It is a great pleasure and privilege to be here tonight addressing the official opening ceremony of the Eighth Cyprus – Russian Festival. I have of course attended the Festival in the past, but I am particularly honored to be part of this wonderful event in my capacity as President of the Republic of Cyprus.
The fact that this Festival is being held for the 8th consecutive year, attracting each year more than 10,000 people, manifests that it has become a firmly established traditional festivity in the hearts of both Russians and Cypriots and one through which our solid bonds of friendship are celebrated.
By celebrating the aspects of the rich culture and traditions of our peoples, we reaffirm the deep-rooted quality of everything that unites us. Your prolific presence here provides more than ample attestation to this fact.
Our countries share a long-standing partnership at all levels and in all fields: a partnership founded on concrete and deeply-entrenched historical, political, cultural and religious ties.
This is a partnership greatly valued by the Government and the people of Cyprus and one that we actively aim to upgrade even further. My presence here is tangible proof of my Government’s commitment to further the partnership to new levels.
At the same time, for many of our Russian friends, Cyprus has become your second home, while for many Cypriots your ties with Russia go far beyond business and entrepreneurial activities, embracing strong interpersonal links and respect for this magnificently diverse and rich-in-heritage country.
We value immensely this aspect of our relations and we are delighted by the natural affinity shared between Cypriots and Russians. Affinity between our peoples is a symbolic emblem of our relations, relations that have proven resilient and durable even when tried and tested through the unprecedented dire economic situation which Cyprus currently faces.
In this respect, it is pertinent to address our Russian friends present here and convey that I wholly acknowledge and share their understandable bitterness and apprehension caused by the coercive manner with which the Eurogroup Agreement was imposed on my Government.
I am also fully aware of the difficulties they are facing, as well as the financial losses they have suffered. It is for these reasons that I wish to assure you that as a State, and, particularly, as a Government, we will do all that is humanly possible to alleviate, to the greatest extent possible, the impact of the Eurogroup Agreement, especially as regards the compensation of part of the losses which shareholders of banks, holders of debt securities and depositors have suffered.
This is all the more applicable in order to demonstrate our friendly feelings, gratitude and recognition of your valuable contribution to Cyprus and its economy.
Concurrently, I cannot but express my satisfaction and gratitude for the vote of confidence, trust and faith which the vibrant Russian community residing in Cyprus, as well as the Russian Business Community, has since the Eurogroup Agreement been displaying to Cyprus and its economic and banking system.
This in turn demonstrates that the principle of solidarity will continue to characterize the relations between our two countries and also proves that, contrary to unfounded rumours circulated in specific directions, Cyprus and Russia will continue to enjoy a mutually beneficial partnership, a partnership which has a prosperous future.
Before concluding, allow me to extend my sincere congratulations and appreciation to the co-organisers of this event: the Russian Embassy, and particularly the tireless contribution of Ambassador Shumskiy for the 5th consecutive year, the Russian newspaper ‘VESTNIK KIPRA’ and the Municipality of Limassol. At the same time I also feel obliged to thank the sponsors of the Festival for their most valuable contribution in support of the Festival.
I am confident that, just as in the past, you will have a memorable evening and you will enjoy the exhibitions, shows, concerts and dance and song performances by almost 1,000 performers from Russia and Cyprus during the Festival’s 8-hour non-stop programme of the Festival.
Spaceeba Balshoye, Thank you.