Statement by Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides following his meeting with the Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias
Athens, October 4, 2021
It is always with great pleasure that I meet with my friend Nikos, whether here in Athens as today, in Nicosia, or elsewhere - our last meeting I recall was in New York on the sidelines of the General Assembly, ten days ago or so.
First of all, I would like to thank you, my dear Nikos, on behalf of both the government and the people of Cyprus, for your warm wishes for the 61st anniversary of Cyprus' Independence, which we celebrated on the 1st of the month. The content of your congratulatory letter, along with the real and substantial support of the Greek government, strengthens our effort for the reunification of Cyprus, despite any difficulties, on the basis of the agreed framework of a bizonal bicommunal federation.
Although I have said this on several occasions in the past, I want to repeat it today ― our communication and coordination with Nikos, as well as that between our partners, is continuous and occurs on a daily basis.
In relation to Turkish provocations, we agreed with Nikos that the illegal and dangerous activities of Ankara in the last days, both off Crete and to the southwest of Cyprus, prove even to those who are most skeptical that the positive overtures that have come from Ankara for a certain period of time are unfortunately not transformed into deeds. Turkish foreign policy remains firmly rooted on a revisionist, neo-Ottoman approach, based primarily on the country's military might.
We also had the opportunity today with Nikos to discuss all developments and to exchange views on the next steps in relation to the Cyprus problem. On my part, I informed in detail about the meeting that President Anastasiades had with the Secretary General and the Turkish Cypriot Leader in New York last week and about the withdrawal of the Turkish side from what was agreed. Despite the difficulties, we still believe that the resumption of substantive talks that will lead to a positive outcome on the basis of the agreed solution, is within reach and will be beneficial for all, given that the talks will take place in the right environment, restraining from actions that create faits accomplis on the ground, as those we have seen in the fenced off city of Famagusta, or at sea with the provocative and illegal actions of Turkey.
We also had a very productive exchange of views with Nikos on the next steps in our joint efforts to strengthen and expand regional cooperation networks, in light of the recent contacts we both had, both together and separately, with a number of our counterparts on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly. The messages we are receiving are very positive and already see that the establishment of these cooperation mechanisms is yielding the first tangible results. In the near future there will be new important meetings at regional level, and beyond.
For his part, Nikos briefed me in detail on the state of play ahead of the 63rd round of exploratory talks between Greece and Turkey that will take place the day after tomorrow, in the shadow of course of Turkish provocations.
I had the opportunity, further, to be briefed about the agreement between Greece and France, which we consider extremely important, not only for the two countries, but also for stability and security in the wider region, as well as for strengthening the European Union’s geostrategic footprint in the region, and the goal of strategic autonomy of the EU, which happens to be a common goal of the vast majority of Member States. Hence, I warmly congratulated Nikos and the Greek government for this great success.
Times are critical and we are faced with numerous challenges. Cyprus and Greece, we are determined to continue to act sensibly, with consistency, determination and absolute respect for International Law. On this path, we will continue to work together, both with like-minded States in the region, with our partners in the EU and with those States that recognize and support the positive and stabilizing role that Cyprus and Greece play in a region of particular geostrategic importance.