Newsroom / CNA
Spain’s Foreign Affairs Minister Arancha González Laya expressed her country’s solidarity and support for Cyprus in the face of tensions with Turkey in the Eastern Mediterranean.
In joint statements after her meeting with her Cypriot counterpart Nikos Christodoulides on Wednesday, González Laya said that Spain rejects unilateral moves and believes that a long-lasting solution can be found only through dialogue.
"We do not believe that there is a unilateral solution to the problems of the Eastern Mediterranean region. We reject unilateral moves that are not helping in finding a long-lasting solution"
She also said international law should be respected in view of the fenced-off part of Famagusta, known as Varosha, and expressed support for the UN Secretary General’s efforts for a resumption of the Cyprus reunification talks.
The Spanish FM said that her visit to Cyprus is "very clearly meant to send a signal to you, as I also told the President this morning, of solidarity, of support to Cyprus in the face of tensions. Tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean region. Tensions with Turkey. Tensions which we believe cannot be solved through unilateral actions."
"We do not believe that there is a unilateral solution to the problems of the Eastern Mediterranean region. Therefore, we reject unilateral moves that are not helping in finding a long-lasting solution. The only avenue for a long-lasting solution is through negotiations, through dialogue, which is what Spain has been advocating for between Greece and Turkey and between Cyprus and Turkey," González Laya said.
González Laya said Spain believes negotiations and dialogue should be employed to delineate contested maritime borders, but also to resolve the Cyprus issue, stressing that “international law is very clear about Varosha, about Famagusta and we hope that international law in the form of a UN Security Council resolution will be respected.”
Referring to migration, she noted that it is not surprising that Cyprus and Spain have many commonalities. “We want orderly migration in Europe, we want legal paths for migration, we want zero tolerance against criminal gangs that traffic humans, we want respect for international rules and asylum for refugees, we want more cooperation with countries of transit and origin and we want a system of migration into Europe that is based on solidarity, responsibility and justice.”
Referring to the southern neighbourhood of the EU, she said she invited Christodoulides to take part in a ministerial meeting of the European Southern Neighbourhood Partnership that Spain is hosting on November 26 in Barcelona. Christodoulides will also take part in a meeting to be held the following day between the Union of the Mediterranean, she added.
On bilateral issues González Laya said that “we do not have challenges, just lots of good will and interests to build on, to get our student communities closer, to cooperate closer on cultural issues and also to work together to recover our economies and our investment post-Covid.”
She thanked Christodoulides for his support in the effort to repatriate Spaniards who had been stranded in Cyprus during the Covid pandemic outbreak.
On his part Christodoulides said that Cyprus looks to the EU and its partners for solidarity in action. "Concretely upholding our common values and interests and implementing our own decisions is of the essence," he pointed out.
As you might expect, he noted, “following the various discussions we repeatedly had at the Foreign Affairs Council, I briefed Arancha in-depth on Turkey’s escalating provocations, as well as the extension of its illegal drilling operation on the very day that the President of the European Council was visiting Cyprus and a few days before the last Foreign Affairs Council.”
According to the Cypriot FM “it is clear that these actions threaten our collective EU interests, and the stability of the region.”
“The departure of Oruc Reis from the Greek continental shelf and the non-renewal of the relevant NAVTEX is a positive first step, which needs to be lasting in order to be able to talk of real de-escalation,” he said.
Unfortunately, Christodoulides continued, “at the same time, as you all know, signals of de-escalation have not been extended to Cyprus. On the contrary, in Cyprus’s maritime zones we are witnessing escalation, and disregard by Turkey of the repeated, collective EU calls to terminate its illegal actions and respect the sovereignty and sovereign rights of the Republic of Cyprus, a Member State of the European Union.”
Tomorrow’s European Council, he said, “will hold a crucial, strategic discussion on Turkey, in light of these developments, following numerous discussions and decisions.”
“Cyprus looks to the EU and its partners for solidarity in action. Concretely upholding our common values and interests, and implementing our own decisions is of the essence,” he stressed.
In his statements Cyprus’ Foreign Affairs Minister said that “during our discussion today we reaffirmed our mutual will to work with a view to further enhancing and expanding our cooperation, in fields such as trade, investment, education and tourism.”
According to Christodoulides, in recent months “new opportunities but also new challenges have highlighted the need for a closer dialogue, which we, as Mediterranean states and close partners in the European Union family, are ready to actively explore.” He referred to a common approach on gender issues between the two countries saying that “in this regard we would like to examine possible initiatives between our countries both at the multilateral and bilateral level.”
Cyprus’ Foreign Affairs Minister also noted he had the opportunity “to express our appreciation for Spain’s continued support to our efforts to reunify Cyprus, as well as for Spain’s support within the Council of Europe, on the need for Turkey to fully implement all judgments of the European Court of Human Rights.”
Referring to migration he welcomed “the publication of the new Pact on Migration and Asylum and we stand ready to work towards the swift adoption of the relevant legislative acts, especially in cooperation with other like-minded countries, such as Spain.”