Strovolos - July 13th 2020
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Mr President of Parliament,
Ladies and Gentlemen Ministers,
Ladies and Gentlemen parliamentarians,
Madam Special Representative of the Secretary General of the United Nations,
Dear Honorary Consuls,
I thank you for honoring us with your presence this evening at this small reception. My team and I are delighted to celebrate our national day with all those present as a symbol of the strength of the relationship that unites us.
This year everything is different. Our habits, our convictions, and tragically so many lives have been overwhelmed by this virus. Amongst those habits and certainties, we all know that every year several hundred people used to gather here in this garden in Strovolos to celebrate the French National Day. This year we are only a few dozen people representing the political and institutional heart of the bond between Cyprus and France.
Please allow me also to extend my greeting to those who are absent and that I really would have liked to be able to host tonight: key stakeholders of our bilateral relationship, in the fields of economy, art, culture, our fellow members of the diplomatic community … The circumstances are what they are. Allow me finally to pay my respects to the medical workers who, in Cyprus, as in France and in so many other countries around the world mobilized their energies to save lives.
We are living in a tumultuous period, in Europe and more particularly in the eastern Mediterranean. France’s position is well known, it rests on two major axes, regional stability and respect for international law.
As the situation becomes tense across the region, it is more essential than ever to ensure its stability.
This is the meaning of the almost constant presence of frigates of the French national navy, regularly received by Cyprus, and it was the meaning of the mission of the aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle at the end of February.
As for our constant vision concerning the sovereignty of Cyprus - including at sea - it is not against such and such a country, and it does not, contrary to what many people believe, come from supposed economic interests.
It is simply a reflection of our positioning, steeped in history, of respect for international law.
The European Union has been enduring a significant crisis in the past few months. But it is now in marching order and poised to put itself back on its feet. As you know the President of the Republic Emmanuel Macron, together with Chancellor Merkel, have made ambitious proposals to relaunch the European economy, proposals which are in line with of our ambitions for the future success and prosperity of Europe.
Those proposals will be at the heart of the special European Council that will take place at the end of this week and for which we are hoping for a successful outcome.
We also want this ambition for Cyprus, a Cyprus reunited in accordance with the parameters of the United Nations, where everyone can find their place, for themselves and for generations to come.
To achieve this will also require ambition and a very strong political will on both sides. To begin with, it is essential that, while respecting health requirements, contacts can resume between communities and that the green line once again become a place of passage and not of separation. We believe anything is possible.
Mr. President, Ladies and Gentlemen,
In France, everything begins and ends with the sharing of a meal. Despite this very challenging year and the constraints it imposes, I invite you to enjoy the buffet that we have prepared.
Long live the friendship between Cyprus and France !