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Cyprus President Demetris Christofias begins contacts in Belgrade where he is paying a two-day official visit.

The programme of his meetings begins with the official welcoming ceremony, at ''Srbija'' Palace.

President Christofias will have a half-hour tete a tete meeting with his Serbian counterpart Boris Tadic, followed by official talks.

The talks will focus on deepening further existing excellent bilateral relations and on strengthening economic cooperation between the two countries. The talks will also cover the Cyprus problem, Serbia's relations with the EU and other bilateral and international issues.

In statements before his departure on Sunday, President Christofias said that Cyprus and Serbia are traditionally friendly countries and the late Presidents Archbishop Makarios III and Yugoslav President Josip Tito were two of the founders of the Non-Aligned Movement.

“We stood by Serbia when it was facing problems and Serbia and its people have been supporting the people of Cyprus over the years with positions of principle in our struggle for freedom and reunification of our country”, the President remarked.

This visit, he added, “will be a good opportunity to analyse our positions on the Cyprus issue and listen to our Serb friends on the problems they are facing with Kosovo and we are also at their side in their effort to join the European Union.”

The talks between Tadic and Christofias will be followed by the singing of a number of Agreements and Memoranda of cooperation, which will further consolidate the relations of friendship and cooperation between the two countries.

President Christofias will attend a working lunch hosted by Serbia's Prime Minister Mirko Cvetkovic.

He will attend a ceremony for the opening of the new premises of the Cypriot embassy in Serbia and will meet President of the Serbian National Assembly Slavica Djukic Dejanovic.

On Tuesday, President Christofias and Cvetkovic will address the opening of the Serbian-Cyprus Business Forum organised by the Serbian Chamber of Commerce and the Cyprus Chamber of Commerce and Industry, while later on he will give a lecture at the Faculty of Political Science of the University of Belgrade.

President Christofias stated on Sunday that the Forum will further develop trade and exchanges between the two countries.

On Tuesday Foreign Minister Markos Kyprianou will meet his Serbian counterpart Vuk Jeremic, while Cypriot Minister of Commerce, Industry and Tourism Antonis Paschalides will meet Serbian Minister of Commerce and Services Slobodan Milosavljevic. Paschalides will also meet Serbian Minister of Economy and Regional Development Mladjan Dinkic.

President Christofias returns to Cyprus on Tuesday.

Financial Mirror, February 23, 2009 - Gregoris Savva (CNA)|||Cyprus President begins official visit to Belgrade
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