Thursday , June 13 2024

Official Visits of the Foreign and Minister of Defence to Cyprus



Cyprus issue remains a top National Foreign Policy priority for Greece


Highlighting the importance Greece naturally places on relations with the Republic of Cyprus, the newly-elected Ministers of Foreign Affairs, George Gerapetritis, and of National Defence, Nikos Dendias, paid their first Official Visits to Nicosia, both meeting individually with the President of the Cypriot Republic, Nikos Christodoulides, and their counterparts, Constantinos Kombos and Michalis Giorgallas respectively. Minister Dendias was also accompanied by the Chief of the Hellenic National Defence General Staff, General Konstantinos Floros.

Minister of Foreign Affairs, George Gerapetritis, visited the Republic of Cyprus on July 4th on his first Official Visit abroad since assuming his duties as Head of Greek Diplomacy.

First, the Minister of Foreign Affairs was received by the President of the Republic of Cyprus, Nikos Christodoulides and then had a one-on-one meeting with his Cypriot counterpart, Constantinos Kombos, followed by expanded talks between the two delegations.

“Finding a fair, viable and mutually acceptable solution to the Cyprus issue remains a top national foreign policy priority for Greece. A solution of a bizonal, bi-communal federation within the framework set out by the Resolutions of the United Nations’ Security Council,” the Greek Foreign Minister said in joint statements with his Cypriot counterpart.

Regarding Turkey, Minister Gerapetritis stressed that “we are ready to use the current good climate that has arisen and create conditions for dialogue based on the Law of the Sea, with the aim of settling the bilateral difference over the delineation of the continental shelf and Exclusive Economic Zone.”

“It remains to be seen whether Turkey also sincerely wishes us to open a path to rapprochement,” he added, while stressing that this does not imply that Greece will back down from its red lines and national priorities, of which a major priority was a fair solution to the Cyprus issue.

“An important goal is for Cyprus and the Cypriot people – Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots – to be rid of the Turkish occupation army and the anachronistic system of guarantees and rights of intervention by any party in Cypriot affairs,” he emphasised, adding:

“The solution must be functional and grant the reunited Cyprus Republic the future it deserves. It must also ensure the unobstructed implementation of the European acquis throughout Cyprus’ territory.”

Within this framework, Minister Gerapetritis said, “our full coordination with the Cyprus Republic on all levels serves as a steady compass for Greece and the foundation stone of our policy for Cyprus,” while emphasising no fait accompli will be accepted in any way.

The Minister said he was in Cyprus to send the message that Greece will consistently support Cyprus in a resumption of efforts to resolve the Cyprus issue, pointing out that Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis had recently supported Cyprus’ request for a more active role by the EU in this effort. Greece will continue to provide this same support within the context of the United Nations, he added.

Minister Gerapetritis also referred to the bilateral and multilateral schemes and projects by Greece and Cyprus to promote peace and prosperity, especially in energy, but also in matters such as managing migration and the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

“Being aware of the challenges in the region of the Eastern Mediterranean and the broader Middle East, we are steadily striving to establish a regional security framework through dialogue, cooperation and the commitment of all sides to International Law. Such schemes do not exclude anyone, provided that the principles and values of International Law are upheld,” he said.

Among such schemes, he mentioned that of Greece-Cyprus-Israel with the participation of the United States (3+1 mechanism), as well as similar trilateral schemes with Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan and Palestine.


Defence Minister visits Cyprus

Strengthening the deterrent power of the Republic of Cyprus is a Government priority said the President of the Republic of Cyprus, Nikos Christodoulides, who received Greek Defence Minister, Nikos Dendias, at the Presidential Mansion on July 6th.

Welcoming Minister Dendias, President Christodoulides said that “I am sure that we will cooperate perfectly, as we did when we were both Foreign Ministers, especially now with all these challenges that we have to face, Greece and Cyprus, not only at the regional level, but also more broadly at European level, and on the occasion of the illegal Russian invasion of Ukraine.”

He added that “Greece and Cyprus are pillars of stability and security in the region and that was the main message that we were both sending through our actions and we will continue to do so.”

“Our main efforts focus on strengthening the deterrent power. We do not consider any aggressive actions to solve problems. On the contrary, they create problems and with our behaviour we have proved that we do not believe in such solutions. But strengthening the deterrent power of the Republic of Cyprus is one of the priorities of our own Government and is something that also arises from the need to confront Turkish behaviour in Cyprus,” he said.

On his part, Minister Dendias said: “We have a long cooperation, Greece and Cyprus have always been forces of stability, forces that strive for the implementation of International Law, such as the Law of the Sea, international relations. This is how we see things; this was also the case with the Ukrainian issue. When an issue in relation to sovereignty, territorial integrity, independence and the implementation of the UN Charter was raised, both countries were on the right side.”


Above left: Minister of Foreign Affairs, George Gerapetritis, pictured during his meeting in Nicosia with the President of the Republic of Cyprus, Nikos Christodoulides; addressing the press with his Cypriot counterpart, Constantinos Kombos. The Defence Ministers of Greece, Nikos Dendias and of Cyprus, Michalis Giorgallas, accompanied by the hierarchy of their Armed Forces, stand to attention for a parade of the Cypriot guard. The Greek Minister of National Defence, Nikos Dendias, accompanied by the Chief of the HNDGS, visited the Barracks of the Hellenic Contingent in Cyprus, where he attended a memorial service for those fallen in action and laid a wreath on the Tomb of the Hellenic Contingent in Cyprus and visited the ‘Imprisoned Graves’.

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