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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Greek Prime Minister meets President Christofias

Reuters Pictures

Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou walks with Cypriot President Demetris Christofias during his state visit to the east Mediterranean island, in Larnaca October 19, 2009. The two leaders meet to discuss Turkey's prospects of entering the EU and their bilateral relations.

(Latest News Archive, From: The Republic of Cyprus Press and Information Office Server)
  1. President Christofias meets Greek Prime Minister
  2. Statements by President Christofias and the Prime Minister of Greece
  3. Address by the President of the Republic Mr Demetris Christofias at the state dinner in Honour of the Prime Minister of Greece Mr George Papandreou

1. President Christofias meets Greek Prime Minister

The President of the Republic Mr Demetris Christofias had a meeting yesterday at the Presidential Palace with the newly-elected Greek Prime Minister Mr George Papandreou, who is paying a two-day official visit to Cyprus, his first official visit abroad since assuming office.

Mr Papandreou, heading a delegation, arrived yesterday morning at Larnaka Airport where he was welcomed by President Christofias, the Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr Markos Kyprianou and the Undersecretary to the President Dr Titos Christofides.

The official welcoming ceremony for the Greek Premier was held at noon yesterday at the Presidential Palace. President Christofias and Prime Minister Papandreou then entered the Presidential Palace for a tête-à-tête meeting, followed by talks with the participation of their delegations.

Mr Papandreou later signed the Presidential Palace guest book, in which he wrote the following:

“Greece is once again by the side of the Cyprus Republic, actively, not in words but in practice. No one must forget, and we don’t forget, that the cause of the Cyprus problem is the invasion and occupation by Turkish troops. We are ready to cooperate with the leadership of Cyprus, President Demetris Christofias, for a just and viable solution of the Cyprus problem within the framework of the UN decisions and in agreement and harmony with the European acquis communautaire”.

2. Statements by President Christofias and the Prime Minister of Greece

Greece and Cyprus have decided to continue their cooperation to promote a solution to the Cyprus problem and to utilize the December landmark, when Turkey’s EU course will be assessed, the President of the Republic Mr Demetris Christofias and the Prime Minister of Greece Mr George Papandreou stated, yesterday, after their official talks in Nicosia.

“It is the common conviction of Greece and Cyprus that Turkey’s EU course would be to the benefit of both countries”, Mr Papandreou said.

He added that he is not in favour of a special relationship of Turkey with the EU, but supports the possibility, the right of Turkey to become a full member of the EU, as long as it fulfills its obligations to the EU and contributes to the solution of the Cyprus problem.

He also said that it is necessary to utilize the European framework in the most effective way and noted that the European Council of December is important because it will assess Turkey's EU course, objectively and strictly.

Mr Papandreou said that the efforts will continue, always with the aim of peace and cooperation among the peoples of the region, adding that the solution of the Cyprus problem should be just and viable.

President Christofias expressed his warm thanks and gratitude because Cyprus and the Cyprus problem constitute a personal priority of Mr Papandreou and his Government.

He said that Greece is Cyprus’ main supporter in the struggle for the solution of the Cyprus problem, and that with Mr Papandreou they discussed the latest developments in the Cyprus problem and Euro -Turkish relations, noting that there is full identity of views.

President Christofias assured that he will continue to work for the solution of the Cyprus problem with the same determination and stressed that he expects the same stance from the Turkish Cypriot side.

He further said that Turkey’s good will and cooperation is needed, but unfortunately, so far, Turkey has done nothing in the direction of the solution or of fulfilling its obligations to the EU.

Cyprus and Greece support Turkey's European prospect, but not without preconditions, he said, and underlined the need to utilize the December landmark.

3. Address by the President of the Republic Mr Demetris Christofias at the state dinner in Honour of the Prime Minister of Greece Mr George Papandreou

It gives me great pleasure to welcome you to Cyprus once again, friend George Papandreou, this time as Prime Minister of Greece. I wish you, Mr. Prime Minister, every success in the work you are undertaking at such a difficult but also decisive moment.

Cyprus and Greece have been linked since ancient times and constantly over the centuries. Greeks and Cypriots have always responded to every call of Cyprus and Greece respectively for help at difficult times, ready for every personal and collective assistance and sacrifice. We are also united by the firm, irrefutable, deep roots of a common language, conscience, common culture, common religion and common values.

Allow me, Mr. Prime Minister, to express, on behalf of the Cypriot people and myself personally, warm thanks, because as you have repeatedly and publicly stated, Cyprus is your personal priority as well as the priority, of your new Government. The international recognition and respect bestowed on you, as well as your active and tireless involvement in foreign policy issues will undoubtedly assist our common effort for a just, viable and functional solution to the Cyprus problem. A solution which will be based on the relevant UN Security Council resolutions, international law and the principles on which the EU is based. A solution which will put an end to the illegal Turkish occupation and will free Cyprus of foreign troops and illegal settlers.

In this effort for the reunification of Cyprus, Mr. Prime Minister, we need the assistance of all, but primarily we look forward to your assistance and co-operation on the basis of the mutual support and respect between two states bound by fraternal relations.
I take this opportunity to thank you whole-heartedly for your full support of our initiatives and efforts for the solution of the problem. I would like to assure you that our co-operation for the accomplishment of our common goals will be close and on a daily basis.

Dear friend, Mr. Prime Minister, after the fall of the dictatorship in Greece, relations between Cyprus and Greece, between the Cypriot and the Greek peoples, were placed on a new basis of mutual respect, solidarity and fraternal friendship and cooperation.

During all these years of the terrible ordeal of the difficult anti-occupation struggle, the leadership and the people of Cyprus have felt the warm embrace of the people, the political forces and the democratic Governments of Greece.

Any problems appearing during this course were not able to cast a shadow on the multifaceted and excellent fraternal relations between the states and the peoples of Greece and Cyprus.

The enhancement of the multifaceted, excellent relations between Cyprus and Greece gained momentum after Cyprus' accession to the European Union. The horizons for common action in all fields have expanded dramatically and the possibilities of co-operation in the political, economic, educational and cultural sectors, both bilaterally and in the framework of international organizations, have multiplied.

During our talks today we observed a natural identity of views on the issues of intense common interest, the Cyprus problem and the Euro-Turkish issues. At the same time, we expressed our will for further development of our multifaceted and excellent bilateral relations and our convergence on regional and international issues: the political problems of our region, as well as wider international problems such as the scourge of famine, the dangers of climate change and the global economic crisis. It is not just that we find common points of reference in the framework of our co-operation within the European Union. It is also that we share the view that man should be at the epicenter of politics, of the economy and of every human activity.

Mr. Prime Minister,

Ordinary people and the effort to secure a life of dignity for all has always been at the heart of my political route. At the same time, in a semi-occupied Cyprus with our future survival as a small country under serious threat, the political party which I come from and I, myself, feel a strong sense of duty towards our homeland.

As you know, since the first moment of my election to the position of President of the Republic I have undertaken initiatives and made gestures of good will in order to finally overcome the deadlock and achieve the desired solution of the Cyprus problem and the reunification of Cyprus. After the preliminary work and the clarification of the basis of the talks we began, on 3 September 2008, comprehensive negotiations with Mr. Talat.

The basis of the talks is determined and it originates from the Security Council Resolutions and the High Level Agreements of 1977 and 1979. It is this basis of a United Federal Cyprus Republic, which is composed of two federal entities and is a state with a single sovereignty, a single international personality and a single citizenship that we confirmed with Mr. Talat before the commencement of the direct talks. Furthermore, the fact that Mr. Talat rose to the leadership of the Turkish Cypriot community with the support of the progressive, pro-peace parties due to his positions in favour of the need for a speedy solution of the Cyprus problem that would reunify Cyprus, raised the expectation of the public at large that progress at the talks would normally be relatively easy. Unfortunately, this expectation did not materialize. Despite convergence on some issues, significant divergence and disagreements on fundamental aspects of the problem still remain.

Nevertheless, I would like to assure you that we are not disappointed by the difficulties and we remain committed to our goal, steadfast on principles and facing the difficulties with a calm attitude, as well as with good will and flexibility. What is at stake is of vital importance and it relates to our survival. Therefore, we have a historic responsibility to work consistently and with determination for the success of this endeavour.

Our goal is a free, independent and prosperous Cyprus, in which all citizens, regardless of ethnic origin, will be equal and enjoy their human rights and fundamental freedoms without restrictions and foreign guardianships.

The Greek Cypriot community, under the leadership of the late President Makarios, made the great historic compromise in accepting the transformation of the unitary state to a bicommunal bizonal federation, aiming to pave the way for a solution of the Cyprus problem.

Unfortunately, Turkey has not been helpful so far. The National Security Council’s official Press releases and similarly, the statements of the political leadership of Turkey, stand in favour of a solution that is contrary to the relevant UN Resolutions and outside the common basis that was agreed before the commencement of the negotiations. Consequently, public statements from Turkey about supporting the process remain void of substantial content.

We have the political will and we are ready for an agreement which will reunite the country, the economy, the institutions and our people. If Turkey shows a positive spirit and acts within the framework of respect for international law and human rights, then the necessary prerequisites will be created for a speedy solution to the Cyprus problem. This is so, because such behaviour will have a positive effect in the direction of both sides/ speaking the language of federation during the talks and we will reach a solution.
It is Turkey’s obligation to do this, as it is its obligation to recognize the Republic of Cyprus, normalize its relations with it and implement the Ankara Protocol. Unfortunately, however, Turkey continues not to comply with its obligations towards the EU.
Cyprus and Greece consciously take a positive stance towards the full accession of Turkey to the EU. However, accession does not entail only benefits for Turkey but also obligations, the same as for every other candidate country.

This coming December the EU will evaluate Turkey’s progress as to the extent to which it has proceeded with the necessary reforms and whether it is fulfiling its obligations. We will stand firm on our demand that the evaluation be just and objective and that where there are deficiencies there will be no blank-checks. We are not aiming for the punishment of Turkey, but the fulfilment of the obligations it has undertaken and, foremost, at its positive contribution to the solution of the Cyprus problem. If however, Turkey continues to act arrogantly and provocatively and refuses to fulfil its obligations, it must become clear, that it cannot continue on the road to accession, unhindered and without repercussions.

Dear Mr. Prime Minister,

In this effort we are aided by the Greek Government and the Greek people and we are optimistic that with patience and the adherence to principles we will succeed.

Allow me to raise a toast to your and your family’s, health. I also wish you every success with your work and progress and prosperity to the people of Greece.

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