Minister of Foreign Affairs Nikos Dendias’ statements following his meeting with Minister of Foreign Affairs of Cyprus, Ioannis Kasoulides (Nicosia, 28.07.2022)

Dear Minister,

My dear Giannakis,

It is a great pleasure for me to be in Nicosia today. It’s been a few months since my last visit, and a month since Prime Minister Mitsotakis’ visit.

And, of course, I’d like to thank you very much for the great honour of addressing earlier the Heads of the Republic of Cyprus’ Diplomatic Missions abroad.

The Greek Government remains fully committed to achieving a just and viable solution to the Cyprus issue; a solution based on the UN Security Council Resolutions; a solution compatible with the European acquis, namely a bicommunal, bizonal federation.

The resolution of the Cyprus issue in this context constitutes the highest priority of Greek foreign policy.

Thank you very much for giving me an update on the proposals for the Confidence Building Measures presented by President Anastasiades. Proposals that the President himself was kind enough to develop for me during our meeting this morning. We fully support these proposals, despite the Turkish Cypriot side’s expected, though regrettable, rejection.

We share your realistic approach regarding the prospects for the resumption of negotiations, which are, sadly, not promising.

And, of course, we reject and condemn any proposal of a ‘two-state solution’, which is being presented by Turkish officials and representatives of the Turkish Cypriot community.

Looking for a ray of optimism though, I would emphasize that the debate on the new text of the UN Security Council Resolution on the renewal of UNFICYP was held in a consensual atmosphere, despite the general polarization that prevails at the moment.

I want to assure you that we are always in constant and close coordination, particularly in the face of an attempt to create a new fait accompli both on the ground and at sea, in violation of International Law and the International Law of the Sea, the UNCLOS.

I recall that the relevant European Union decisions are in force and we expect Turkey to comply with them.

Apart from the Cyprus issue, we also had the opportunity to discuss the broader developments in the Eastern Mediterranean. I had the opportunity to report on Turkey’s provocative conduct, both in terms of rhetoric and on the ground.
However, our discussions are never limited to a single topic.

We also examined our cooperation within the European Union in light of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

And, as you rightfully pointed out, Ukraine and Cyprus are both cases of flagrant violation of International Law.

But that’s where the similarities end.

Because 48 years ago, the international community did not react to the invasion of Cyprus the way it should have reacted.

And we must keep in mind that the invasion and illegal occupation of territory in Ukraine is not the only example of invasion in Europe.

We must also not fail to underline that revisionism is no longer an acceptable practice, and it cannot be accepted even passively by the international community.

Both the Hellenic Republic and the Republic of Cyprus have taken a principled stance.
We both fully implement European sanctions despite the cost this entails for our societies.

Because for us, this decision is a one-way street. It is about our values and principles; it is about the values and principles that all states must adhere to.

We also discussed our cooperation in various areas; we discussed trilateral and multilateral schemes, the 3+1 format with the United States, our developing relations with India, and the European perspective of the Western Balkans.

We are both satisfied with the convening of the first intergovernmental conference with Albania and North Macedonia.

We are both very well aware that the pace of the region’s integration into the European family needs to be accelerated and we have been able to discuss how we can assist the Western Balkans to come closer to the EU. We can act as a catalyst in this regard.

I had the opportunity to give an update on what was discussed at the NATO Summit in Madrid.

I’d also like to state that, both within NATO and the framework of EU-NATO cooperation, Greece will ensure that Cyprus’ interests are fully safeguarded.

As the Minister said, I will conclude with what is obvious.

At all times, Greece will continue to stand by the Republic of Cyprus; Greece will continue to stand by the side of the Cypriot people.

Thank you very much for the hospitality and, if I may say so, the love that you show me every time I visit Cyprus.

JOURNALIST: Mr. Dendias, your Turkish counterpart intends to submit a letter to the United Nations regarding the Turkish positions. How will you respond to that?

N. DENDIAS: First of all, we will see what it is all about. Greece has actually responded.
The most recent Greek letter covers quite sufficiently the entirety of arguments. Greece does not intend to spend its time in a perpetual exchange of letters with Turkey. If, of course, the Turkish side raises a new argument that needs to be answered, it will be answered. But if I may say so, what needed to be said about these things, I believe, has already been stated.

Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Hellenic Republic

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