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Cyprus will do all it can for de-escalation in region, President tells EUCO

The Republic of Cyprus will make every possible effort, within its capabilities, for de-escalation of the crisis and to ensure security and peace in the region, Cyprus’ President, Nikos Christodoulides said during an extraordinary European Council, Government Spokesperson, Konstantinos Letymbiotis, said in a written statement.

Speaking on the evening of 17 October, he also referred to Cyprus’ “important humanitarian role” in this crisis.

According to Letymbiotis, President Christodoulides participated in the extraordinary European Council, held by video conference, which was convened, "due to the seriousness of the situation, as it develops after the terrorist attacks against Israel."

During the session, he adds, President Christodoulides "condemned once again Hamas’ terrorist attacks and expressed the support of the Cypriot Government to the Israeli people."

"The President of the Republic underlined the need to avoid further civilian casualties from all sides, but also for de-escalation of the crisis. A decisive element, he added, was the unconditional release of all the hostages," the Spokesperson said.

He added that President Christodoulides emphasised that, the Republic of Cyprus, as the EU member state closest to the region, but also as a State that maintains excellent relations with States in the region, will make every possible effort, within its capabilities, for de-escalation of the crisis and ensuring security and peace in the region.

He also noted that the President of the Republic said that the role the European Union will be called upon to play should be much more active and more substantive, "a position that the President of the Republic has repeatedly expressed in previous European Councils in relation to the Middle East region and the Southern Neighbourhood."

Letymbiotis also said that President Christodoulides referred to Cyprus’ important humanitarian role in this crisis, "noting that we have so far responded to numerous requests from third countries, contributing to the evacuation of citizens from 26 countries" and conveyed Cyprus' readiness to provide humanitarian aid in the region, including Gaza, taking advantage of its geographical proximity, but also its status as an EU member state.

According to the Spokesperson, President Christodoulides “pointed out that the close and continuous cooperation with the states of the region, mainly with Egypt, Jordan, but also with the United Nations, in the common effort to avoid further escalation of the crisis was imperative.” In this context, he added, the President of the Republic referred to the continuous communications he has had with the leaders of the countries of the region, during which they exchanged views on the actions that can be jointly undertaken.

In the same context, he notes, the President of the Republic referred to the telephone communications he had with regional leaders and conveyed messages from the Prime Minister of Israel, the King of Jordan and the President of Egypt to the European leaders. President Christodoulides also referred to the telephone conversation he had earlier on Tuesday with the President of Egypt, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, and emphasised the need for EU support to Egypt “as a country of crucial importance for the wider region”.

Letymbiotis also notes that, President Christodoulides “emphasised to our European partners that the recent flare-up was tangible proof of the importance of the Southern Neighbourhood for the peace and security of the EU itself and the consequent need for a more regular and methodical engagement with the region.”

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