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February 24 2014

The visit of the president of the Ciprus Republic to Sant'Egidio

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The President of the Republic Mr Nicos Anastasiades met yesterday afternoon with the President of the Community of Sant’ Egidio, Professor Marco Impagliazzo, at the Headquarters of the Community.

The Sant’ Egidio Community is a powerful Roman Catholic Non-Governmental Organizations in the world, with a presence in 70 countries and with a rich humanitarian and mediation involvement on the African continent.

Among the issues discussed in the meeting were the interfaith dialogue, the bilateral relations between the Republic of Cyprus and the Sant’ Egidios Community and the protection of the religious and cultural heritage.

After the meeting, in his remarks to reporters, the President said that “it was an absolutely interesting meeting with the President of the Community of Sant’ Egidio, which performs extremely important work against hunger and against discrimination,” among other issues.

The President added that “there was interest about Cyprus and there was also a wish expressed for contributing to the restoration of religious monuments, one Orthodox and one of the Maronite Church, and I want to express my warm thanks to the Community, representatives of which will soon be in Cyprus and we will see how we can cooperate further,” noting that there was cooperation between them in the past as well.

Responding to an observation by a reporter concerning the position expressed by him earlier at the meeting with the President of the Community about Cyprus prospectively becoming a place of interfaith coexistence, President Anastasiades said that this can be done “if one takes into consideration that in Cyprus religion was never the issue that divided us from our Turkish Cypriot compatriots, but, unfortunately, the nationalism of the one or the other side or of both; Mistakes, which certainly both communities have paid very dearly for. Yes, we can be a model for peaceful coexistence, especially in a neighborhood that is so turbulent due to religious differences. I also mentioned to the President of Sant’ Egidio, and I have mentioned it this morning during my discussions at the Vatican as well, that they can use Cyprus as a base for the series of programs they are implementing for the benefit of the people that suffer.”

On his part, the President of the Community of Sant’ Egidio said that they discussed issues concerning peace and dialogue, as well as Cyprus’ contribution in the Community’s program in Africa.

He added that they also discussed issues concerning peacemaking through religion, noting that “religions today can help” in this direction. He then mentioned that “the Community is interested in supporting the restoration of one Orthodox and one Maronite Church in the occupied areas.”

He went on to say that through the relationship of the Community of Sant’ Egidio with Cyprus under the Presidency of President Anastasiades, the island can become a place of coexistence for religions.

Later in the evening, President Anastasiades and the members of the Cyprus delegation attended a dinner hosted by the Community of Sant’Egidio in honor of the President of the Republic.

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