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Cyprus Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides (left) and Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma

Image of Cyprus Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides and Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma

Commonwealth offers practical support to Cyprus

25 April 2013
Cyprus Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides meets with Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma

Cyprus Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides and Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma met in London on 24 April 2013 to discuss ways through which the 54-member organisation can assist Cyprus in dealing with its current financial troubles and build resilience to deal with future crises.

The minister paid a courtesy call on the Secretary-General at Marlborough House, the headquarters of the Commonwealth Secretariat in London. Mr Kasoulides said that while Cyprus was a member of the European Union, it wanted to continue to play an active role in the Commonwealth, as membership in the two families was not mutually exclusive. Cyprus has been a member of the Commonwealth for more than 50 years and a longstanding supporter of the association.

The Secretary-General acknowledged that this was a time of tremendous economic strain for Cyprus, and that the Commonwealth family needed to give the country all the support possible. He said: “We have been actively considering options for assisting Cyprus since the crisis unfolded. Our meeting today allowed us to explore more concretely how we can best help.”

Mr Sharma said that the Commonwealth is internationally recognised for the way it magnifies the voices and addresses, practically, the concerns of the small and vulnerable. The visit took place at a time when the Commonwealth Secretariat was hosting a meeting of very small states.

“The Commonwealth wants to make a difference. We have practical debt management tools. We have a global network of technical assistance which we can tap into. We can raise the global profile and attention given to Cyprus’s needs. The role we can play is not just about finding ways to help address the situation at present, but to help build resilience for the future,” he added.

Mr Kasoulides welcomed the Commonwealth offer to help and said Cyprus would explore specific areas where the assistance can be applied.

“The Commonwealth has a long-standing record of helping members in need. Although we have received financial support from the Euro zone, there are other areas of a technical nature where the Commonwealth can be of great help,” he said.

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