Newsroom / CNA
FM Constantinos Kombos and Slovak Ambassador Martin Bezak praised the principled stance of the Slovak contingent of the UN peacekeeping force during the recent incidents in Pyla.
Kombos and Bezak delivered speeches Tuesday evening during an event to mark the Slovak Constitution Day and the anniversary of the 30 years of diplomatic relations between the two countries.
Kombos said that since 1993 when Slovakia established a diplomatic mission in Cyprus, has contributed to building close relations, cooperation and friendship between the two countries and their peoples, noting that the values of democracy, respect of the human rights and international law are the common ground.
Cyprus FM also said that the accession of the two countries to the EU in 2004 led to a new bilateral cooperation, within the framework of the common European family.
He also referred to Slovakia's contribution to building a constructive dialogue between the political parties in Cyprus’ two communities and its contributing to the UN peacekeeping force for over 20 years.
Kombos underlined the role of UNFICYP during the recent incidents in Pyla, pointing out that the stance of the occupying forces was condemned by the EU and the international community.
He also expressed his gratitude for Slovakia’s principled stance as regards the Cyprus issue and the solution of a bizonal, bicommunal federation with political equality, as described in the UN Security Council resolutions.
Ambassador Bezak said that the event commemorates the 30th anniversary of mutual recognition and the establishment of diplomatic relations between the Slovak Republic and the Republic of Cyprus.
He said that the two states are small in size and population and are connected not only by traditional friendship and cooperation, but also by the principles of international law and the values of the EU, which they joined together on 1 May 2004.
He went on to say that respecting the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of states is particularly important in the current geopolitical and geoeconomic context from the point of view of smaller states and nations, which also include Slovaks and Cypriots.
“As I already said Slovakia had been actively promoting the above-mentioned principles in the world for three decades. Therefore, just like Cyprus, we do not recognize the unilaterally declared independence of Kosovo. Therefore, just like Cyprus, we strongly condemn invasion, occupation, and annexation as tools or goals of foreign policy, regardless of in which part of Europe or the world they are used”, the Ambassador noted.
The Ambassador said that the Slovak embassy facilitates the bi-communal dialogue of representatives of Greek-Cypriot and Turkish-Cypriot political parties and this is their sui generis added value to the search for a solution.
Bezak said that the Slovak ambassadors in Nicosia have organized so far more than 300 bi-communal meetings at the Ledra Palace Hotel and more than 130 meetings of the preparatory subcommittee at the Home for Cooperation. He also said that approximately 4,500 Slovak soldiers and police officers have so far been taking part in UNFICYP, where they are responsible for what is probably the most sensitive sector of the buffer zone.
He referred to the recent incident in Pyla adding that the Slovak soldiers demonstrated their high professionalism and dedication to the UN mandate.
“I can also confirm from this place that the only ambition of Slovakia is to provide its good services in the context of the Cyprus problem is to help achieve its solution in accordance with UNSC resolutions, principles of international law and EU values so that the future solution is lasting, fair and to the benefit of all Cypriots. The activities of Slovak diplomacy and the peacekeepers in Cyprus mentioned above is a very specific and long-term contribution of my country also to the quality of our bilateral relations”, the Ambassador said.
Bezak also said that this year they expect a record number of more than 50,000 Slovak tourists in Cyprus, several thousand Cypriots visit yearly Slovakia, which is directly connected to the island by three airlines.
He also added that about 2,500 citizens of Slovakia live, work, or do business in Cyprus and the expat community is organized, well integrated into the local society, while contributing to the economic development of the island and the mutual rapprochement of both nations.
A photo exhibition was on display at the event on diplomatic relations between Slovakia and Cyprus and the presence of the Slovak UNFICYP contingent.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. Repeated rounds of UN-led peace talks have so far failed to yield results. The latest round of negotiations, in July 2017 at the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana ended inconclusively.
On Friday August 18, 2023 Turkish Cypriots punched and kicked a group of international peacekeepers who obstructed crews illegally working on a road that would encroach on a U.N. controlled buffer zone.
The attack happened as peacekeepers stood in the way of work crews building a road to connect the Turkish occupied village of Arsos with the mixed Greek Cypriot-Turkish Cypriot village of Pyla, inside the buffer zone.