Cyprus Pres. Christofias, Israel Pres. Peres
Cyprus Pres. Christofias, Israel Pres. PeresIsrael news photo: GPO / Office of the Presid

President Demetris Christofias of Cyprus assured President Shimon Peres Monday in Jerusalem that his nation would stand strong in its support of Israel.

The president of Cyprus, who arrived this week on his first state visit to Israel, is leading a delegation of 60 Cypriot business people. The two presidents met with news media following their meeting.

Cyprus is the first country to officially declare it will not cooperate with efforts by various anti-Israel movements and countries to send flotillas to violate Israel's blockade of Gaza. Peres thanked his counterpart for also being the first country to take concrete steps to prevent flotillas from leaving its ports.

“Terror activities in Gaza are unacceptable,” stated Christofias, “and therefore we have prevented the flotillas from leaving.”

During the second half of 2012, Cyprus is slated to serve as the rotating president of the European Union. “We are ready to contribute within the framework of the European Union to the peace process in the region,” stated the Cypriot president. “Consider us a bridge to advancing the peace process, and economic and diplomatic cooperation with Europe.”

Cyprus supports the “acceleration of the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians,” he added. “We support the establishment of an independent Palestinian state side by side with Israel, as well as Israel's right to security and stability. “We are very well aware of the right of Israel to live next to peace-loving neighbors,” he said.

Christofias commented that the terrorist massacre of five members of the Fogel family -- including a 3-month-old baby -- in the Samaria Jewish community of Itamar last Friday was committed by “people lacking any humanity and is intended as a provocation against efforts to achieve peace and security in the region.

“In the name of the people of Cyprus, allow me to offer my condolences to the president and to the families,” he said.