Cyprus issue a top national priority, Greek President tells President Christodoulides, welcoming him to Athens

The Cyprus issue is a permanent concern and top national priority of the Greek foreign policy, President of the Hellenic Republic, Katerina Sakellaropoulou, stressed on Monday, welcoming President of Cyprus Nikos Christodoulides to Greece, where he is paying his first official visit abroad after assuming office.

President Christodoulides said that his visit to Greece is both symbolic and substantive, and stressed that the current state of affairs in Cyprus cannot be the future of Cyprus and Nicosia cannot continue to be the last divided capital of Europe.

The President of Greece welcomed President Christodoulides and congratulated him on his new duties wishing him every success.

She also referred to the deadly train accident in Greece that resulted to the loss of dozens of lives of many young people, including Cypriot students, and expressed her sincere condolences.

Referring to President Christodoulides, she said that his many years of experience in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and as a prominent Cypriot diplomat will be valuable in the new efforts to resolve the Cyprus issue, the international issue of invasion and occupation.

She stressed that the Cyprus issue is a permanent concern and top national priority of the Greek foreign policy.

The guarantee, she added, for the effectiveness and the solution of the Cyprus issue is the close cooperation and coordination of Greece with the Republic of Cyprus both bilaterally and at the multilateral regional level, something that has already made the two countries a source of stability and security in the Eastern Mediterranean.

The President of Greece said that both countries share the common goal which is to reach an agreed solution within the framework of the decisions of the United Nations, a solution that will ensure the termination of the anachronistic system of guarantees and the right to intervene in Cypriot affairs, as well as the withdrawal of occupation troops and the implementation of the EU acquis communautaire.

President Christodoulides referred to the train tragedy in Greece and expressed the warmest condolences of Cyprus to Greece saying that both countries are mourning their losses. He said that the responsibility of all those in positions of power and the best memorial service for all those who lost their lives is to do everything possible to prevent such incidents from happening again.

He said that his visit in Greece is the first as President of the Republic of Cyprus and besides being symbolic showing the close fraternal ties between the two countries it is also of substantive importance considering the challenges the two countries have before them and the need to further strengthen the excellent bilateral relations.

He said that Greece and Cyprus, as members of the great European family, must, through actions, foreign and internal policy prove in practice that they are pillars of stability and security.

He thanked the President of Greece for placing the Cyprus issue on top of the national priorities, saying that it is also a European issue.

President Christodoulides stressed that the current state of affairs in Cyprus cannot be the future of Cyprus and that Nicosia cannot continue to be the last divided capital of Europe.

Noting that there are difficulties and challenges, he said that we will do everything humanly possible to break the impasse and achieve the goal of liberation and reunification of Cyprus always on the basis of the agreed framework.

President Christodoulides said that it is within this context that the EU can play a decisive role. He added that Cyprus is a member of the EU and will continue to be after a possible solution of the Cyprus problem. The EU has all those incentives to lead to a mutually acceptable state of affairs, he noted.

He added that as the recent earthquakes in Turkey and Syria have proven, we cannot change our geographic situation and all the states of the region should – through a positive approach always with respect to international law and European values and principles – find ways to resolve their problems and differences and to come together to take advantage of the opportunities that exist in the region.

Concluding, he said that he is in Greece to coordinate with the Greek government to see how they can bilaterally, regionally, or within the EU, achieve all these goals.

Earlier on, the Cypriot President laid a wreath at the Monument of the Unknown Soldier in Athens.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. Repeated rounds of UN-led peace talks have so far failed to yield results. The latest round of negotiations, in July 2017 at the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana ended inconclusively.

Source: Cyprus News Agency