President of Cyprus looks forward to attending CHOGM - GL


By Ranjith Karunaweera - Mahiyagana Corr.

Minister of External Affairs Professor G.L. Peiris with Nicos Anastasiades, President of Cyprus in Nicosia.

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, Nicos Anastasiades, President of Cyprus, said in Nicosia on Friday, the External Affairs Ministry said yesterday.

"He made these remarks when Professor G.L. Peiris, Minister of External Affairs, called on him at the Presidential Palace," a media communique issued by the ministry said.

"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.

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 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 Averof Neofytou, President of the Cyprus-Sri Lanka Friendship Group in Nicosia.

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