LONDON — Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias had an extensive conversation with the British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab in London, where there was a coincidence of views on the Cyprus issue, but they also stressed the need to apply international law to resolve disputes, according to diplomatic sources on Wednesday.
The Greek request for this meeting, which took place on Tuesday, was accepted by the British side in a very short time, the same sources stressed. It is noted that the last visit of a European foreign minister to London took place last summer. The last visit by a Greek foreign minister to London was in 2013.
The British side showed great interest in the Greek positions regarding both relations with Turkey and the Cyprus issue. The British foreign secretary acknowledged that the UK's relations with Turkey are close, but noted that they are not competitive with its relations with Greece. On the contrary, he repeatedly stressed his readiness to convey messages to Ankara, when and if the need arises. He fully agreed with his Greek counterpart regarding the universal application of the International Law of the Sea, "in the Eastern Mediterranean, in the China Sea and in the Straits of Hormuz," as he pointed out.
Regarding the Cyprus issue, the diplomatic sources said that Raab repeated without hesitation that the only framework for resolving the issue is a bizonal, bicommunal federation, based on the UN Security Council Resolutions. In this context, the prospects of the next informal five-party meeting were examined. On his part, the Greek foreign minister reiterated Greece's positions and also pointed out that this meeting should not give the impression that this is the last chance for the resolution of the Cyprus issue.
Bilateral relations were examined, while the British side desires to conclude a strategic partnership agreement as soon as possible, thus signalling the strengthening of relations in the post-Brexit era. On his part, Dendias underlined the long-standing close relations between the two countries, emphasising the contribution of British politicians, the Greek community in the United Kingdom and the British community in Greece.
Regarding the bilateral strategic relationship, the Greek Foreign Minister referred to specific areas that could be included in a new agreement, such as education, culture, trade relations, the fight against terrorism, as well as migration and refugees. These areas could be developed within a framework agreement, under the coordinating role of the two foreign ministries.
In order to give an immediate follow-up to the development of bilateral relations, Raab accepted an invitation to visit Athens. This visit is expected, barring unexpected developments, to take place some time in March or April.
Finally, Dendias referred to the issue of the return of the Marbles of the Parthenon.