Kasoulides: No change in foreign policy

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Ioannis Kasoulides was sworn in as Foreign Minister on Tuesday, returning to the ministry he had left four years ago when he decided to retire from public office.

He takes over from Nikos Christodoulides, who stepped down following a row within his party DISY over his plans to run for president in 2023.

The new minister was sworn in at a ceremony held at the Presidential Palace, with President Nicos Anastasiades praising the statesman for his track record in government.

A seasoned politician, Kasoulides, 73, served two terms as Foreign Minister, once under Nicos Anastasiades during his first term between 2013 and 2018, and President Glafcos Clerides between 1997 and 2003.

Stepping down in 2018, he was succeeded by Christodoulides.

Anastasiades said he was appointing Kasoulides to “a position which he served with absolute success and professionalism, always keeping the country’s best interest, taking well-thought-out and targeted decisions, at critical moments for Cyprus”.

He cited Kasoulides’ huge contribution to Cyprus’ EU accession course and regional alliances.

“Despite his decision to step down from office, he accepted, given the difficult conditions that our country is experiencing, taking over the reins of the Foreign Ministry once more.”

The president also expressed his regret at losing the service of one of his closest associates.

Christodoulides has served as the director of the president’s diplomatic office, as government spokesman and then foreign minister since March 2018.

Kasoulides told the president that he felt like he was being called in from the reserves for active duty.

“I, too, understand the significance of the difficult moments so that there can be continuity,” said Kasoulides.

He said the foreign policy does not change, as the president decides important decisions under the constitution.

“The President takes decisions concerning foreign policy, and we execute them.

He said more attention needs to be given to foreign diplomats in Cyprus, which will be one of his ministry’s first tasks.

“We also need to pay greater attention within the EU for more solidarity for us, and we need to offer solidarity to member states because we are not a country that deals only with one issue.”

Kasoulides was also an MP, Cyprus Government spokesman, and Member of the European Parliament from 2004 until 2013.

He ran for president in 2008 but lost in the run-off to Demetris Christofias but secured just under 47% of the vote.