The latest developments in the Eastern Mediterranean were at the heart of discussions between the Foreign Ministers of Cyprus and Greece, Nikos Christodoulides and Nikos Dendias respectively, on Wednesday in Nicosia.
As Nikos Christodoulides stated in his statements, “we discussed all the developments, evaluated the results of the recent European Affairs Council and exchanged views on the next steps”. For his part, Nikos Dendias stressed that “Greece continues to support Cyprus firmly in its request to impose sanctions against Turkey’s ongoing illegal activities”.
“I have said it before and I’ll say it again; contacts and coordination take place between us and our partners on a daily basis. Especially due to the developments in the wider Eastern Mediterranean region as they emerge from the reviewing behavior of Turkey, the coordination and the exchange of views are daily”, said Christodoulidεs.
The Greek Foreign Minister briefed his Cypriot counterpart “in detail” on the state of affairs in relation to the resumption of exploratory contacts between Greece and Turkey, which “we really hope will begin to be productive and lead to substantial developments, while we hope the same for the recent visit of the US Secretary of State to Greece”.
Nikos Christodoulides, “despite the negative developments in the region due to the behavior and approach of Turkey”, reiterated once again that “there is no room for deadlocks in diplomacy”.
“The dialogue”, he continued, “provided that there is a genuine will and willingness from all – and away from gunboat diplomacy – can yield results, and we really hope that such conditions will prevail throughout the Eastern Mediterranean region, that would facilitate dialogue and allow the resolution of any disputes through it”.
“Speaking of the EU and developments, as two Member States that truly believe in the future of a strong Europe, we believe that developments in the region will largely determine the future of Euro-Turkish relations since, as we have repeatedly said, the 27 have agreed that Turkey’s behavior in the Eastern Mediterranean affects the full range of Euro-Turkish relations”.
“All this”, said Mr. Christodoulides, “will be discussed tomorrow night at the European Council. The President of the Republic will have a brief meeting with the President of the European Council. I want to assure you that in view of tomorrow’s debate, there is full coordination on the desired goals between Athens and Nicosia”.
The Cypriot Foreign Minister stressed that “our approach, as we have repeatedly stated, and not only in relation to Turkey but with regard to all the states for which we are called upon to make decisions, must be twofold: A policy of ‘carrot and whip’, where there can be co-operation where there really is infrastructure and will, but also a substantial response when basic EU principles and values are violated”.
“And, at EU level, we must be consistent, determined, credible and on equal footing”, he said.
The two ministers also discussed the Cyprus issue, with Nikos Christodoulides reiterating the readiness of the Greek Cypriot side to resume talks from where they were left at Crans Montana, immediately after the election process in the occupied territories.
“In this context,” he said, “we welcome the readiness of the Secretary-General of the United Nations to take the initiative to resume talks. We consider it possible to resume substantive talks which will lead to a positive outcome on the basis of the agreed solution, provided that the talks take place in the appropriate environment, as the Secretary-General of the United Nations himself calls, away from efforts for faits-accomplis either on the ground, as we see with the enclosed city of Famagusta, or at sea with the illegal actions of Turkey. “hey are undoubtedly operating against the interests of the Cypriot people, the Greek Cypriots and the Turkish Cypriots, but also in the wider region”, Christodoulidis concluded.
For his part, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Greece Nikos Dendias said that “Greece continues to support Cyprus firmly in its request for new registrations in the European sanctions list of persons and entities involved in the ongoing illegal activities of Turkey in the Cypriot EEZ”.
This, after all, is the agreed European framework, he added, noting that “at the same time, it remains necessary to maintain an open perspective of imposing economic vetoes on Turkey in the event that Turkish delinquency continues”.
“Greece has requested a list of measures so that Turkey becomes aware that, if its illegal actions continue, there will be consequences”, he said. /ibna