Cyprus’s Anastasiades heads for official visit to Riyadh


President Nicos Anastasiades begins an official visit to Riyadh in Saudi Arabia on Wednesday at the invitation of King Salman.

The Saudi king will receive Anastasiades, who arrived on Tuesday, with an official ceremony at the palace, followed by a banquet hosted by Salman in his honor. The delegations of the two countries will hold official consultations and sign agreements after the ceremony.

Anastasiades, who is being accompanied by the ministers of Foreign Affairs, Defense, Transport and Energy, and the government spokesman, is also scheduled to meet with the Saudi Arabian crown prince, as well as the secretary general of the Gulf Cooperation Council. He will also pay an on-site visit to the facilities of J&P, a Cypriot-owned company.

The president and the delegation return to Cyprus on Wednesday night.

Meanwhile, in an interview to the Arabic international newspaper Asharq al-Awsat on Monday, Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides said that Cyprus looks forward to “bolstering cooperation with Saudi Arabia in order to achieve security and stability in the region.”

He added that bilateral ties between the two countries “have taken an important step forward after Riyadh appointed its Athens ambassador as the charge d’affaires in Nicosia.”

“I believe there are great opportunities for cooperation between us in many fields, such as economy, business and tourism,” he told the paper, highlighting the significance Saudi Arabia has.

“Saudi Arabia is an important country and a leader in the Arab and Muslim worlds and King Salman is custodian of the two holy mosques,” he said, adding that Riyadh could play a role in reuniting Cyprus.

“Many people believe that the problem lies between the Cypriot people. We are prepared to share the country with the Turkish-Cypriot population within a Cypriot union… the main problem that will remain is Turkey, which is still following a strange policy towards the Arab world,” he said.