The Minister of State for European Affairs, Mr. Harlem Désir, visited Cyprus last July, 2nd and 3rd. During his visit on the Island, he was received by the President of the Republic of Cyprus, Mr. Nicos Anastasiades, and met with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Ioannis Kasoulides, who also invited him to a lunch. The Minister of State met also the leader of the Turkish-Cypriot community, Mr. Mustafa Akinci as well as the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary General, Mrs Lisa Butthenheim.
This visit gave the opportunity to take stock of the negotiation process for the reunification of the island, which importance has been underlined by Mr. Desir, to foster stability and prosperity, in the interest of both communities, the EU and the region as a whole. The Minister of State reaffirmed France’s support to negotiations held under the United Nations’ aegis and renewed his trust in the Special Advisor to the Secretary General, Mr. Espen Barth Eide. He also expressed France’s satisfaction for the intensification of the talks and the good atmosphere prevailing over the negotiations, as well as for the determination showed by both leaders and the recent developments following the resumption of the process after the election of Mr. Akinci at the leadership of the Turkish-Cypriot community. Praising the reinforcement of the dialogue between the EU, the community leaders and the UN, M. Desir reiterated the importance France attaches to the settlement’s conformity with the EU’s fundamental principles and its compatibility with the acquis communautaire.
In the field of bilateral relations, the Minister of State reaffirmed the excellent relationships between France and Cyprus and praised the width of its scopes, in political affairs, security, culture and economy. Mr. Désir also expressed France’s gratitude for Cyprus’ solidarity after the recent terrorist attacks in France. He reaffirmed the importance of the French-Cyprus cooperation in the framework of the fight against terrorism, in reference notably to the authorization given to French Air Force to use Andreas Papandreou Airbase.