Saudi foreign minister determined to bolster Cyprus ties

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Nicos Anastasiades, Ibrahim Bin Abdulaziz Al-Assaf

Cyprus’ president Nicos Anastasiades, right, and Saudi Foreign Minister Ibrahim Bin Abdulaziz Al-Assaf talk during their meeting at the presidential palace in capital Nicosia, Cyprus, Wednesday Sept. 11, 2019. (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias)

NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) — Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister says his country is keen to explore ways of strengthening relations with Cyprus given the European Union member country’s geographic location and long-standing ties with the Arab world.

Ibrahim al-Assaf’s visit to the east Mediterranean island nation on Wednesday where he also met with Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades was the first by a top Saudi official.

Al-Assaf said there’s “high interest” in developing relations “on all fronts.”

Cypriot Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides said the two men agreed to focus initially on tourism and investment.

Christodoulides noted a shared understanding to jointly address challenges like terrorism, the rise of extremism and climate change.

The Cypriot foreign minister said EU-Saudi cooperation is key to dealing with regional challenges and that Cyprus would continue advocating that in Brussels.

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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