Saudi foreign minister determined to bolster Cyprus ties

Wed, 2019-09-11 16:26

NICOSIA: Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister says his country is keen to explore ways of strengthening relations with Cyprus given the European Union member country’s geographic location and long-standing ties with the Arab world.
Ibrahim Al-Assaf’s visit to the east Mediterranean island nation on Wednesday where he also met with Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades was the first by a top Saudi official.
Al-Assaf said there’s “high interest” in developing relations “on all fronts.”
Among the topics they discussed were some of the most pressing challenges in the region, including the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, Syria, Iran and Yemen.
Cypriot Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides said the two men agreed to focus initially on tourism and investment.
“In this context, we stand ready to proceed with the facilitation of bilateral Business Forums in our two countries, respectively, within the framework of our Economic Diplomacy program,” he said.
Christodoulides noted a shared understanding to jointly address challenges like terrorism, the rise of extremism and climate change.
The Cypriot foreign minister said EU-Saudi cooperation is key to dealing with regional challenges and that Cyprus would continue advocating that in Brussels.
Both sides also discussed opportunities for cooperation regarding the Kingdom’s Vision 2030, which aims to diversify the economy and develop political, economic, energy, security, military and defense fields.
Some important steps have already been taken between the two countries, such as implementing the Double Taxation agreement and the Air Services agreement that have enhanced bilateral relations.

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