President expresses solidarity with Israel and calls for de-escalation
08:02 - 23 October 2023
President Nikos Christodoulides conveyed the solidarity of the Cypriot people and the Republic of Cyprus to his Israeli counterpart, Isaac Herzog, during a visit in Tel- Aviv over the weekend.
Christodoulides also met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, where he underlined the urgency of de-escalating the humanitarian crisis in the region.
According to a written statement by the Cypriot Presidency, during his meeting with Herzog, President Christodoulides referred to the issue of hostages, saying that their immediate release should be a top priority for all. He praised the initiation of humanitarian aid delivery to Gaza, considering it a positive development.
"I am here because we share the same neighbourhood, we are friends, and your concerns are our concerns. As an EU member state, we are sending a strong message for the need the EU to be present in this very challenging crossroads for our neighbourhood. I am here to discuss and find a solution to this crisis," President Christodoulides said.
According to the announcement, President Herzog thanked President Christodoulides for visiting Israel to express his solidarity with the Israeli people. He added, "We are in national mourning for one of the greatest tragedies our nation has faced since its independence. Your solidarity means so much to us," he said.
The Israeli President expressed his satisfaction that two hostages have been released, but he noted that there are over 210 hostages, including dozens of children, elderly persons, and patients, in addition to hundreds of innocent people who were abducted and need to return safely to Israel without conditions.
He also pointed out that Israel's operations are part of their right to defend themselves and are conducted in full compliance with the rules of international humanitarian law. For this reason, he said, they allowed the delivery of humanitarian aid to Gaza to assist civilians in avoiding harm, to relocate, and to receive aid.
Furthermore, he stated that Israel closely monitors the situation on its northern borders. "It is clear to us, as we remain fully alert and focused on what is happening on the Lebanese side, that the state of Lebanon bears full responsibility for this situation and will be held accountable if the situation worsens," he stressed.
Conveying messages about the need for de-escalation of the crisis affecting the region, the continuation of humanitarian aid to Gaza, and the necessity to avoid civilian casualties on all sides, as well as the initiation of political dialogue leading to the creation of a resolution for the Middle East, President Christodoulides held a meeting with Prime Minister Netanyahu.
Netanyahu, expressed his gratitude for the Cypriot President's visit during these difficult times. Netanyahu described the horrific moments experienced by the people of Israel following the terrorist attacks by Hamas.
He also referred to his recent meetings with the U.S. President and the German Chancellor and stressed the need for the civilized world to unite against terrorism and Hamas.
The Israeli Prime Minister thanked the Cypriot President for his support and solidarity from the very beginning of the terrorist attacks.
Cypriot President's commitment to crisis de-escalation stressed in Cairo
Earlier on Saturday, during his participation in the International Peace Summit held in Egypt, President Christodoulides, reiterated the clear intent of the Republic of Cyprus to play a role in de-escalating the crisis.
According to a statement by Government Spokesman, in his address to the Summit, President Christodoulides highlighted that the Republic of Cyprus was participating as a neighbouring country and a European Union member state closely tied to the region. He noted the excellent relations maintained with neighbouring states and pointed out the direct relevance and impact of developments in the Middle East on Cyprus. President Christodoulides declared the commitment and determination of the Republic of Cyprus to contribute in every possible way to the de-escalation of the crisis and the provision of humanitarian aid.
Furthermore, the President of the Republic stressed the need to find sustainable solutions to the complex and ongoing challenges faced by the region. He also pointed out that terrorism constituted a common threat to all countries in the region and that the Republic of Cyprus has unreservedly condemned the terrorist attack by Hamas on October 7. He noted that Hamas did not represent the entirety of the Palestinian people or the aspirations of the Palestinian Authority.
President Christodoulides also recognised Israel's right to self-defence, which should be exercised in accordance with international law. He stressed the utmost importance of achieving a permanent de-escalation of the crisis. As he said, key components of this effort included the protection of all civilians, the unconditional release of all hostages, and ensuring the delivery of humanitarian aid to Gaza.
Moreover, President Christodoulides stressed the need to reaffirm the necessity of resolving the Middle East problem based on a two-state solution, in line with United Nations Security Council resolutions. He said that recent developments made it clear that there’s no alternative but to create the conditions for the resumption of the peace process, ultimately leading to lasting peace.