We are all well aware of the diplomatic moves in the Middle East centred on Riyadh recently, but interestingly this week it involves a country from just outside the Gulf region and indeed a Commonwealth country. This week a delegation from Cyprus led by the President Nicos Anastasiades will be visiting Riyadh for talks with King Salman. He will be the first Cypriot President to visit the Kingdom.
It is understood that these visits will cover both regional and international issues which are currently causing conflict in the Middle East together with the positions of both countries. In the recent past, the government in Nicosia, Cyprus has been critical of the Saudi Arabian bombing from Yemen. This visit is intended to be the first of many between the two countries and will include the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the two countries. This will set up a framework between the two foreign ministries to boost co-operation and allow for mutual support.
In addition to the President, the delegation also includes Minister of Foreign Affairs Ioannis Kasoulides, Defence Minister Christoforos Fokaides, Minister of Transport, Communications and Works Marios Demetriades and Minister of Energy, Commerce and Industry Georgios Lakkotrypis. They are believed to be having smaller talks with their Saudi counterparts, alongside the main discussions.
It is very interesting that the Minister for Energy is a member of the party, as it has recently been announced that hydrocarbon deposits have been discovered within the exclusive economic zone controlled by Cyprus. This will be of great interest to the Saudi Arabian government, and enhance Cyprus as being the destination for investment and potential trade, with its experience in this sector.
In addition to the memorandum, it is understood from the Cypriot Ambassador in Riyadh, there will also an agreement between the two countries to avoid double taxation, aiding trade between the two nations.