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President Papadopoulos received the credentials of the new High Commissioner of the Republic of Ghana to Cyprus

The President of the Republic, Mr. Tassos Papadopoulos, received today at a formal ceremony at the Presidential Palace the credentials of the new High Commissioner of the Republic of Ghana to the Republic of Cyprus, stationed in Cairo, Mr Akilaja Olufemi Akiwumi.

Presenting his credentials, Mr Akiwumi said: "It is my singular honour and privilege to present to you the Letters by which your brother His Excellency Mr. John Agyekum Kufuor, President of the Republic of Ghana accredits me as High Commissioner of the Republic of Ghana to the Republic of Cyprus. I also present to you the Letters of Recall of my predecessor.

Your brother, the President of the Republic of Ghana, His Excellency Mr. John Agyekum Kufuor has specificaly requested me to convey to you his warm regards and best wishes for your personal well-being and for that of the Government and people of Cyprus.

The people of Ghana cherish the long-standing cordial relations which our countries have enjoyed over the years. It is our earnest hope that these bonds would be further strengthened and the scope of our co-operation broadened to our mutual benefit in the years ahead.

Ghana and Cyprus share a common destiny as developing countries in a world characterized by serious inequalities in resource allocation and consumption. Prospects for the initiation of a New World Economic Order in which developing countries would be afforded remunerative prices for their produce to make for sustainable development are still very remote. This state of affairs enjoins countries such as ours to work together towards the enhancement of our bilateral co-operation as well as the promotion of South - South relations.

I have the honour to affirm to Your Excellency, Ghana's readiness to work together with Cyprus towards the attainment of these important goals based on our shared commitments within the United Nations and the Commonwealth. In this regard I seize this opportunity to further assure Your Excellency of my personal determination to contribute substantively to the strengthening of the warm relations that so happily exist between our two countries during my tenure as Ghana's High Commissioner to the Republic of Cyprus.

Mr. President, Ghana has been following with keen interest developments in this region. I wish to reaffirm Ghana's support for a peaceful and just settlement for the Cyprus problem through negotiation and active dialogue in line with relevant UN resolutions.

Mr. President, I have every conviction that with your statesmanship and vision, a comprehensive solution of the protracted Cyprus problem is around the corner.

In conclusion, Your Excellency, I wish to register my Government's gratitude and appreciation for the Technical Training Assistance offered by the Republic of Cyprus in the field of Forestry.

Replying, President Papadopoulos said: "It is with great pleasure that I welcome you today to Cyprus and receive the Letter of Credence appointing you as the new High Commissioner of the Republic of Ghana to the Republic of Cyprus with residence in Cairo. I take this opportunity to assure you that my Government and I look forward to a close cooperation with you and will provide you with any assistance you may need in the performance of your duties.

Cyprus and Ghana have always enjoyed excellent relations based on our traditional bonds of amity and understanding. The participation of our two countries in the Commonwealth and until recently, in the Non-Aligned Movement, contributed to the development of this understanding. I would like to express our deep appreciation to Ghana for its valuable support to the just cause of Cyprus in the UN and other international fora over the years. We shall continue to count on your support and we shall remain committed to the further strengthening of our bonds of friendship and for expanding the scope of our cooperation in the future, for the benefit of both countries.

A new chapter in our country’s history has opened with the accession to the European Union as of 1st May 2004. Our membership in the Union provides us with better opportunities to improve our relations with African countries. Cyprus is pleased to note that the EU-Ghana dialogue is characterized by a very open, frank and friendly approach. The Government of Cyprus is ready to finding new ways to enhance the relations of friendship and cooperation between our two countries on issues of mutual interest in international and bilateral affairs.

I take this opportunity to remind you that despite untiring efforts throughout the years to reach a viable settlement, the Cyprus problem has remained unresolved. The military occupation since 1974 of part of our country and Turkey’s policies for secession and creation of two separate states on the island continue. The desire to put an end to the suffering of our people from this occupation and the spirit of compromise have prompted us to pursue and support a solution based on a bizonal, bicommunal federation in one sovereign state, which has been universally accepted and to which we remain committed, as it could bring about the genuine reunification of our country and serve the legitimate interests of all Cypriots.

The latest proposed UN settlement plan was rejected by the Greek Cypriots in the referendum of April 2004 by an overwhelming majority of 76%. In voting against this particular version of the Annan Plan, the Greek Cypriots did not reject the solution of the Cyprus problem or the reunification of the country. They rejected a Plan that was neither viable nor functional, which did not sufficiently address their legitimate concerns.

The Government of the Republic of Cyprus has embraced and effectively supports the economic development of the Turkish Cypriots within international legitimacy and EU laws and to that end, we have taken several practical measures, including proposals for the EU financial assistance and for the trade through the buffer zone and legal ports of entry of the Republic. We have also been providing free medical and other social services to the Turkish Cypriots, while the number of Turkish Cypriots working in the government controlled areas has more than doubled in the last few years and we have taken several other measures to promote trust and cooperation between the two communities.

We are satisfied with the results of my meeting in Paris last February with the Secretary General of the United Nations, which took stock of the situation in Cyprus and examined ways of moving the process of re-uniting the island forward. During the meeting, we suggested certain measures for the preparation of the ground for negotiations and we reiterated our commitment to work for a viable and functional bizonal, bicommunal federal solution that would lead to the reunification of Cyprus, its people, its economy and its institutions. We also reiterated that such a solution should be acceptable to both sides and should be reached freely, without the pressure from strict timetables and arbitration.

The renewed activity of the Committee for Missing Persons, reinforced by the recent appointment of Mr. Christophe Girod as Third Member of the Committee, constitutes an important step towards clarifying the fate of the missing persons in Cyprus. Simultaneously, the Government of the Republic of Cyprus calls on the United Nations in particular and the international community in general to ensure that the necessary pressure is exerted on Turkey, to carry out an immediate and effective investigation for the ascertainment of the fate of the missing persons.

In welcoming you to Cyprus, I wish every success in your endeavours. I would also like to ask you to convey to His Excellency the President of the Republic of Ghana Mr. John Agyekum Kufuor and to the Government and the people of your country, our warmest greetings and a message of friendship and solidarity."

Present at the ceremony were the Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs, Minister of Interior, Mr Andreas Christou, the Deputy Minister to the President, Mr. Christodoulos Pashiardis and the Chief of Protocol, Mrs. Athina Mavronicola.

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