Nicosia, January 25, 2016/Independent Balkan News Agency
By Kyriacos Kyriacou
The newly-elected leader of Greece’s New Democracy Party Kyriakos Mitsotakis began a round of contacts in Cyprus on Monday. It is his first official visit in Cyprus after his election.
Mitsotakis, son of the former Greek Prime Minister Constantinos Mitsotakis, was received at the palace by President Nicos Anastasiades with whom he said he had a substantial briefing on developments in the Cyprus issue. The two men also discussed issues of economic interest, Mitsotakis said.
“We also discussed general developments in the wider region. I had the opportunity to express to the president my deep concern about developments on the migration issues and to highlight the fact that until now Turkey does not seem to respect its commitments on the need to limit refugee flows from Turkey to the Aegean,” he said.
Mitsotakis was referring to a €3bn deal Ankara made with the EU in November 2015 to try and stem the flow of migrants through its territory. Athens has said on several occasions this year that Ankara was not doing enough to stem the flow, leaving Greece to pick up the slack.
Earlier Mitsotakis met House President Yiannakis Omirou. Afterwards he said that his visit was not just ceremonial or symbolic but was a “visit of substance”.
“We are monitoring the latest developments in Cyprus with optimism but without ignoring the great difficulties that are still ahead of us,” he said but expressed the hope that this time a solution could be found.
He also praised Cyprus for its success in handling the economic meltdown and its upcoming exit from the bailout programme saying: “Unfortunately we cannot say the same for Greece.” He added that Cyprus should serve as an example for his own country.
Mitsotakis also met the heads of the political parties in Nicosia on Monday. Afterwards, he was scheduled to visit the Greek army camp (ELDYK) and then place a wreath at the “Filakismena Mnimata” (Incarcerated Graves), in capital Nicosia.