What was said after the Greek Prime Minister’s meeting with the Cypriot President
By Michalis Michael
Greece is a staunch supporter and a provider for Cyprus at every step, and most importantly within the EU, since it is ultimately Europe’s interests as well that Turkey’s stance directly affects, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said today, after welcoming at the Maximos Mansion the President of Cyprus Mr. Nicos Anastasiades, accompanied by the members of the Cypriot delegation.
During the meeting held in the Prime Minister’s Office in Athens at noon, the Greek Prime Minister, addressing President Anastasiades, stated: “I welcome you to Athens, on a highly symbolic visit. You are the first head of state I welcome in Greece as the new Government’s Prime Minister, but it is also a very meaningful visit, since the Cyprus issue is once again found at a turning point.
I look forward on you briefing me on the latest developments, your contacts with the Turkish-Cypriot leader and the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy. I know, however, that the focus of our discussion will be on our constant concern for terminating the occupation and abolishing the anachronistic guarantees in Cyprus. I understand that the obstacles the other side raises when it comes to the resumption of negotiations do not allow for progress to be made, despite your extremely constructive attitude, while at the same time Turkey’s offensive behavior off the coast of Cyprus continues to provoke. Accompanied by a conflicting rhetoric, it is also indicative of its international isolation.
Nonetheless, our strategic choices remain firm and the effort goes on; and I want you to know, my dear Nicos, you and the whole Cypriot Hellenism, that Greece always stands by Cyprus including this arduous effort to reunite the island, for its rights to be shown respect. Greece is a staunch supporter and provider at every step, and most importantly within the EU, since it is ultimately Europe’s interests as well that Turkey’s stance directly affects.
Today, we will have the opportunity, alongside our partners, to coordinate our actions ahead of the UN General Assembly, a forum that is always the right place to raise our partners’ awareness, to strengthen Cyprus’s foundations; and, on this occasion, we can also discuss our upcoming trilateral meeting in Egypt on October 8, so that together the three countries, friends of each other, can step up our efforts for stability, for development in the pivotal region of the eastern Mediterranean.
Once again welcome to Greece and welcome to your home. ”
On his behalf, President Anastasiades commented that “I really feel the need, first and foremost, to express the gratitude of the Cypriot people for all that you have pointed out, for the fact that Greece remains a constant supporter in the national affair of Cyprus; and I describe it as national, for it concerns a great portion of Hellenism, without overlooking the fact that it certainly affects all Cypriots, but also my compatriot Turkish-Cypriots.
As has been correctly pointed out, we will be given the opportunity first to inform and secondly to reflect, in the light of yesterday’s unacceptable statements by the Turkish Foreign Minister, which unfortunately highlights and proves the Greek-Cypriot community’s strong concern, that of the Turkish-Cypriot community being completely controlled by Turkey. It is indeed at this point that some of the claims raise concerns regarding the future of what we seek to build, of the viability of the solution, its functionality and, in general, the justification for claiming the continuation of the guarantees, of the permanent presence of occupying troops, etc., in other words for the control to continue, even after finding a solution that should be mutually acceptable by both communities.
We have taken steps; we have created the conditions for the terms of reference to be agreed upon. Unfortunately, what followed, as confirmed by yesterday’s statements by Cavusoglu, at some point raises concerns about Ankara’s intentions, but also about the prospect of finally resuming a meaningful dialogue, in order to reach the desired solution.
We will have the opportunity to discuss the coordination of actions both in the UN and in the EU, and of course to develop a common policy, not to favor the Greek Cypriots, but rather for those conditions that will give us peace, stability and perspective in Cyprus to be enforced, so that a proper, functional and viable solution to the Cyprus problem can lead to better relations between Greece and Turkey.
I want to thank you once again for the warm welcome, but also for your firm stance when it comes to supporting the Cypriot Hellenism that constantly faces challenges, and in general when it comes to the need for a solution to finally be reached, that will de-escalate the tensions in the region”.
Following the meeting, President Anastasiades and the Prime Minister of Greece, alongside the members of the two delegations, sat down for a working lunch.
On behalf of Greece, the meeting between the Greek Prime Minister and the Cypriot President was attended by Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias, Deputy Minister to the Prime Minister and Government Spokesman Stelios Petsas, Director of the Diplomatic Office of the Prime Minister Alexandra Papadopoulou, Director of the European Affairs Office of the Prime Minister’s Secreteriat-General Dimitris Mitropoulos, Secretary General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Themistocles Demiris, Director of the Diplomatic Office of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Ioannis Tsaoussis, as well as by Cyprus’ A2 Director Konstantinos Kollias.
The Cypriot delegation consists of Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides, Ambassador of Cyprus in Athens Kyriakos Kenevezos, Government Spokesman Mr Prodromos Prodromou, Deputy Minister to the President Vasilis Palmas, Director of the President’s Office Mr. Petros Dimitriou, Director of the Diplomatic Bureau of the President Mr. Kyriacos Kouros, as well as of the Officer of the President’s Diplomatic Bureau Mr. Pantelis Pantelides. /ibna