Cyprus President looking forward to attend CHOGM
Sri Lanka has the warmest wishes of the Republic
of Cyprus with regard to the hosting of the Commonwealth Heads of
Government Meeting (CHOGM) in November, and he is himself looking
forward to attending the Summit in Colombo, Mr. Nicos Anastasiades,
President of Cyprus, said in Nicosia on Friday.
He made these remarks when Professor G.L. Peiris,
Minister of External Affairs, called on him at the Presidential
Minister Peiris briefed President Anastasiades on
Sri Lanka's progress with regard to development and reconciliation.
President Anastasiades welcomed Prof. Peiris warmly, and said that
the Minister's visit has special significance at a time when Sri
Lanka and Cyprus are celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of the
establishment of diplomatic relations. The Minister recalled the
visit of Archbishop Makarios, the first President of Cyprus, to Sri
Lanka in 1976 to attend the Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement held
in Colombo that year.
During their bilateral discussions the External
Affairs Minister of Sri Lanka and Mr. Ioannis Kasoulides, Minister
of Foreign Affairs of Cyprus, agreed on immediate steps for the
establishment of a mechanism for regular bilateral consultations
between the two Foreign Ministries with a view to identifying areas
for further co-operation. It was agreed to have a series of
agreements on areas such as avoidance of double taxation and air
services, ready for signing when Foreign Minister Kasoulides
accompanies President Anastasiades to Colombo for the Commonwealth
Summit. The Government of Cyprus also showed great interest in
arranging for business leaders from Cyprus to attend the Business
Forum, to be held on the sidelines of CHOGM. The Ministers noted
that Cyprus Airways used to fly twice a week to Colombo between 2002
and 2004, and agreed to expand the scope of collaboration between
the two countries in the tourism sector.
Given the distinguished record of the Foreign
Minister of Cyprus as a former member of the European Parliament and
a full member of the Foreign Affairs Committee, and also considering
the position of Cyprus as occupying the Presidency of the European
Union last year, Prof. Peiris made use of the discussion with
Foreign Minister Kasoulides to focus on Sri Lanka's relationship
with the European Union, with particular reference to the revival of
the Joint Commission mechanism, the upcoming meetings at official
level and the contemplated trajectory of relations in the near
At his meeting with Mrs. Zeta Emilianidou,
Minister of Labour and Social Insurance of Cyprus, Minister Peiris
referred to the significant number of Sri Lankans employed in Cyprus
and said that the country is keen to explore avenues to secure more
employment opportunities in the skilled categories for our people in
Cyprus. Minister Emilianidou expressed support for this proposal.
During bilateral discussions in the Parliament of
Cyprus between Minister Peiris and Mr. Yiannakis Omirou, President
of the House of Representatives, the Ministers noted the
establishment of a Sri Lanka - Cyprus Parliamentary Friendship
Association this year, and resolved to take steps to further
strengthen contact between the parliaments of the two countries.
Prof. Peiris also met with Mr. Averof Neofytou,
President of the Cyprus-Sri Lanka Friendship Group in Nicosia.