Cyprus backs India for UN seat, discuss nuclear energy


Nicosia : India and Cyprus, a member of the European Union, Friday enhanced their bilateral ties by signing three agreements and discussed civilian nuclear cooperation as Nicosia came out strongly in support of New Delhi's claim for a permanent seat in the UN Security Council.

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External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee, who began his visit to Cyprus Thursday night, part of his four-nation tour that also takes him to Libya, Belgium and Germany, called on President Tassos Papadopoulos and discussed with him a host of bilateral, regional and global issues.

The two countries signed three agreements on abolition of visa requirement for diplomatic and official passport holders; combating international terrorism, organised vrime and illicit drug trafficking; and executive programme on cultural, educational and scientific Cooperation.

Mukherjee discussed with Cyprus Foreign Minister Yiorgos Lillikas closer cooperation in trade and investment, knowledge-based industries, pharmaceuticals and energy, the external affairs ministry said here in a statement Friday.

"India has always supported Cyprus in its quest for unity and territorial integrity," Mukherjee said.

"Cyprus, in turn, has always been supportive of India's interests including in such important areas as our quest for permanent membership of the UN Security Council, our desire to expand our civil nuclear energy programme and our fight against terrorism," he added.

"Cyprus reiterated their strong support for India's candidature as a Permanent Member for UN Security Council," the minister stressed.

Possibilities of Cyprus playing a useful and cooperative role for promoting India-EU relations in political and economic terms were discussed, the ministry statement said.

Other issues discussed included India's civil nuclear programme, terrorism, climate change and developments in SAARC.

Mukherjee heads to Libya on a three-day visit Saturday.