French President Emmanuel Macron on Wednesday said Cyprus can count of France’s support in the efforts to find a lasting solution to the Cyprus problem and in the field of defence, should the island require military assistance in the future.

Macron was talking after a meeting President Nikos Christodoulides at the Elysee Palace in Paris.

“I know how much you are committed to find a lasting solution to the Cyprus problem,” the French president told Christodoulides. “You can also count on France’s support if, as it happened in the past, there will be an escalation of threats in the Eastern Mediterranean.

In his comments after Macron, Christodoulides said that France is the only EU state that is also a permanent member of the UN Security Council, adding that Nicosia is heavily counting on France’s support in order to break the deadlock and resume the talks from where they left off.

“The EU can and must play an important role in the resumption of the talks, since it has all the necessary tools to break the deadlock,” Christodoulides said as he elaborated at length his proposal for a more active role of the EU in the Cyprus problem.

Both presidents praised the excellent bilateral relations between the countries, with Christodoulides saying that they can be strengthened even further, namely in the fields of defence, finance, education, and energy.

“I am very happy about the excellent levels of cooperation France and Cyprus have and I believe that we will manage to maintain them for a very long time in the future,” the president told Macron.

He added that, among member states, France and Cyprus are among the fiercest supporters of more EU autonomy, adding that strengthening the ties between the two countries positively serves the bloc’s goals.

The two presidents will continue to be in contact, according to a statement issued later in the day by Government Spokesman Konstantinos Letymbiotis.

“The EU possesses those specific incentives and tools that can lead to a mutually beneficial state of affairs for all parties involved, and the role of France, as a strong supporter of Cyprus, becomes more important,” the government statement said.

It added that the coordination of actions and France’s support for this major diplomatic effort “is a common understanding of the two presidents and in this direction they will continue to be in communication”.

Christodoulides also presented Macron the facts regarding the migration issue and its dimensions in our country, stressing the need to complete, adopt and implement the EU’s Action Plan for the Eastern Mediterranean as soon as possible.

In addition to the Cyprus problem, the two also discussed the ongoing war in Ukraine and the flow of migrants in the Eastern Mediterranean area.

“We are on the right side of history, there can be no different positions except from a strong support to the sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence of Ukraine,” Christodoulides said.

“Let us continue to act and approach the issue within this framework.”

Macron praised Christodoulides’ support of Ukraine and the shared commitment to find ways to improve the plight for the Ukrainian people.

“We are united against the war that Russia started and continues to rage. I am very glad to know about our joint determination to sanction Russia.

“Alongside Cyprus and other EU member states, we will work towards rebuilding Ukraine,” Macron said.

As far as the flow of migrants to Cyprus is concerned, Christodoulides emphasised that Cyprus continues to be the EU member state with the largest number of migrants in proportion to its population.

“We should find common solutions to a problem that is not just ours, it is a European issue. We need to find a right balance between responsibility and solidarity.”

Christodoulides and Macron are set to meet again on June 1 in Moldova’s Chisinau for the European Political Community Summit, where the focus of discussions are expected to include securing key infrastructure such as pipelines, cables, and satellites, as well as stepping up the fight against cyberattacks and creating a support fund for Ukraine

In the evening, the president is also set to attend a dinner with members of the Cypriot community in Paris.

On Thursday, before departing for London for the coronation of King Charles along with the First Lady, Christodoulides will also meet with representatives of French oil giant Total, currently involved in drilling activities in Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).