The Arabian Gulf region is an immediate priority for Cyprus’ foreign policy, while relations with Saudi Arabia have been developing over the past five years, spokesperson for the foreign ministry Theodoros Gotsis said on Saturday.
Speaking to the Cyprus News Agency ahead of Foreign Minister Constantinos Kombos’ visit to the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia next week, he noted this is the minister’s first official visit to the region.
He specified that bilateral relations between Cyprus and Saudi Arabia during the last five years have been developing at the highest level of political dialogue, giving new impetus and perspective for further expanding the cooperation of the two countries, in areas of mutual interest.
Gotsis recalled that last March the Minister of investments of Saudi Arabia paid a visit to Cyprus, during which a Cooperation Programme Framework in the field of Investments was signed.
The Saudi Minister of investments was the first foreign official with whom President Nikos Christodoulides met after assuming his duties. The Crown Prince’s wish to pay Cyprus an official visit was also conveyed.
Gotsis furthermore said that Kombos’ visit to the Arabian Gulf comes a few weeks after the visit of the UAE Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan to Cyprus, to congratulate the President of the Republic, after assuming his duties.
He also recalled that during the visit last year of the former President Nicos Anastasiades to the United Arab Emirates, to participate in the Dubai Expo, the Joint Declaration on the Establishment of Integrated Strategic Cooperation was signed, which includes seven areas of the expanding bilateral relationship – among them energy.
Kombos’ visit takes place at a time when Saudi Arabia is at the centre of important changes in the region, upgrading its status and geopolitical and economic role after the restoration of its diplomatic relations with Iran, which led to a series of opportunities for de-escalation of regional tensions, particularly in Yemen, Syria and Iraq.
Kombos will discuss bilateral relations, the Cyprus issue, as well as regional and international developments during his visits.
The minister will first travel to Abu Dhabi on Monday, where he will have a tete-a-tete meeting and extended consultations with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
Kombos will then travel to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, where on Tuesday he will meet with his Saudi counterpart, Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud, and expanded consultations will follow.
The foreign minister will then travel to Riyadh, where on Thursday he will participate in the works of the Ministerial Meeting of the International Coalition against Daesh/ISIS, co-organised by Saudi Arabia’s foreign ministry and the Secretary of State of the United States.
The main objective is coordinating international efforts to combat terrorism.