RIYADH: Saudi Arabia and Cyprus added a new dimension to their bilateral relations after wide-ranging talks here at Al-Yamamah Palace Wednesday between King Salman and Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades, who arrived here Tuesday night on his maiden visit to the Kingdom.
Anastasiades, the first Cypriot president to visit Saudi Arabia, discussed with King Salman the whole gamut of bilateral and regional issues of common concerns. The need to strengthen the EU’s relations with Gulf countries was also discussed in the president’s talks.
“The talks focused on a range of key regional issues that have been hampering peace and security in the Middle East,” said Nikos Panayi, ambassador of the Republic of Cyprus, speaking exclusively to Arab News on Wednesday. He pointed out that “the signing ceremony of three agreements was witnessed by King Salman and the Cyprus president.”
Panayi said “a major memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed by the two countries for holding periodic political consultations.” The MoU will make provision for regular consultations between the foreign ministries of the Kingdom and Cyprus. A memorandum of understanding (MoU) was also signed for avoidance of double taxation, the envoy added.
According to the Cyprus News Agency (CNA), President Anastasiades praised the productive meeting he had with the King Salman.
“The meeting was extremely productive and creative, always, to the benefit of the interests of the Cypriot people and our Saudi friends,” he said, speaking to the staff of Joannou and Paraskevaides, a Cypriot company operating in Saudi Arabia.
On other accords endorsed by the two sides, the Cyprus ambassador said that “an executive program for cooperation was inked by the state-owned General Authority of Civil Aviation and the Cypriot Ministry of Transport.” During his stay in Riyadh, President Anastasiades also met Abdullatif Al-Zayani, secretary-general of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), and discussed important regional and international subjects of common concern.
Nicos Christodoulides, a spokesman for the Cypriot president, said that the talks with the GCC chief focused on “the need to strengthen the EU’s relations with the countries of the region, for which the Republic of Cyprus can and has the will to play a major role.” Christodoulides added that “the king and the president also discussed security issues, fighting terrorism, regional relations, and how the developments in our region are evolving.”
He said that “the historic visit of President Anastasiades to Saudi Arabia fulfills one of the main objectives of Cyprus’s foreign policy: to strengthen its relations with the Gulf countries.” The spokesman noted that “the agreement on political consultations between the Foreign Ministries provides for consultations twice a year to discuss issues of common interest.” He added that “there is an interest in Saudi Arabia on energy issues and this visit is the beginning of a new period in our relations.”

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