Cypriot Foreign Minister Erato Kozakou-Marcoullis arrived in Beirut Thursday morning on a two-day official visit to meet with senior Lebanese officials, the National News Agency reported.
The FM held a meeting with Prime Minister Najib Miqati at the Grand Serail and separately with President Michel Suleiman at the Baabda Palace.
She confirmed to Suleiman that the bilateral ties between Israel and Cyprus will not be at the expense of its relations with Lebanon.
“It was an opportunity to discuss the cooperation between the two countries regarding the energy fields, tourism and trade,” Kozakou-Marcoullis told reporters after the meeting with Miqati.
Asked about the help that Cyprus can offer to Lebanon concerning its dispute with Israel over the natural oil reserves on its offshores, the FM said: “Cyprus had been exerting its efforts since day one, and we will continue to offer our help.”
“It’s a pledge I made before PM (Miqati) to resolve the dispute as soon as possible,” she stressed.
A prolonged debate emerged between Lebanon, Cyprus, Turkey, and Israel over the demarcation of Lebanon’s maritime border for its Exclusive Economic Zone.
A dispute had erupted between Lebanon and Israel over the maritime border after the discovery of potential offshore energy reserves.
However, the Israeli map conflicts with Lebanon's proposed borders.
Beirut argues its map is in line with an armistice accord drawn up in 1949, an agreement which is not contested by Israel.
Kozakou-Marcoullis, who arrived at the head of a high-ranking delegation, said the aim of her visit is to follow-up the important agreements signed between the two countries and discuss the bilateral relations.
She noted that “the two countries are geographically close and have historical ties.”
“Cyprus is a member of the European Union and wants to become a bridge between Lebanon and the Union,” Kozakou-Marcoullis said.
Last week, Finance Minister Mohammed al-Safadi held a meeting with senior Cypriot officials in Nicosia.
Concerning the situation in Syria, the FM said that the issue will be on the discussions agenda as Lebanon and Cyprus are part of the region.
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