Greece and Cyprus achieved an important diplomatic victory, Greek FM tells CNA

Greek Foreign Minister George Katrougalos said that the European Council’s decisions regarding Turkey’s illegal actions in Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) constitute an important diplomatic victory on the part of Greece and Cyprus.

In an interview with CNA, Katrougalos underlined that the European Council’s decisions provide for the first time concrete targeted measures against Turkey, worded in stronger terms than the decisions of the General Affairs Council of the EU.

For the first time, the European Union is progressing from moves to deeds, and the message has been received by Turkey, Katrougalos said.

Asked whether these decisions are expected to put an end to Turkey’s illegal actions in Cyprus’ EEZ, Katrougalos answered that Turkey will not readily proceed towards this direction, however it realizes that as long as it continues along this path it will suffer losses.

The Greek Foreign Minister noted that Turkey is being isolated, and this isolation generates risks especially for its economy which is vulnerable. We must, therefore, continue calmly to implement this policy which is based on principles, while persisting in the implementation of substantial and not soft measures against Turkey, as the European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, has said, Katrougalos stressed.

As regards the possibility of Turkey sending a drillship in the region around Kastellorizon, Katrougalos told CNA that the Greek government has sent all the necessary deterring messages to Turkey, that it should not dare to approach the region.

Turkey must realize that the respect of the International Law and of the Law of the Sea, is the only way forward, the Greek Foreign Minister underlined.

The show of strength and the revisionist tactics are becoming increasingly problematic for Turkey, because they induce its international isolation, as the recent international denouncement of Turkey?s actions has shown, he said.

Moreover, he expressed his satisfaction for the international community’s support regarding the respect of the sovereign rights of the Republic of Cyprus. He expressed the view that this international support is the result of Cyprus’ and Greece?s systematic diplomatic effort in the European Union, and also the fruit of their participation at the initiative of Med7, of the strategic strengthening of the collaboration with the USA, and of the trilateral alliances of Greece and Cyprus in the region, especially with Israel and Egypt.

As regards the Cyprus Problem, Foreign Minister Katrougalos said that the Greek government maintains close communication with the UNSG’s Special Envoy Jane Holl Lute, assessing the possibility for reopening of the dialogue on the Cyprus Issue.

The Greek government has notified the UNSG’s Special Envoy of the established national positions on this subject. Greece and Cyprus promote the solution to the Cyprus Problem the soonest, but this solution has preconditions. The Cyprus Problem can be resolved only on the basis of the UN resolutions. The negotiation process in Geneva and in Crans-Montana reinstated the Cyprus Issue in its real basis as a problem of international legality, Katrougalos stressed.

The chapter of security, the withdrawal of the occupation forces from Cyprus and the abolition of the anachronistic system of guarantees, are the starting points for any possible reopening of the negotiation process, the Greek Foreign Minister said.

Source: Cyprus News Agency