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Dutch PM Rutte hails ‘historic’ Christodoulides visit

Christodoulides meets Rutte

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte hailed President Nikos Christodoulides’ visit to the Netherlands as “historic” when the pair met on Wednesday night.

He added that Christodoulides’ visit to the country coincides with the 20th anniversary of Cyprus’ accession to the European Union.

He said the Netherlands and Cyprus have “common views and strong cooperation in areas such as the economy, defence, migration, regional stability, and issues related to the European agenda.”

In addition, he thanked Christodoulides “for the assistance provided by Cyprus in evacuating Dutch nationals from the region” when violence began in and around Gaza in October last year.

He also “pointed out the very important role Cyprus played in the region,” and said it “underlines the importance of its initiative to create a sea corridor to provide aid to Gaza.”

Christodoulides pointed out that it has been 34 years since a Cypriot President last visited the Netherlands and said, “we have excellent bilateral relations; we agree on important issues both at an EU and international level.”

Touching on the matter of the Middle East, he said “Cyprus, as the closest EU member state to the region, is doing everything possible to help deal with the humanitarian crisis.”

Speaking after the meeting, he said “my presence in the Netherlands is part of our political will to strengthen our relations with all our partners in the EU, with all member states, and in particular the member states which have a special, strong relationship with Turkey.”

“I am here visiting the Netherlands because we constantly have the political will to strengthen our relations with all our partners in the EU,” he said.

He spoke of increased military cooperation between the two countries, and of hopes to increase the flow of tourists between the Netherlands and Cyprus.

Additionally, he said, “it is important that we did not limit ourselves on the agenda of our discussions to issues of Cypriot interest … but many other issues also emerged, such as highlighting the added value the Republic of Cyprus offers for Europe, for EU member states, in general, and in terms of regional developments.”

He also said he had agreed to keep in contact with Rutte, as, “seeing the developments, seeing the prospects, but also the role that Mark Rutte will play in the immediate period, possibly from a new position, this could be important for the Republic of Cyprus as well.”

His comments come as France, Germany, and the United States, among other countries, have offered their support for Mark Rutte to become Nato Secretary-general.

Later in the evening, Rutte hosted a working meal with Christodoulides.

Earlier, Christodoulides had met King Willem-Alexander at the Huis ten Bosch palace.

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