The President of the Republic of Cyprus, Nicos Anastasiades, received today late in the afternoon SYRIZA-Progressive Alliance chief and former Prime Minister of Greece, Alexis Tsipras.
The meeting took place in Athens, where President Anastasiades is paying a one-day visit.
During their talks, the President of the Republic stressed, inter alia, that “we retain a close cooperation with Prime Minister Mitsotakis; we try to be coordinated to achieve the best possible results.
What concerns everyone today is the provocations, on the one hand, that become increasingly acute as time goes by and tolerance intensifies on behalf of Europe and other international actors, while the biggest challenge before the European Council was the conversion of Hagia Sophia, a jewel in the world’s cultural heritage, in a mosque. This was perhaps evidence of how much they (Turkey) are harmonizing with their status as a member state and at the same time a warning, a powerful ‘bell’ ringing to remind Europeans how they should react as long as tolerance is observed.
And I must say that the Greek Government is trying and we are cooperating in this area, with the hope that those who believe that, with measures of good will or diplomacy in the sense of tolerance and effort, this can yield results. What I hope is that the efforts will bear fruit. We support dialogue, Greece and Cyprus are states that have never sought to escalate the crisis. Unfortunately, we have a neighbor who, instead of behaving like a European, is behaving like an international agitator”.
President Anastasiades also pointed out Cyprus’s determination to engage in a dialogue (on the Cyprus issue), as long as the illegal actions stop, given that “under the threat of gunboats you cannot have a dialogue hoping for the positions of both the Greek and the Greek Cypriot side to be heard”.
For his part, Alexis Tsipras said that Turkey’s decision on Hagia Sophia was both provocative and offensive to Hellenism.
He added that, regarding Turkey’s provocations against Greece and Cyprus, “I consider it positive that even with a long delay, Greece is calling on the EU to work out sanctions against Turkey for this aggression, something for which we have fought and achieved for Cyprus regarding the activities in the Cypriot EEZ one year ago, and it is time that our partners assume their responsibilities as well.
This is not a bilateral, but a European problem. The Greek-Turkish dialogue must be re-launched on this basis and there must be maximum coordination”.
“I consider it an important development to resume talks to explore a just and lasting solution on the basis of UN resolutions on the Cyprus issue, picking up where we left from in this effort, and I am talking about the Guterres framework as the only basis upon which this dialogue can resume”.
The meeting was attended by Government Spokesman Mr. Kyriakos Kousios, the Ambassador of Cyprus in Athens Mr. Kyriakos Kenevezos, and the Director of the Diplomatic Office of the President of the Republic of Cyprus, Mr. Kyriakos Kouros.
The President of the Republic returns to Cyprus late tonight. /ibna