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Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister said his country was 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, AP reported.

Ibrahim al-Assaf’s visit to the east Mediterranean island nation, 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.”

Speaking during a joint press conference Al-Assaf said the Kingdom “supports the legitimacy and sovereignty of Cyprus and the decisions by the United Nations and hopes that the two sides will solve the problem peacefully.”

Cypriot Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides, in turn, noted a shared understanding to jointly address challenges like terrorism, the rise of extremism, and climate change.

“Taking into consideration recent developments in our Exclusive Economic Zone and particularly the illegal activities and aggressive behavior of Turkey, the solidarity and support of countries such as Saudi Arabia is indispensable,” Christodoulides said, Arab News reported.

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