The statement was made by President of the Republic Demetris Christofias during a jo int press conference in Valletta with Prime Minister of Malta Lawrence Gonzi.
On his part, Gonzi said his country is in complete accord on issues concerning development and social cohesion.
According to an official press release, in his opening remark, Christofias said they had a productive discussion on issues of mutual interest, noting that “Cyprus and Malta have common positions on the issues discussed”.
The two reviewed the excellent bilateral relations and agreed to deepen them even further in all fora, while identifying new areas of cooperation.
Christofias and Gonzi discussed current European issues, in view of the upcoming Cypriot Presidency of the Council of the EU, starting in July 2012.
“The Cypriot Presidency will also seek to bring Europe closer to its neighbors and work for the empowerment of the Un ion in the world. We are therefore happy to have Malta on our side in the efforts to emphasize the Southern Dimension of the European Neighborhood Policy”, said Christofias.
Another issue on the agenda of the talks were developments in Syria and Libya where “we shared our concern for the rising tension and violence in our region”.
With reference to the crisis in the Eurozone, Christofias said they “agreed that our response should be guided by social sensitivity. It should lead to fiscal consolidation, while at the same time focus on the social needs of the citizens and most importantly pay attention to the needs of the vulnerable groups of our society”.
As far as the accession process of Turkey is concerned, Christofias said Turkey must fulfill its obligations towards the European Un ion, including the Republic of Cyprus. It must prove in practice, its will for a solution to the Cyprus problem based on the United Nations Security Council Resolutions and the principles and values upon which the European Un ion is founded”.
Christofias underlined “that, Cyprus will, during its Presidency, act as an honest broker and continue to objectively review Turkey’s accession negotiations. At the same time, it should be made clear that, we will not allow anyone to jeopardize our Presidency”.
On the Cyprus issue, Christofias briefed Prime Minister Gonzi on the latest developments in the talks and reiterated his “commitment to reaching a solution that will guarantee a peaceful and prosperous future for all Cypriots on the basis of a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation”.
The two also discussed the developments regarding the “activities for the extraction and exploitation of hydrocarbons in Cyprus’s Exclusive Economic Zone and the unacceptable Turkish threats and provocations which constitute a threat to regional peace and stability. I once again reiterate my strong belief that the exploitation of hydrocarbons can contribute to peace, stability and prosperity in Cyprus and the entire region”.
Last December Houston based Noble Energy, which has a concession for exploratory drilling in Cyprus’ block 12, announced that initial data that emerged from exploratory drilling and the evaluation checks carried out indicate the existence of a natural gas reservoir ranging from 5 to 8 trillion cubic feet (tcf) with a gross mean of 7 tcf. Cyprus received 25 bids from companies and international jo int ventures in the second licensing round for the island’s remaining 12 offshore blocks that took place on May 11.
On his part, Gonzi said “we are in complete accord on issues concerning development and social cohesion. We discussed how we can proceed towards this direction”, said Gonzi, adding that Europe needs development, fiscal purging and stability”.
He further said that discussions on the Multiannual Financial Framework will continue in the next weeks.
Gonzi said that the two examined the economic future of Europe, the Southern Dimension of the European Neighborhood Policy and the situation in north Africa.
Asked how the Cyprus presidency can tackle the problem of illegal immigration, President Christofias said that Malta and Cyprus share the same concerns. “We are not racists”, he said, adding that the issue is serious and should be handled with solidarity by all EU member states. “Our presidency will work towards this”, he added.
To a question how cooperation between Malta and Cyprus can increase, Christofias said “through tourism, energy and agriculture”.
President Christofias concluded his visit to Valletta and returns home Friday evening.
Cyprus, an EU member since 2004, has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third, is going to assume the EU Presidency on July 1st for a period of 6 months.
Turkey which aspires to jo in the EU, does not recognize Cyprus and said that it will have no relations with the Republic during the Presidency.