Dendias: Resolving Cyprus issue a top priority for Greek diplomacy

NIkos Dendias in Cyprus

Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias stated in Nicosia after his meeting with his Cypriot counterpart Ioannis Kasoulides on Thursday that resolving the division of Cyprus is a top priority of Athens.

"Τhe Greek government continues to unequivocally support for reaching a just and viable solution of the Cyprus issue, a solution based on UN Security Council Resolutions and a solution compatible with the European acquis - namely, that of a bicommunal, bizonal federation," Dendias said.

"A solution of the Cyprus issue is the top priority of Greek foreign policy," he added.

Turkey invaded the northern portion of Cyprus in 1974, and in violation of several United Nations resolutions, refuses to end its occupation that led to nearly 200,000 Greek Cypriot refugees, thousands killed and hundreds raped.

Greece's top diplomat said said that his country supports Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades' proposals for Confidence Building Measures (CBMs).

"We support these proposals despite the expected - and we are sorry for this - rejection of them by the Turkish-Cypriot side and we condemn any proposal for a two-state solution," Dendias said.

He revealed that they also discussed other matters, such as developments in the Eastern Mediterranean and cooperation in the EU in the light of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Dendias will travel to Paris on Friday afternoon to meet with his French counterpart Catherine Colonna.

The meeting in Paris will be the first between Greek and French FMs following the new government formed after national elections in June.

The two ministers are expected to discuss the strengthening of the two countries' strategic relationship, developments in the Eastern Mediterranean, the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the new European security structure and the state in the Western Balkans, and developments in Libya and the Sahel Region.

Following their meeting, Dendias and Colonna will make joint statements to the press, around 20:30 Athens time.

Before leaving for France, he will meet in Athens with German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock.

"Problems should be resolved with dialogue and not with the escalation of tension," will be the message that German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock will relay in Ankara, according to her statement ahead of her visits to Greece and Turkey.

In the same statement, before arriving in Athens on Friday, Baerbock described Greece as one of Germany's closest partners in Europe and referred to its major work in protecting the EU's external borders and the reception of refugees, underlining that "it deserves our full solidarity".

"The cohesion of our allies in NATO has never before been as important as it is at this time, during which Russia is not only planning to subjugate Ukraine as a sovereign country but also trying by every means to divide our Alliance," she said, noting that it was very important for her and "especially now" to carry out her first trip to Greece and Turkey.

"Greece, for most Germans, is familiar as a holiday destination but only a few are aware of the extent of the responsibility that burdens Germany as a result of the horrific crimes committed there by the Nazi occupation in WWII" she said, adding that "for me it's very important to keep the memory alive because this is a prerequisite for a good common future."

Referring to security in the Mediterranean, she underlined that it will form be a major part of her talks in Istanbul and Ankara. "Our message will be that the problems should be resolved with dialogue not with the escalation of the tension," she said.

"Turkey," she pointed out, "is a necessary partner and connected with us as no other country."

"The heart of millions of people beats for both countries and that's why it is so important for me that we do not get further apart politically. As in any close relationship, we will speak openly: about Turkey's intervention in the Black Sea which brings a ray of hope for millions of people that an even worse hunger crisis can be prevented," she concluded.

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