Kasoulides: ‘Barbaros’ must first withdraw before we return to the talks

Kasoulides: ‘Barbaros’ must first withdraw before we return to the talks

Nicosia, December 18, 2014/ Independent Balkan News Agency

Review Hari Stefanatos

The Cypriot side will not return to negotiations without the withdrawal of “Barbaros” from the territorial waters of Cyprus EEZ, said Minister of Foreign Affairs of Cyprus Ioannis Kasoulides, immediately after the first joint meeting of Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Energy of Greece and Cyprus, held today in Athens.

Kasoulides’ statement was also cosigned categorically by his counterpart Evangelos Venizelos. He also highlighted that Cyprus and Greece will continue their energy exploitation projects normally “without exclusions, unless some want to be excluded by their actions”, Kasoulides said.

After the end of the talks, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Evangelos Venizelos said that the first joint meeting was designed to encourage integrated cooperation between the two countries on energy issues and Maritime Affairs, to provide information exchange for the development of a dual strategy, which relates to external policy, security and energy, the exploitation of natural resources and growth prospects, employment and prosperity in both countries, but the common area is the eastern Mediterranean.

“We promote bilateral and multilateral cooperation schemes that have this peaceful, developmental character, and target political to stability and peace, in a region which is very close to the focus of so many crises”, said Deputy Prime.

Venizelos noted further that these developments are underway and added that “we are interested in integration projects of bilateral interest in European networks, which could be financed from EU funds”.

He said that during the meeting were also discussed developments in the wider region, not only the Eastern Mediterranean and South-East Europe, but also the European Union-Russia relations.

“These developments are very important, since energy is in the substrate of all designs and analyses throughout history, and this is true now”, he said and added that “we are not one-dimensional, we try to synthesise all the information and to analyse security” .

Venizelos reiterated that Greece always acts in close consultation with the President of Cyprus Nicos Anastasiades and the Cypriot government – and so it will continue, aiming always to defend the status of international legal identity, sovereignty and sovereign rights of Cyprus Republic, and recalled that a precondition for the resumption of negotiations on the Cyprus problem is the restoration of international legitimacy and the withdrawal of «Barbaros» from the Cypriot EEZ.

Finally, Evangelos Venizelos wished a speedy recovery to President Nicos Anastasiades.