Minister of State for Europe Michael Roth travelled to Cyprus for political talks held from 17 to 19 September. In Nicosia, he met President Nicos Anastasiades and chief negotiators of both ethnic groups to discuss ongoing talks to resolve the conflict in Cyprus.
Secretary of State for Europe Roth met Cypriot President Anastasiades for talks in Nicosia on 18 September. The talks focused on the negotiations to resolve the crisis in Cyprus. Roth stressed the importance of reaching an agreement for the entire eastern Mediterranean region and the scope for progress offered by accession negotiations with Turkey.
Together with the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Cyprus, Alexandros Zenon, Roth then signed a joint agreement allowing German citizens to be evacuated with the help of Cypriot infrastructure in the event of crises in the Mediterranean region.
Courageous steps needed to reach agreement in the Cyprus conflict
The conflict in Cyprus, which has now lasted for over 50 years, was the main topic of the discussions held with the chief negotiators of both ethnic groups as well as with Lynn Hastings, senior advisor to the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus.
Roth encouraged both sides to undertake courageous steps and not to let another opportunity to reach agreement slip by.
Moreover, he stressed Germany’s vested interest in an agreed settlement that would need to go hand in hand with confidence-building measures. Roth was particularly moved on a visit to the Committee on Missing Persons, which, to his mind, occupies an exemplary role in the reconciliation process between the ethnic groups.
After the political talks in Nicosia, Minister of State Roth said:
In Cyprus, we are reminded of just how close Europe is to current trouble spots in the world. This is why we need to act jointly and decisively in the EU, be it with regard to further sanctions against Russia or in our efforts to cope with the refugees from Syria and Iraq.
Helping young people in Europe
At the end of his visit, Minister of State for Europe Roth took time to talk to young Cypriots. A panel discussion at the Goethe-Institut in Nicosia with the title “Germany and Cyprus in a changing EU” focused on future perspectives for young people.
I believe that it is very important that we do all we can to help young people in Europe. Joint efforts are required to get Europe back on the path towards growth. Growth, jobs and social cohesion must be at the top of the EU’s list of priorities.
The Minister of State called on the primarily young audience to be active representatives of the European idea.
Strengthening social cohesion in Europe
Roth emphasised that the EU is committed to strengthening social cohesion in Europe. Moreover, the Minister of State was impressed by the determination with which Cyprus has pursued its adjustment programme, which is scheduled to run until 2016.
Minister of State for Europe Roth travelled to Cyprus with Members of the German Bundestag Heinz-Joachim Barchmann and Manuel Sarrazin.