Samaras Says He’ll Stand By Cyprus

ATHENS – Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, meeting here with Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades, said he will continue to support Cyprus in reunification talks with Turkey.

“Greece and Cyprus will continue until the end our peaceful common struggle to overturn the fait accompli of the Turkish occupation,” Samaras said after the talks at the Maximos Mansion.

“Greece will continue to support the constructive efforts of the Republic of Cyprus and Nicos Anastasiades both in terms of the process and the essence of the negotiations to solve the Cyprus problem,” he added.

Anastasiades was accompanied by Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides and government spokesman Nicos Christodoulides.

The meeting comes as Cyprus and Turkey are being pressed by the United Nations, United States and international community to find a way to re-unite the island divided since an unlawful 1974 invasion by Turkey, which has set up a so-called republic on the northern third it controls but which no other country in the world recognizes.

There are concerns in Cyprus that the peace talks are stalling and there is disappointment that the European Union has not taken a more active role to help the negotiations.

Anastasiades, eager to find a settlement, made pre-talks concessions that angered one of his coalition members so much they broke from the government but even that hasn’t mollified Turkish-Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu, a hardliner who has offered little in return.

The two have had fruitless meetings and Anastasiades is already so frustrated that he said he fears the island’s partition will be permanent. Turkey is eager to get into the EU but won’t recognize Cyprus, which is, nor will allow Cypriot ships or planes in Turkey.

Anastasiades will stay for a second day and is due to hold separate meetings with the leaders of Greece’s parliamentary parties on July 29th.