The Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Cyprus and Bahrain, Nikos Christodoulides and Abdullatif bin Rashid Alzayani, signed on Monday, during a special ceremony in Manama, a visa waiver agreement for holders of diplomatic, special and service passports between the two countries.
According to a press release issued by the Cypriot MFA, Christodoulides, who accompanies the President of Cyprus, Nicos Anastasiades, on an official visit to Bahrain, had a meeting this afternoon with Alzayani, during which they had an in depth discussion on issues related to bilateral relations between Cyprus and Bahrain, following on from the official talks, as well as in relation to the cooperation between the two countries at regional and international level, as well as on EU-Bahrain relations.
The press release said that t he Foreign Ministers noted with satisfaction the common will of the two sides, as this emerged from the contacts made at the highest level during the visit of President Anastasiades, to strengthen bilateral relations in a number of specific areas.
They further noted that Cyprus and Bahrain, as small island states in an often troubled region, have a common interest in stepping up efforts to strengthen dialogue and regional cooperation, in a way that enhances peace, stability and security in the wider region taking advantage of, among other things, the positive momentum created by the signing of the Abraham Accords providing for the normalization of relations between Arab countries, including Bahrain, and Israel.
During the meeting, the next steps were considered in the implementation of what was agreed during the visit, including through the exchange of visits, the holding of political consultations between the Ministries of Foreign Affairs of the two countries and cooperation at the level of Diplomatic Academies, while views were also exchanged with regard to the possibility of Bahrain joining the network of trilateral cooperation mechanisms that Cyprus and Greece have jointly established with a number of countries in the region, the press release added.
The latest developments in the Cyprus problem and in the broader region of the Eastern Mediterranean were also discussed, with particular reference to the role that Bahrain can play in relevant discussions in the framework of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation.
Finally, in the context of discussions on EU-Bahrain relations and the positive role that Cyprus consistently plays within this context, Christodoulides expressed his intention to invite Alzayani to a working breakfast in Brussels in the near future, with the participation of EU Foreign Ministers.
Christodoulides said during the statements that the two Ministers made to the media after their meeting that "Cyprus and Bahrain are brought together by historically close ties of friendship." "Two island states that form part of a region that is as complex as it is promising," he added.
He noted that they had an extensive discussion on bilateral relations "and how we can expand and deepen them, as well as regional developments and EU - Bahrain relations."
He also referred to the signing of the agreement on the exemption of visas for diplomatic service and special passports, and noted that they decided to push forward cooperation in a number of areas, including collaboration between their diplomatic academies, as well as holding political consultations.
"As regards regional developments first and foremost I congratulated Bahrain on the historic Abraham Accords which are catalytic in the sea of change we are noticing in our region. We discussed ways in which Bahrain can join the trilateral cooperation mechanisms Cyprus, Greece and other countries of the region (such as the UAE, Jordan, Egypt, Israel and Palestine) have established," Christodoulides noted.
He stressed that "Cyprus, as a country of the region and an EU Member State, is adamant on the importance of more positive engagement of the EU in the region."
"I intend to invite Dr. Abdullatif for a working breakfast with the EU foreign ministers in Brussels to discuss ways of further advancing EU-Bahrain relations. Cyprus makes a consistent effort to present the regions perspective in Brussels and will continue to do so," he noted.
Christodoulides finally said that they would continue their deliberations during a meeting they will have in New York.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37% of its territory. Numerous UN backed talks to reunite the island have failed to yield results.