In a landmark diplomatic encounter, President Nikos Christodoulides warmly welcomed German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier today at the Presidential Palace, marking the first official visit by a German head of state to the Republic of Cyprus.
President Steinmeier arrived at 9 a.m. at the Presidential Palace, where he was received by President Christodoulides, accompanied by military honors.
Following the rendition of the National Anthems of both countries, the German President laid a wreath at the statue of Ethnarch Makarios III in the courtyard of the Presidential Palace.
A private meeting between the two Presidents ensued, followed by mutual commendations. President Christodoulides, acknowledging the historical significance of the visit, noted the 50th anniversary of the Turkish invasion and ongoing occupation, as well as the 20th anniversary of Cyprus' accession to the EU. He emphasized the excellent bilateral relations between Cyprus and Germany, highlighting their aligned positions on numerous regional and international issues within the EU.
Addressing his German counterpart, President Christodoulides remarked, "You are visiting a region facing serious challenges. Cyprus, the closest EU member state in the area, maintains excellent relations with all neighboring countries, and we strive to create conditions of stability."
He expressed optimism for their discussions, recalling his first official visit to Berlin shortly after assuming office, and anticipated that President Steinmeier's visit would pave the way for enhancing bilateral relations and addressing common challenges. "We are at a critical juncture in the EU, and we must discuss the future of our European family. Cyprus stands for European integration," he affirmed, highlighting President Steinmeier's extensive experience, including his tenure as Foreign Minister during challenging times for Europe and the region.
In response, President Steinmeier, who has visited Cyprus twice before as Foreign Minister, acknowledged the intense challenges in the region and emphasized the humanitarian crisis resulting from the war in Ukraine and the situation in the Middle East. He stressed the urgent need for solutions to these crises.
Subsequently, President Christodoulides presented President Steinmeier with the Grand Collar of the Order of Makarios III, while President Steinmeier bestowed upon President Christodoulides the Grand Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany.
During the ceremony, President Christodoulides underscored that the insignias symbolized the recognition and commitment of both nations, underscoring the obligation for further strengthening their ties.