Statement by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Nikos Dendias, at the end of his meeting with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Cyprus, Nikos Christodoulidis – September 30, 2020 It is always a special pleasure for me to be in Sister Cyprus and to talk to my dear friend and colleague Nikos Christodoulidis. Today I am happy for another reason, because tomorrow Cyprus celebrates 60
years of independence. I, therefore, had the opportunity to address my most heartfelt wishes and the wishes of the Prime Minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, for the freedom and prosperity of the Cypriot Hellenism and the entire Cypriot people. I must assure you of what you are well aware of, that the Cyprus issue was and will be a top priority of Greek foreign policy. We continue to support the Republic of Cyprus. To work to end the Turkish occupation and achieve a comprehensive, agreed and sustainable solution to the Cyprus problem. On the basis of the Decisions of the Security Council and the Acquis. Today’s meeting with Nikos is part of the ongoing coordination between Greece and Cyprus at all levels, in view of tomorrow’s very important European Council. A Council that will be called upon to examine the whole grid of Euro-Turkish relations. And it will be called upon to do so given the obligation of solidarity with the Member States of the Union, especially when their sovereignty and sovereign rights are violated by third States. Because this is a violation of European sovereignty and European sovereign rights. Unfortunately, the Turkish delinquency in the wider region continues and even with escalating intensity and in an expanding area. From the Caucasus to Libya, the Aegean, Cyprus, the Eastern Mediterranean, Syria and Iraq. Greece has noted that the withdrawal of “Oruc Reis” was a first step in de-escalation. We hope that this step will pave the way for exploratory contacts between Greece and Turkey with the aim of delimiting the Exclusive Economic Zone and the continental shelf. Greece has repeatedly stressed that it always remains open to dialogue, but in the context of International Law and the Law of the Sea. It remains to be seen, therefore, whether this first step will continue and whether there will be consistency on the Turkish side. Because as you know very well here in Cyprus, Turkey is the ultimate violator of international law in our region. After all, no one can forget that the illegal actions of Turkish vessels in the Cypriot sea zones continue. Greece continues to support Cyprus firmly in its request for new entries of persons and entities – those involved in Turkey’s ongoing illegal activities in the Cypriot EEZ – in the European sanctions list. This, after all, is the agreed European framework. At the same time, it remains necessary to maintain the open prospect of imposing economic measures on Turkey in the event that Turkish delinquency continues. Greece has requested a list of measures, so that Turkey knows that if it continues the illegal actions, there will be consequences. Our desire, of course, remains that these measures do not need to be imposed. We also discussed escalating tensions in Nagorno-Karabakh with Nikos. Greece has expressed its readiness to contribute to the immediate cessation of hostilities and I had the opportunity to pass it on to our Armenian colleague, with whom Nikos and I are cooperating in the framework of the tripartite cooperation scheme. At the same time, I reiterated that we disapprove of any third party intervention that incites tension. Turkey must refrain from actions and statements that move in this direction. Peaceful settlement of disputes under international law is the only way to regional security and stability. Finally, I had the opportunity to inform Nikos in detail about the visit of both our Emirati counterpart in Greece, Prince Abdullah, whom you are expecting tomorrow in Cyprus, as well as the US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo. The second visit of the American Foreign Minister to Greece within a year and in fact a few days after his visit to Cyprus is an important event and is his sixth meeting with me. I just think my meetings with Nikos are more. These visits confirm the role of both Greece and Cyprus as pillars of stability in our sensitive region. Together with Israel and the USA, Greece and Cyprus we work methodically to promote the security and prosperity of the region, within the framework of the 3 + 1 scheme. Our coordination – Greece and Cyprus – is a very powerful weapon and a very good omen for tomorrow’s European Council. From our side, every effort will be made to achieve our common goals. Dear Nikos, congratulations on tomorrow’s anniversary and again thank you very much for the reception and hospitality.