Nicosia October 8, 2015/ Independent Balkan News Agency
By Kyriacos Kyriacou
Greece strives for a solution to the Cyprus problem and expresses solidarity to the efforts of Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades to bring about a settlement that would reunite the island that has been divided since the 1974 Turkish invasion, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and Minister of Foreign Affairs Nicos Kotzias said.
In a speech concluding the three-day parliamentary debate on the government’s policy statements on Wednesday, Tsipras said Cyprus’ problem and he are of the same age and pledged that Greece will continue its efforts along with the Cypriot government in international organisations for a just settlement.
Noting that the election of Mustafa Akkinci at the leadership of the Turkish Cypriot community is positive, Tsipras underlined however that “we cannot forget that above all the Cyprus problem is one of invasion and occupation.”
Therefore, he added, any solution should terminate the presence of the Turkish army in the northern occupied part of the island.
On his part, Foreign Minister Kotzias stressed that for Greece Cyprus is the greatest national issue, recalling that Athens warmly supports the efforts to bring about a settlement and welcomes rapprochement between the two communities.
“We also welcomed the fact that we have convinced international mediators to take into account the rights of the three minorities in Cyprus (Armenians, Maronites and Latins) which have been forgotten for decades,” he added.
Kotzias went on to say that the Turkish Cypriots “should obtain all those rights that would make them feel that this island is also their home, the place where the new generation of T/c would have a right to dream, to live and raise family in the future.”
At the same time, the head of Greek diplomacy stressed the Greek Cypriots should obtain the paramount right the feeling of security towards the occupation forces, which should leave.
“There can be no solution to the Cyprus problem with the presence of occupation troops. This would not be solution, but a repetition of what lead us to 1974,” he underlined.
“And we should get over with guarantees. On April the Greek government courageously has put forward the basic fundamental problem in Cyprus,” he said, recalling the government stressed that Cyprus problem is not problem of distribution of natural resources from the natural gas discovered in the island`s exclusive economic zone.
“And the guarantor powers, and above all I refer to Turkey, have been violating the treaties of London and Zurich and are not entitled to have guarantor competencies, because new regulations, the international law does no allow the use of force against and the occupation of a third country,” he went on to say.
Kotzias underlined that the Cyprus problem is a significant criterion governing the development of ties between Turkey and Cyprus.
But he noted that Greece promotes the strengthening of cooperation and dialogue with Turkey.
“We are promoting confidence building measures, but at the same time we are not turning a blind eye and we take note of the provocative actions in the Aegean, taking measures and the necessary actions on an international level.”
The Republic of Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37% of its territory. UN-led talks resumed in May this year, with a view to reunite the island under a federal political system.