during a tragic time, due to the war in Ukraine, which has global consequences.
“Cyprus and its people being in fact the very first victims following the end of World War ΙΙ of the devastating effects of a foreign invasion on European soil and still suffering these past 48 years from the ongoing Turkish military occupation and the violation of international law, fully shares the need to display tangible solidarity and support to the Ukrainian people,” Anastasiades said.
The president also extended his solidarity to Slovenia on the rocket attack that destroyed the country’s consulate building in Kharkiv.
“As Europeans, President Pahor, we should remain united in condemning the Russian invasion, in assuming a more active role so as dialogue and diplomatic means prevail and in immediately securing a ceasefire to end the tragic loss of innocent lives, including of children.”
Pahor echoed Anastasiades’ words, confirming that Slovenia also condemns the Russian invasion in Ukraine.
“Slovenia is offering humanitarian and military aid to Ukraine, as it is important to achieve a ceasefire in order to negotiate a peaceful solution,” he said.
“Unfortunately, in 2014 we did not take strong measures against Russia after the invasion of Crimea.
“We have now learnt the lesson and issued strong sanctions against Russia, in the hope that they will give our Ukrainian friends the opportunity to see this war ended,” Pahor said.
Finally, he expressed Slovenia’s solidarity regarding the Cyprus problem and condemned Turkey’s unilateral actions violating international law.
Anastasiades said Turkey’s actions “constitute another violation of international law and pose a threat for the broader stability, peace and security not only in the already turbulent Eastern Mediterranean, but also of Europe at a period of unsettling events.”
The two leaders also exchanged views on the role that small EU member states can play in the future of Europe, as well as on climate and migration issues, the latter of which Anastasiades called “a serious challenge, particularly for Southern European countries, which are at the forefront of migratory external pressures.”
Pahor earlier laid a wreath at the statue of the first President of the Republic of Cyprus, Archbishop Makarios III.
In the afternoon the Slovenian head of state met President of the House of Representatives Annita Demetriou.
A statement released by the House said that during the meet Pahor reiterated his country’s commitment to the principles of international law, expressing the hope that Cyprus peace talks would resume as soon as possible.
Pahor and Demetriou also exchanged views on a number of topics of mutual interest – corruption, the role of social media in relation to free speech and ‘hate speech’, and the active participation of young people in politics.
The Slovenian leader also visited Limassol where he met the mayor and the Rector of the Cyprus University of Technology, and he participated in a discussion with students on the future of Europe.
In the evening Anastasiades was to host an official banquet for his Slovenian counterpart at the Presidential Palace.