Greece Names First Female Ambassador to Cyprus

Embassy of Greece in central Nicosia Republic of Cyprus. (Photo by Wikipedia/ΣτηρίζωΚύπρο - Own work)

ATHENS – After being lambasted for not having enough women in the Cabinet, Greece’s new ruling New Democracy is sending the country’s first woman to the critical post of Ambassador to Cyprus as Turkey is ramping up provocations in the Aegean and East Mediterranean.

Ekaterini Xagorari is set to succeed Elias Fotopoulos, who has been post in the post in Nicosia since April, 2015, making her the firt female in the job since the establishment of the country’s republic in 1960, said The Cyprus Mail.

She isn’t expected to take over for a few months, however, as Greece and Cyprus are trying to get Turkey to stop drilling in the island’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ,) backed by the European Union, which has imposed soft sanctions, and with support from the United States.

Xagorari is being transferred from the Embassy in the Australian capital Canberra, where she has been serving since 2016, to the Embassy in Nicosia. Fotopoulos is being transferred from the Nicosia Embassy to the Foreign Ministry headquarters, in Greece.

She joined the Greek Diplomatic Service in 1990 and between 2008-13 she was the Deputy Head of Mission in the Embassy of Greece in Nicosia, with an extensive background in the politics there and with Turkey, which has unlawfully occupied the northern third since a 1974 invasion.

She served before in various posts in Germany, Turkey, the Permanent Mission of Greece to the United Nations, as well as in various Directorates in the Foreign Ministry. She was the Consul of Greece in Munich, Germany, between 1994-1998, and then in the Greek Consulate in Edirne, Turkey, until 2001. Between 2005-2008 she worked in the Embassy of Greece in Ankara and from 2013 to 2015 she was the Deputy Director at the Greek Foreign Ministry’s Directorate for Turkey, giving her a breadth and depth of knowledge about that country during a time when tension has been rising with Greece and Cyprus.

Greece and Turkey, along with the former Colonial ruler the United Kingdom, which still has a military base there, are guarantors of security for the divided island, along with a United Nations peacekeeping force that’s been there for decades as well.