Thursday, November 6, 2014

Greek PM Samaras Visits Cyprus in the Light of Turkish Provocations

by Aggelos Skordas - Nov 6, 2014

In the light of the Turkish provocations in Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras arrived in Nicosia today for a working visit focusing on the common policy that Greece and Cyprus need to follow in order to anticipate Turkish actions. Samaras, accompanied by government Vice President and Foreign Minister Evangelos Venizelos, government spokeswoman Sofia Voultepsi and a number of other government officials, was received at the Larnaca airport by Cypriot Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides, the Ambassador of Greece to Cyprus Vassilios Papaioannou and the Ambassador of Cyprus in Greece Kyriakos Kenevezos.

On his arrival, the Greek Prime Minister underlined that “the Turkish actions in Cyprus’ EEZ are indeed provocative,” declaring though that there is no comparison between today’s situation and the Turkish invasion in Cyprus in 1974. “Greece and Cyprus have both ranked high in their European agenda the exploitation of the hydrocarbon resources that have been discovered in their waters,” he added.

“This visit comes at a difficult time, both for Cyprus and the region. Turkey has chosen to act outside the boundaries of international law. We fully support your decision to suspend the talks until the conditions change,” Samaras said during a dinner held in his honor at the Presidential Palace.

Addressing the Cypriot President as “My friend Nicos,” the Greek Premier said he and his delegation would engage in “detailed discussions” with their Cypriot counterparts regarding the shaping situation.

In his own address, welcoming Samaras to the island, Anastasiades reiterated that he would not return to the negotiating table while Turkish provocations were ongoing. “I shall not accept any pressure to return to dialogue…amid conditions imposed by military might,” he added, evidently alluding to the trespassing of Turkish warships in the EEZ.

The Cypriot President pledged that the two communities would share the country’s natural wealth, including proceeds from hydrocarbons, once a comprehensive settlement is reached, and not before. “Military interventions and threats, supposedly on behalf of the Turkish-Cypriots, do not assist peace efforts,” he noted.
Anastasiades said the timing of Turkey’s escalation of tensions was no coincidence, coming just as Cyprus is turning into “a force for stability in the region.”

Tomorrow the Greek Prime Minister he will have a series of meetings. Starting with a meeting with the Cypriot President, Samaras will later attend meetings with delegations from Greece and Cyprus and finally, along with Anastasiades, will meet with political party leaders represented in the Cypriot Parliament. At noon, Samaras will visit the House of Representatives and address a plenary session. Finally, before his departure, he will meet with Archbishop of Cyprus Chrysostomos II.

The visit comes only a few hours after the announcement of Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu that he will meet his Greek counterpart Venizelos in Ankara in three weeks, in order to improve the lately tensed bilateral relations.
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