“My appointment in the post of Dean of the Diplomatic Corps, in recent years, I must admit, is an additional and special honour for me, especially if one considers the excellence and quality of the Diplomats who serve in Athens representing their countries.”
GDL: Mr. Ambassador, as the Dean of the Diplomatic Corps, what is the experience you have accumulated in presenting the common interests and concerns of the diplomatic community in Athens?
KK: My appointment in the post of Dean of the Diplomatic Corps, in recent years, I must admit, is an additional and special honour for me, especially if one considers the excellence and quality of the Diplomats who serve in Athens representing their countries. Although this post does not provide any institutional power, at the same time, it has its own significance and semiology, a fact that gives prestige to the person appointed by virtue of seniority.
Answering to your question, I would like to take this opportunity to publicly express my gratitude, as well as my respect, friendship and appreciation to all my colleagues for our cooperation over the past years and for the opportunity to establish a close and lasting relationship and in many cases, strong and sincere bonds of friendship.
GDL: How did you present the voice of the diplomats to the Hellenic Ministry of Foreign Affairs?
KK: Wherever appropriate, or whenever there was an opportunity to be useful, within the duties of my role, I have always tried to do it in the best possible way. Discretion and respect towards everyone are always required and, certainly, no one should have the false impression that the honour of seniority gives him any additional powers or rights.
What I sincerely hope is that I have never given the impression, especially to my friends and colleagues, that during my service I have done something that is inconsistent with their own thoughts, perceptions and mentality.
“The representation of Cyprus in Greece is not an ordinary representation… this common path is not based on common interests, in the broadest sense of the term, but on common principles and values that Cyprus and Greece serve with dedication and sincerity. Common principles and values that look forward to a better world. A free world with societies of solidarity based on the strong foundations of democracy.”
GDL: For an outsider, usually, diplomacy is associated with a lot of glitter. What else is needed to promote your country and protect your compatriots?
KK: Each of us who have the honour of representing our country as diplomats, are the last ones who can assess whether we are doing this adequately and successfully. In any case, however, the post of the Ambassador of Cyprus in Athens is not an ordinary appointment, if one considers the full extent of the relations between the two States but, much more, the relations and bonds between the two peoples: historical, fraternal, cultural and religious. Bonds forged over centuries.
Thus, the representation of Cyprus in Greece is not an ordinary representation. Here the relations and the responsibility of the representation do not stop at an institutional level. Here relations should and must begin and be established through our relations with society itself; the society of our Greek brothers; through our presence and relations at all levels and aspects of society. With presence and actions that add new links to the centuries old chain connecting the common path of our peoples.
In any case, what I would like to note is that this common path is not based on common interests, in the broadest sense of the term, but on common principles and values that Cyprus and Greece serve with dedication and sincerity. Common principles and values that look forward to a better world. A free world with societies of solidarity based on the strong foundations of democracy.
GDL: Do you see prospects of breaking the deadlock over the Cyprus problem?
KK: On our part, we have done and will continue to do our best toward this direction. The solution to the Cyprus problem has been and remains our primary goal. All those who doubt or have doubted in the past this intention of ours, apparently forget that half of our homeland is under occupation. Moreover, the consequences of Turkey’s invasion are still present and tragic.
We therefore remain firmly committed to resuming negotiation talks with the aim of reaching an agreement that will liberate and reunify our country. An agreement for a just, functional and viable solution which will respect all the citizens of the reunified Cyprus. An agreement which will make the Republic of Cyprus a free European country and its citizens, citizens of a free world.
We do not wish the continuation of the illegal military occupation and we work toward the goal of a solution because we know better than anyone what it means to live in a divided country with the presence of dozens of thousands of Turkish troops in our occupied territories.
“Within the duties of my role, I have always tried to do it in the best possible way. Discretion and respect toward everyone are always required and, certainly, no one should have the false impression that the honour of seniority gives him any additional powers or rights.”
GDL: What position has Cyprus taken with regard to the war in Ukraine?
KK: From the first moment, Cyprus took a clear and unambiguous position regarding Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Our position is yet another confirmation and proof that we do not serve principles and values “ala carte”, i.e., only regarding our own issues, but overall and horizontally even when the positions we take have negative consequences for us. I hope everyone will at some point adopt this way of approaching and making decisions.
GDL: Your Excellency, which Ambassador now has the honour of receiving the baton of Dean of the Diplomatic Corps to the Hellenic Republic?
KK: In order of seniority, as far as I know, next in line is my colleague H.E. the Ambassador of the Russian Federation.
Interview by Nicolas Boutsicos
Editor, Greek Diplomatic Life