Cypriot Presidents Nicos Anastasiades and Israeli President Isaac Herzog on Wednesday condemned the war in Ukraine, expressed their deep sadness for the Ukrainian people and stressed the need to end the crisis quickly through diplomatic means and dialogue.
Herzog paid an official visit to the island and held consultations with the Cypriot President on the Russian invasion of Ukraine, bilateral cooperation, the Cyprus issue and the Cyprus initiative for the climate crisis in the Eastern Mediterranean and in the Middle East.
Ukraine and the need for dialogue
President Anastasiades said that as Cypriots we are closely linked to the fate of the Ukrainian people, because we ourselves were victims and still suffer from the tragic consequences of the Turkish invasion of 1974.
“As such, it goes without saying that we have joined our voices with our partners in the EU and beyond in condemning the Russian invasion and taking action to help the people of Ukraine at this critical time. We both agree, dear President, that the current crisis will have serious repercussions on a global scale, because we both agree that it can only be resolved through dialogue and diplomatic means,” he said. he declares.
President Herzog spoke in his statement of a terrible tragedy that we see unfolding before our eyes by saying that “the war in Ukraine is an affront to the international order”.
He expressed his deep pain and sadness adding that he is deeply concerned about the people of Ukraine and members of the Jewish community and that he hopes “and we all hope and pray that this war ends soon.”
He also said that a memorial erected in a village outside Kiev for 33,000 Jews, victims of the Nazis during World War II, was bombed yesterday by the Russians.
He went on to say that the Israeli government reaffirmed its support for Ukraine’s national integrity and joined the international community in supporting the UN General Assembly resolution.
“Israel is working to help advance a diplomatic solution in Ukraine and has offered its services to that end,” he noted.
Herzog also said that Israel sent an unprecedented 100 tons of humanitarian aid, describing the act as a moral obligation.
Bilateral cooperation-energy-climate crisis
President Anastasiades said that the excellent relations on the political sphere are also reflected in the strong cooperation between our respective business and scientific communities and, more importantly, in the steady increase in people-to-people contacts.
“The fact that the war in Ukraine strongly impacts energy supply and its prices, further strengthens the argument and the conviction that the EU needs diversified and stable energy supplies to guarantee its energy security. In this regard, we are convinced that the Eastern Mediterranean, of which our countries are an integral part, can prove very beneficial for EU energy security, by providing alternative routes and also cleaner energy sources”, said the Cypriot president.
He went on to say that the East Med Pipeline, if proven technically and financially viable, can supply gas and hydrogen, thereby diversifying European supply routes and adapting to diverse market needs. . Furthermore, he said, the EuroAsia interconnector, with its practical importance and strategic value in promoting cross-border energy cooperation, has attracted strong support from the EU, with the European Commission having recently approved part important part of its funding.
The Cypriot president also said he conveyed to President Herzog his appreciation for Israel’s active support for the Cyprus Climate Initiative for the Eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East.
With regard to the trilateral cooperation mechanism with Greece, he said that it was cooperation based on our common assessment that the growing and constantly evolving challenges facing the international order and our own region are faced can only be overcome through dialogue and respect for international law. .
“This view is shared more widely, as shown by the willingness of the United States to engage in an expanded form of our trilateral, such as a 3 plus 1 format,” he noted.
In his statements, President Herzog said that President Anastasiades had played a huge role in building friendships and a strategic partnership with Greece.
“Cyprus, Israel and Greece are anchors of stability in the Mediterranean, we continue to benefit from these links. Relations between Cyprus and Israel are a pillar of stability in the Mediterranean and the key to a sustainable and prosperous region in the future,” he noted.
The Israeli President spoke about bilateral cooperation in many areas that creates new economic opportunities for the benefit of our borders and our cities. He also talked about cooperation in firefighting in the two countries, saying friends are there to help you when you need it.
Herzog spoke of the need to work to deepen bilateral relations in the fields of culture and people-to-people relations so that young leaders can shape the next generation of bilateral cooperation.
He hailed the leadership of President Anastasiades in regional cooperation in the fields of climate change and energy.
“We strongly support the development of such forms through strategic action plans. And expand them to include additional partners, especially the United States,” he said.
He also referred to the recent visit of President Anastasiades to the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia and the benefits and new possibilities of joint initiatives.
“A new wind of peace is blowing through our region. The historic Abrahan Accords create new opportunities for joint initiatives as we saw at the Paphos forum with the United Arab Emirates,” he said.
President Anastasiades said he briefed his counterpart and explained our numerous and persistent efforts, including the proposed confidence-building measures, to resume a meaningful and results-oriented negotiation process.
“Unfortunately, these demands are met both by the demands of Turkey and the Turkish Cypriot leadership for a two-state solution that run counter to the agreed basis of the settlement and by unilateral and illegal actions on land and in sea that go against international law and UN Security Council resolutions,” he said.
He went on to say that it remains vital that all stakeholders involved work constructively to create the conditions necessary for results-oriented negotiations to take place and added that he was pleased “that you ( President Herzog) convey our messages during your next visit to Turkey.
In his statements, President Herzog said that the conflict in Ukraine reminds us of the need to work together to protect our values, our principles and our interests. “And that is exactly my message in Turkey next week, because I believe in cooperation between people and all faiths for the welfare of humanity,” he said.
He also noted that in these difficult and turbulent times “we must stand united and reaffirm our longstanding and historic alliances.”
Following press statements, President Anastasiades decorated the President of Israel with the Grand Collar of the Order of Makarios Third, one of the highest honors the Republic of Cyprus can bestow, as he noted in his speech.
President Anastasiades said Herzog’s ties to the island were forged before his own birth and spoke of the connection through his grandparents who were integral to what might be called the first large-scale agricultural enterprise on the island in the 1930s.
He also noted that colonial Cyprus, which had become a place of internment for 53,000 Holocaust survivors en route to their homeland, and that the Herzog family, making the most of their ties to the island, provided aid. concrete and meaningful to interned Jews, giving them a glimmer of hope in humanity in these darkest times.
Anastasiades also spoke about his personal contribution in establishing close cooperation between the diasporas of Cyprus, Israel and Greece and his well-known campaign against anti-Semitism.
He said that Cyprus had recently obtained observer member status with the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA), demonstrating our firm commitment to respecting diversity and combating anti-Semitism in all its forms.
The President also noted that the Grand Collar is awarded to President Herzog in recognition of his legacy, contribution to date and future endeavors in promoting universal values and strengthening ties between our two nations.
President Herzog thanked President Anastasiades for his contribution to strengthening bilateral relations and for his deep commitment to human values and the fight against intolerance and anti-Semitism.
He added that he was a great friend of Cyprus and spoke at length about his family’s close ties to the island. He also referred to the help of Cyprus, which served as a refuge for thousands of Jews during the Second World War, which expresses the special values of the Cypriot people, as he noted.
President Herzog has declared that he accepts this distinction on behalf of all those thousands of Jewish refugees. Finally, he invited the President of the Republic to visit Israel, expressing the desire to decorate him with a similar honorary distinction, while recalling the principles with which President Anastasiades fulfills his mandate.
President Anastasiades then hosted an official lunch for the President of Israel and his delegation.