Foreign Minister of Cyprus Ioannis Kasoulidis stated on Sunday that his country has succeeded in forming “excellent” ties with all of its neighbors, including the Arab world.
He told Asharq Al-Awsat that Cyprus looks forward to “bolstering cooperation with Saudi Arabia in order to achieve security and stability in the region.”
He made his remarks on the eve of Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades’ scheduled visit to the Kingdom.
“Bilateral ties with Saudi Arabia have taken an important step forward after Riyadh appointed its Athens ambassador as the charge d’affaires in Nicosia,” continued Kasoulidis.
This was followed by Cyprus opening an embassy in the Saudi capital.
The minister hoped that the Kingdom would soon reciprocate and open a mission in Nicosia.
“I believe there are great opportunities for cooperation between us in many fields, such as economy, business and tourism,” he told Asharq Al-Awsat.
“Our visit to Saudi Arabia is a continuation of our foreign policy in the region,” he added.
“Saudi Arabia is an important country and a leader in the Arab and Muslim worlds and King Salman is Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques,” he remarked.
In addition, Kasoulidis said that Riyadh could play a role in reuniting the divided parts of Cyprus.
“Many people believe that the problem lies between the Cypriot people. We are prepared to share the country with the Turkish-Cypriot population within a Cypriot union,” he said.
This would pave the way for reconciliation between the Christian Cypriot Greeks and Muslim Cypriot Turks, he explained.
“The main problem that will remain is Turkey, which is still following a strange policy towards the Arab world,” he said.
“We believe that withdrawal of Turkish forces is essential to resolving the problem. This is where Saudi Arabia can play a role seeing as Ankara is trying to bolster its friendship with Riyadh,” said the minister.
“There is a role that Saudi Arabia must play,” he stressed.