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29-07-2019 13:47

Statements to the Press by the President of the Republic and the Greek Prime Minister

The very close relation between Cyprus and Greece, the steadfast counter support in tackling mutual challenges, were underlined today by the President of the Republic, Mr Nicos Anastasiades, and the Prime Minister of the Hellenic Republic, Mr Kyriakos Mitsotakis. The Greek Premier is carrying out his first official visit after his election to the Premiership of Greece.

Speaking to the Press, at the Presidential Palace, after consultations of the delegations of both countries, President Anastasiades said inter alia:

«We aim to find a solution that will not create winners or losers and at the same time will secure the functioning, viability and continuation of the new state of affairs, that will safeguard the human rights of all legal citizens, in full equality but in a way that will not create more benefits in favour of the one at the expense of the other community. At the same time, it was also a mutual belief, that it is our duty and obligation to defend the International Law and the sovereign rights of a member-state of the European Union based on the European acquis and the international rule of law and it is with particular satisfaction that we welcome the decisions of the EU.

At the same time we reconfirmed our will for a common action in the Eastern Mediterranean. By strengthening the initiatives in common with Greece, we developed through the trilateral co-operations that we have established with Egypt, Israel, the Lebanon, Jordan and Palestine. Our aim is nothing else but the upgrading of the regional cooperation, dialogue, peaceful and creative co-existence aiming to the full utilisation of the prospects before us, particularly in the energy sector. I wish to repeat once more that the network of co-operation we have developed is not against anyone and does not exclude any of our neighbouring countries. On the contrary, they institutionalise the cooperation and strengthen the mutual pursuit for peace, security and stability in the particularly vulnerable region of the Eastern Mediterranean.»

On his part, the Greek Prime Minister said: “I am deeply touched because my first trip as the new Prime Minister of Greece is in Cyprus, continuing a longstanding tradition whereby the first official voyage of the Greek Premier always takes place in the island.

This trip is taking place at a particularly tense moment, especially critical, and thus, it was inevitable that our discussion was not of a symbolic or ceremonial manner but truly substantive, and I thank you Mr President for the thorough briefing.

As regards the Cyprus problem, I reiterated that the termination of the Turkish occupation remains our top concern as well as the absolute steadfast strategic pursuit of Greece’s foreign policy.

Along those lines, I conveyed my satisfaction with the forthcoming meeting between Mr Anastasiades and Mr Akinci, as well as my cautious optimism that a new framework of understanding will ensue, which will allow for some progress on the critical, major national issue.

We are making it clear once again that for Greece no solution of the Cyprus problem would be possible without the full abolition of the anachronistic system of guarantees and the withdrawal of the occupation troops from the island. This constitutes a completely anachronistic system which cannot go on, especially for EU member states, and I will await with interest to be informed by the President on the outcome of the talks on the 9th of August.

We also discussed the mounting Turkish provocations, which vehemently violate the sovereign rights of the Republic of Cyprus, and ways to have a concerted response, which is a response that is not just limited to the excellent cooperation between Greece and Cyprus, but a response that concerns the EU, since this matter does not only concern the sovereign rights of one of its member states but it also concerns the EU’s own energy policy as regards the need to diversity the energy resources in the Eastern Mediterranean basin.

Within the framework of the European institutions, Cyprus must think of Greece’s support as a given, so that any escalating Turkish provocative behavior will receive the corresponding response, always at the European level.

I reiterated the importance I attach to all tripartite cooperation schemes in the Eastern Mediterranean. These cooperation schemes were first launched by the New Democracy governments, continued by the previous Greek Government and we wish to ‘step’ on this positive precedent, which created a framework of effective cooperation at tripartite level between almost all the important countries of the Eastern Mediterranean; and of course the participation in these discussions of other important strategic players with a strong interest in the Eastern Mediterranean is also a development that is extremely welcome.

In our overall effort to convince everyone in and out of Greece, that Greece deserves again the confidence of our creditors, we want Cyprus to be a solid supporter and I am certain that we can count on the support of the Republic of Cyprus in our effort to gain credibility in Europe, in order to be self-reliant to draw our own economic policy.

Greece and Cyprus have been traumatised by a profound economic crisis, they had different characteristics, but I want to publicly acknowledge - in my first visit as Prime Minister - the leadership of President Anastasiades, who dared to propose to Parliament bold reforms that improved the competitiveness of the Cypriot economy and led it to rapid growth rates, and despite the problems that certainly always exist - no economy can solve and address all the problems at the same time - Cyprus manages to develop at growth rates well above the EU average. And for us, this example of how fast bold reforms can lead to rapid growth is a point of reference for what we want to accomplish in Greece as well, to quickly provide the imprint of economic positions.