The Undersecretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Vincenzo Amendola, is on a diplomatic mission in Cyprus to attend the meeting of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe. The representative of the Italian Government arrived in the capital Nicosia this morning, where he also had bilateral talks and visited the Headquarters of the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus.
Undersecretary Amendola’s first day in Cyprus started with a courtesy visit to the President of the Republic, Nicos Anastasiades, followed by a meeting with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ioannis Kasoulides, and the Minister of Energy, Yiorgos Lakkotrypis. Later, Mr Amendola met with local authorities to take stock of the excellent bilateral relations, both political and economic, especially in the energy sector, thanks to the leading role played by ENI in the exploration for hydrocarbons in the Eastern Mediterranean and the potential development of the EastMed gas pipeline with its partner Edison, which could secure an alternative energy supply source for Italy and Europe.
The “Cypriot Affair”, whose solution could greatly benefit not only the population of the Island but also the rest of a region characterised by great instability and the whole of Europe, as well as the relationship between Cyprus and Turkey, was the focus of all the meetings. “We are following with utmost attention and support ongoing negotiations – said Undersecretary Amendola – and we hope that the Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, thanks to the considerable progress made in the last two years, succeed to overcome the difficulty of the moment and take a further step towards a comprehensive and sustainable solution. We are convinced that solving the problem would turn out to be greatly advantageous for both communities of the Island and for the East Mediterranean area.”
Later in the morning, Mr Amendola also visited the UNPOL Command at the Headquarters of the UNFICYP, where he met with the Commander, Colonel Andri Sachavo, and Regimental Sergeant Major of the Carabinieri, Antonio Longo. The UNFICYP, whose mission was renewed for six months last January, was established by the Security Council in 1964 to put an end to the clashes between the Island’s Greek and Turkish communities following the Turkish military intervention in 1974, and to assure the ceasefire between the two parties.
During the visit, the Undersecretary also met with Espen Barth Eide, the Special Adviser of the UN Secretary General. “The United Nations, through the UNFICYP – in which Italy participates – and the mission of good offices led by Eide, are doing a wonderful job”, explained Amendola, confirming Italy’s support for the UN action.
At the end of the morning, the Undersecretary took part in a working lunch at the Embassy, which was also attended by the Presidents of the Greek-Cypriot and Greek-Turkish Chambers of Commerce and Industry, and Erhan Ercin, the Special Advisor on diplomacy and the EU of the Turkish Cypriot leader Akinci. Mr Amendola’s mission in Cyprus will continue tomorrow at the meeting of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe.