Mitsotakis: A Viable Solution to the Cyprus Problem Is Greece’s Top Priority

February 8, 2021

NICOSIA — "The end of the Turkish occupation and finding a viable solution [for Cyprus] are top priorities of Greek foreign policy and constitute a national issue. An act of justice for the Cypriot people," Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said on Monday in joint statements with Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades, following their meeting at the Presidential Mansion in Cyprus. The Greek premier, who is paying a working visit to Cyprus, was received by Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades.

"We remain committed to the decisions of the United Nations, as well as to the foundation of the European acquis throughout the territory of Cyprus", Mitsotakis stressed, explaining that "the only viable solution is a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation with political equality. A state with one international personality, sovereignty and citizenship and guaranteed territorial integrity for the Republic of Cyprus."

"Unfortunately, the stance adopted by Turkey and the Turkish-Cypriot leader is outside this framework, insisting on the groundless solution of two states, which is rejected by the UN and the EU. Turkey and Tatar should know that the resumption of a meaningful dialogue is conceivable only within the existing framework."

He added: "Greece is present at the exploratory talks for the delineation of maritime zones. We come with a sincere attitude and zero naivety. There, Turkey's consistency will be tested. Greece has demonstrated in practice that good neighbourly relations and respect for international law can resolve long-standing differences. We have proved it through the agreements with Italy and Egypt."

Mitsotakis in Cyprus: Greece and Cyprus Must Be Fully Coordinated

"I considered it my duty to be in Cyprus at this crucial conjucture to discuss at close hand the major challenges (Greece and Cyprus) are facing, together and coordinated at all times," stated Greek Prime Minister. 

In statements to Anastasiades before their meeting, Mitsotakis noted:

"As we enter a period densely packed with developments, and wait for the unofficial five-way conference to be convened, there is a self-evident need and obligation for the Hellenic and Cyprus' Republics to be fully coordinated in order to jointly demand that which you framed as the Cypriot people's desire: The reunion of the island in the context of the decisions already reached and in the context of UN Treaties, to ensure the peaceful co-existence of Greek-Cypriots and Turkish-Cypriots in a reunited and peaceful Cyprus. We will discuss these issues in detail and of course, review developments in the Eastern Mediterranean."

Anastasiades: I express Cypriot Hellenism's gratitude for Greece's steadfast interest in Cyprus

"Mr. Prime Minister, my dear Kyriakos, I want once again to welcome you to Cyprus and at the same time to thank you and express the gratitude of Cypriot Hellenism for the unflagging interest in Cyprus through the close contact that we have and for your sincere and abiding interest shown for everything that is happening and that concerns Cyprus, both by you personally and by your government and Greece's political leadership in general. It is something we believe is an essential element in the battle we are fighting for the liberation, the reunification and the creation of conditions that will allow the resolution and the peaceful co-existence with our compatriots the Turkish-Cypriots," stated Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades on Monday, as he welcomed Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis to the Presidential Mansion in Nicosia.

"We will have the opportunity to analyse in detail all the things that could, with our determination, occur during the unofficial conference that, as it appears, the UN secretary general is ready to call. Also we will review the conditions in the wider region, as well as the next EU Summit, so that we can face them together but also cooperate for the best possible outcome, not only for Greece and Cyprus but also for the wider region and the EU," Anastasiades said.

Cyprus solution cannot deviate from Security Council resolutions and EU values

"The solution of the Cyprus problem cannot deviate from the Security Council resolutions and European values," the President of the Republic of Cyprus, Nicos Anastasiades, said on Monday during joint statements with Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, following their meeting.

"Our common position is that the determination to engage in a process of dialogue does not negate the need for a creative climate," Anastasiades said, adding that "Turkey's contribution to creating a suitable climate is needed, by ending unilateral actions that will lead to the opposite of the expected result."

After thanking the Greek prime minister for Athens' support, Anastasiades noted: "We want to see Turkey proving through actions that it wants a sincere and constructive dialogue, far from unilateral actions. We want to believe that the EU will show solidarity. I thank my friend Kyriakos for the comprehensive briefing on the exploratory talks. It is our shared belief that dialogue should be limited to the official agenda."

He added: "The trilateral groups in the wider region prove that Greece and Cyprus are pillars of stability and peace, without excluding anyone."

Mitsotakis: The trilateral cooperation schemes are schemes of peace

"The trilateral cooperation schemes are schemes of peace and do not exclude anyone," Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis stressed on Monday.

Referring to the coronavirus vaccine, he said: "It is necessary for the EU to procure the vaccine doses agreed with the pharmaceutical companies as soon as possible."

He added that "we also discussed with Cyprus' president the issue of how we could facilitate travellers," referring to his proposal for a EU-wide vaccination certificate.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu and Turkish Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar have said last week that federation isn't feasible and that any arrangement should be negotiated between “two equal sovereign states.”

Mitsotakis said after talks with Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades that both Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots “must be aware that a resumption of a substantial dialogue is possible only within the existing and binding margins.”

Last week, British Foreign Minister Dominic Raab urged for flexibility and compromise to make the most of a new U.N. bid to restart Cyprus peace talks. Raab pledged support in helping to “break the logjam” that has blocked a peace deal for nearly a half-century, fueled tensions over offshore energy reserves and encumbered Turkey’s relationship with the European Union.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is expected to call a meeting next month that will bring together rival Greek and Turkish Cypriots as well as Cyprus’ “guarantors” — Greece, Turkey and Britain — to gauge the chances of resuming talks.

Greek Cypriots strongly reject any deal that would legitimize the east Mediterranean island nation’s ethnic partition.

Only Turkey recognizes a Turkish Cypriot declaration of independence in the island’s northern third where it keeps more than 35,000 troops. Although Cyprus is an EU member, only the Greek Cypriot southern part where the internationally recognized government is seated enjoys full membership benefits.

Key impediments to an accord include a Greek Cypriot rejection of a call by the minority Turkish Cypriots to be granted veto powers as well of a Turkey’s demand for a permanent troop presence and the continuation of military intervention rights. The last push for a peace deal in July 2017 collapsed amid much acrimony.



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