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Cyprus assures Abbas over Israeli ties

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Cyprus told visiting Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas that Nicosia’s blossoming ties with Israel would not affect bilateral relations with Palestine.

Cyprus and Palestine agreed on Tuesday to strengthen their cooperation in business, science, and tourism to boost bilateral relations and regional alliances.

Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas held talks in Nicosia, where the two sides signed a memorandum of understanding on diplomatic training and development cooperation.

Anastasiades assured Abbas that “despite the equally excellent relations we have with Israel, it will not be to the detriment of the legitimate rights of the Palestinians”.

Cyprus and Israel have enjoyed a burgeoning relationship based on exploring energy wealth while also holding joint war games in the region.

He welcomed Abbas to Cyprus, referring to him as his “brother”, noting his visit reciprocated a trip by the Cypriot president to Ramallah in November 2015.

“Your visit confirms, once again, the historical ties between our peoples and our determination and willingness to further deepen our bilateral cooperation,” said Anastasiades.

He said the two sides agreed on the need to boost their institutional cooperation framework of state institutions, business, and science, plus areas of common interest, such as tourism, education, medicine, and climate change.

“My friend president Mahmoud and I discussed ways to strengthen our tripartite cooperation, emphasising the need for converging the Cyprus-Greece-Palestine Tripartite Summit.

“Recent events in Ukraine highlight once again the need to respect international law and to resolve any disputes under the provisions of the Charter of the United Nations.

“Principles that, if applied as the Charter provides, would prevent regional conflicts or even revisionist behaviour by United Nations member states.

Abbas described Cyprus as a “friendly country” and praised the level of bilateral relations between the two people.

“We want our relations to continue to grow. I am convinced this visit to Cyprus and the subsequent visits and contacts at the political and economic level will strengthen bilateral relations”.

He also thanked Cyprus for its firm stance on the Palestinian issue and for “siding with peace” but blamed Israel for the impasse in negotiations.

Abbas said there was a “complete stagnation of peace efforts in the Middle East due to the current Israeli government suspending the agreements”.

Cyprus recognised the state of Palestine in 1988.