NICOSIA - Cyprus’ Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides has expressed concern during the Informal Foreign Affairs Council of the EU, that took place in Vilnius, Lituania, with regard to the negative impact a possible prolonged crisis in Syria could have on the Eastern Mediterranean countries.
Speaking during the Council’s deliberations, Kasoulides expressed the belief that the EU would condemn both the use and the possession of chemical weapons, an official press release issued here says.
In view of the ongoing discussions regarding the international community’s reaction to the use of chemical weapons in Syria, the Minister stressed that the reaction should serve both the efforts to end the civil war in the country by reaching a political agreement and the termination of the human catastrophe taking place in the country.
The ongoing developments in Syria and also the Middle East Peace Process and Egypt were the focal point of the discussions of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs during the second and last day of the Council’s deliberations in which the Secretary of State, John Kerry, also participated.
During the first day of deliberations, in the course of the discussion on Syria, Kasoulides expressed Cyprus’ readiness to assist in the evacuation of citizens from the area if this is deemed necessary. He also expressed great concern with regard to the information regarding the use of chemical weapons in the country.
He reiterated the position that the use of chemical weapons is a crime against humanity, which cannot be without consequences and that the possession of these weapons is also condemnable.
Kasoulides has called on his EU colleagues to put EU civilian missions high on the agenda, thus highlighting Europe’s soft power.
“EU policy should have as one of its priorities the further strengthening of the role of EU civilian missions since, through them, the soft power of the Union becomes more visible”, the Cyprus FM said.
Moreover, during the discussions on how to improve NATO – EU relations Kasoulides also referred to Cyprus’ intention to apply to join the Partnership for Peace, noting that that this will also contribute to further improve these relations.
“A general impression from the comments made on the above was that efforts should be pursued through contacts of the High Representative and the Secretary General of NATO”, the press release adds.
In the course of the discussion on Syria, Kasoulides expressed Cyprus’ readiness to assist in the evacuation of citizens from the area if this is deemed necessary.