President Nicos Anastasiades on Tuesday said his visit to Montenegro marks a historic chapter in bilateral relations, as it is the first ever official visit to the country by a Cypriot president.
Anastasiades was speaking to reporters after extended meetings with Montenegro president Milo Đukanović, who extended an invitation to him for a visit.
The two had a tête-à-tête meeting at the presidential residence in Cetinje, then leading their respective countries’ delegations in extended discussions, which covered bilateral relations, the developments in the Cyprus problem and ongoing Turkish provocations towards the Republic of Cyprus, the situation in Ukraine and EU-Montenegro relations.
The president said that the situation in Ukraine has showcased solidarity and unity among EU member states and candidates, saying he was “pleased to see some of the larger member states now in favour of fast-tracking the accession of countries from the West Balkans into the union”.
He also congratulated Đukanović on the progress made towards fulfilling the requirements for EU membership, saying he had no doubt Motnenegro will soon be officially part of the European family.
Anastasiades said they also touched on the Cyprus issue, thanking his Montenegrin president for maintaining positions of principle when it comes to finding a solution, despite maintaining good relations with Turkey as well.
“I am sure that the course will be similar in finding solutions to the problems facing the West Balkans, and to the issues arising as a result of Turkish intransigence and provocative attitudes,” he said.
“I believe that after this catastrophic war we are witnessing in Ukraine after Russia’s invasion, there will be an EU-wide policy review to cover more effective intervention and look at the benefit of the whole of Europe instead of that of individual member states. And that will be in everyone’s interest”.
In terms of bilateral relations, the two presidents agreed to arrange more official visits covering the economy, culture, education, trade and tourism among others, so both countries can benefit.
Anastasiades finally returned Đukanović’s invitation, saying he hoped to “offer some Mediterranean hospitality to match your own”.
“I assure you that we will continue to be the best advocates in the effort to integrate Montenegro into the European family”.
Đukanović agreed that Anastasiades’ visit was historic, remarking that it comes a few days after the anniversary of the commencement of diplomatic relations between the two countries. “it is a good opportunity to deepen our friendly relations, both on a bilateral level and on an EU level”.
The Montenegrin president also thanked Cyprus “for its assistance to Montenegro, but also to all the countries of the Western Balkans to achieve our European goals,” explaining that as a smaller member state Cyprus can share valuable experience and knowledge.
On Wednesday morning, Anastasiades will have a meeting with the Prime Minister of Montenegro Zdravko Krivokapić.
Later, he will visit the Old Town of Kotor, while he will also be given a guided tour of the Maritime Museum and the marina of the city of Tivat.
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