The President of the Republic of Cyprus Nicos Anastasiades participated today, Wednesday, August 19, 2020 at an extraordinary teleconference of the European Council on the situation in Belarus.
During his speech, President Anastasiades expressed his strong concern both for the process followed during the recent presidential elections in Belarus, and for the use of excessive force against the citizens. He stressed the support of the Republic of Cyprus for the immediate and decisive reaction of the EU, stressing that the same strong approach should be followed in foreign policy issues in relation to third countries that violate international law, the rule of law or human rights. He pointed out that the Union cannot have double standards; on the contrary it must be consistent in its principles and values and act not optionally or in the specific interests of the Member States. He also stressed the need for a fruitful dialogue between the political leadership of Belarus and the opposition and civil society, as well as an immediate end to the further use of force against the mass demonstrations in the country.
Pointing out that the EU must be present whenever democratic principles, the rule of law, human rights and international law are violated, the President of the Republic noted that he knows first hand what a violation of human rights and fundamental freedoms by Turkey means. As he had previously informed, Nicos Anastasiades raised again the issue of Turkish violations in the Exclusive Economic Zone of Cyprus, in Greece and in the wider eastern Mediterranean. President Anastasiades referred to the urgent need for a more dynamic reaction of the EU, taking additional measures and putting more pressure on Ankara to immediately end the Turkish aggression, which is a violation of the sovereignty and sovereign rights of two EU member states.
Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis on his part, also made a reference to the Turkish provocation and illegal actions.
Addressing an emergency teleconference of European Union leaders on developments in Belarus today, the Prime Minister referred to the “sad images of violent repression” circulating around the world and stressed the need to send a message of solidarity to the people of Belarus.
Agreeing with the position of the President of the Republic of Cyprus Nicos Anastasiades, that Europe cannot adopt double standards for Belarus and Turkey, Kyriakos Mitsotakis also stressed that the EU approach in terms of human rights and the rule of law cannot be different for Belarus and different for Turkey.
In the discussion that followed on the developments in the Eastern Mediterranean, the Prime Minister referred to the agreement on the delimitation of the EEZ of Greece with Egypt, an “absolutely legal and exemplary agreement”, as he said. Mr. Mitsotakis reiterated that Turkey “currently systematically violates all the rules of international law”, while presented to his European counterparts the facts that unfolded in the area of the illegal Turkish NAVTEX, analyzing the risks for the security of Europe itself.
The Prime Minister reiterated that Greece has never denied dialogue with Turkey. “Not, however,” he stressed, “as long as there is tension at sea, on land and in the air, and, in any case, only for our one difference, which is the delimitation of the sea zones”.
In the conclusions of the President of the European Council Charles Michel, where he refers to the Eastern Mediterranean, he noted that “some Member States have raised the issue of the situation in the Eastern Mediterranean and relations with Turkey. We are increasingly concerned about the escalating tensions and have emphasized the urgent need for de-escalation”.
“We expressed our full solidarity with Greece and Cyprus and recalled and reaffirmed our previous conclusions on illegal drilling activities. We agreed to return to these issues at our meeting in September. “All options will be on the table”, Charles Michel said./ibna