“I am simply amazed by the beauty this country offers” – Stavros Avgoustides,Chargé d’Affaires a.i. Embassy of the Republic of Cyprus
In 1995 he graduated from Arizona State University (USA) from where he obtained a BA degree in Political Science and Economics. In 1996 he graduated from the University of Kent, (London Center of International Relations and European Studies) with a MA degree in International Relations and European Studies. He is currently working in obtaining a Master’s in Business Administration degree with emphasis in Public Management from Henley College.
Mr. Avgoustides joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Cyprus in 1997. He has served in the Embassy of the Republic of Cyprus in Damascus, Syria (1998-2001) where he was posted as a Counselor and Consul. From 2002 to 2006 he is posted as a Consul at the Embassy of the Republic of Cyprus in Athens, Greece.
He has also worked at the Consular and Protocol Dept. (1997-1998) and at the European Union Dept. at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Nicosia.
1. Since when have you been an Ambassador in Bulgaria? What are your impressions of our country?
I’ve been posted since August 2006, as the Chargé d’ Affaires a.i. at the Embassy of the Republic of Cyprus in Sofia. That is over a year now, and I must admit that my family and I we’re extremely happy to be living in this beautiful country.
We have visited the city of Plovdiv twice, the Rila Monastery, the Bansko Ski resort, and Borovets. We’re simply amazed by the beauty this country offers, its great potential and the hospitality of the Bulgarian people and their friendly attitude towards foreigners. We’re looking forward in exploring more of Bulgaria’s beauties in the near future.
2. What is the resemblance between our and your country and do the Bulgarians and Cypriots have any resemblances?
The most important characteristic that Cypriots and Bulgarians have in common other than religion and that both countries are members and responsible partners in the European Union, is the indisputable fact that the people of both countries share the same fundamental values of freedom and democracy, and the same objectives.
3. Tell us more about your country?
Cyprus, situated in the north-eastern part of the Mediterranean Sea, according to Mythology, is the birthplace of the goddess of love and beauty, Aphrodite. The island is both an ancient land, with an eleven thousand year-old history and civilization as well as a young independent republic since 1960. Its geographic location at the crossroads of three continents- Europe, Asia and Africa- and at the meeting point of great civilizations, has been one of the factors influencing the course of the island’s history throughout the centuries. The population of Cyprus is 793.100 of whom 80,7% are Greek Cypriots (including Armenians, Maronites and Latins), 87,600 (11,0%) are Turkish Cypriots and 66,000 (8,3%) foreigners residing in Cyprus. The population does not include over 115.000 Turkish settlers illegally residing in the Turkish-occupied part of Cyprus.
Major cities are: the capital of the island is Nicosia with a population of 206.200 (end of 2001) in the sector controlled by the government of the Republic of Cyprus. It is situated roughly in the centre of the island and is the seat of government as well as the main business centre. The 1974 Turkish invasion and occupation of 36 % of the island’s territory literally cut the capital in half. After the fall of the Berlin Wall, Nicosia remains the only militarily divided capital in Europe. The second largest town is Limassol in the south, which has around 161.200 (end of 2001) inhabitants. It is Cyprus’ main commercial port and an important tourist resort. Larnaca in the south-east of the island, has a population of 72.000 (end of 2001) and is the island’s second commercial port and an important tourist resort. Paphos in the south-west with a population of about 47.300 (end of 2001) is a fast developing tourist resort, home to the island’s second International Airport and an attractive fishing harbour.
In the Turkish occupied area, the town of Ammochostos (Famagusta), the hub of the pre-1974 tourist industry, is now a ghost town, deserted since 1974 when its inhabitants fled from advancing Turkish troops. The towns of Keryneia (Kyrenia), another important tourist resort on the north coast, and Morphou, situated in the important agricultural area of western Messaoria, are now inhabited almost exclusively by Turkish Cypriots and Turkish settlers as the Greek Cypriots were forced in 1974 to abandon their homes and properties and move to the south under the threat of guns and armament of the Turkish occupation army.
4. What is the direction in which you and the embassy represented by you work for development of our relations?
The basic philosophy of the Embassy of the Republic of Cyprus in Sofia is to promote, expand and encourage political, cultural, economic and trade relations between Cyprus and Bulgaria.
At the same the Cyprus diplomatic Mission in Bulgaria seeks to promote the objectives and protect the interests of Cyprus and its citizens in the Republic of Bulgaria. We strive to represent Cyprus in a way that will make every Cypriot proud.
The Embassy of the Republic of Cyprus in Sofia is also devoted to helping Cypriot citizens and Cypriot organizations living and working or visiting in Bulgaria. The bilateral agreements that have been signed by the two countries cover cooperation in a broad range of sectors. The Embassy works to promote Cyprus’ commercial interests in Bulgaria, as well as bilateral trade and economic relations. I am taking this opportunity to strongly underline the need for enhancing investment between the two countries. Although Cyprus may has a small domestic market, its location near the Gulf and Europe puts it near a huge market and this is something that may interest Bulgarian businesses. The Embassy of the Republic of Cyprus in Sofia, is aggressively promoting the idea of Cyprus private-sector investment in Bulgaria. Cyprus values Bulgaria as a market with great potential and as a reliable trade partner. Our two countries are partners not just in principle, but in practice. I might, for instance, mention the effectiveness of the combined EU stance on the Bulgarian nurses case in Libya, or the strong Cypriot stance towards the EU accession of the Republic of Bulgaria and the opening of the Cypriot labor market to all Bulgarians without restrictions.
5. What is your day like?
My daily life combines the hectic professional and social life of a diplomat and my personal life of love and devotion toward my family. My favourite moment during the day is without doubt when I return home from work to my beautiful wife Daniela and to our 6 month old little daughter Marisa.
6. What would you like to wish our readers?
I wish to all your readers good health and happiness.