Mitsotakis: The Cyprus issue is a national priority

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and Nikos Christodoulides

"The whole is greater than the sum of the parts. Today, we confirmed this phrase by Aristotle," Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said on Friday during joint statements with Cyprus President Nikos Christodoulides in Athens.

The two leaders held a joint press conference after chairing the 1st Greece-Cyprus High-level Cooperation Council at the Maximos Mansion.

Mitsotakis stressed that the meeting strengthened the already inseparable bonds between the two countries, enhancing the roles of both Greece and Cyprus as pillars of security in the turbulent eastern Mediterranean region.

"This companionship is also reflected in the joint communique about the Cyprus issue, which is a national priority," Mitsotakis said, emphasising the need for a resumption of talks within the framework of the United Nations.

"The position calling for two states is completely unacceptable for us. We look forward to the immediate appointment of a new UN envoy," the Greek premier underlined, adding that Greece will continue to support the efforts to stop machinations that violate the resolutions of the UN Security Council.

He also noted that the European Union must have a role in the negotiations, in accordance with the conclusions of the European Council on June 30.

The prime minister said that Greece will continue efforts for the improvement of Greece's relations with Turkiye, pointing out that progress in this will also benefit the Cyprus problem.

He then noted the progress in terms of economic growth "always with a willingness for reforms" and said that there were many areas where the two sides might exchange knowhow and experience, including in civil protection and shipping.

Referring to developments in the Middle East, Mitsotakis said that both Christodoulides and himself had raised strong concerns about the worsening humanitarian situation in Gaza during the conference in Paris.

"Greece and Cyprus support Israel's right to defend itself in accordance with international law and humanitarian law. We distinguish between the terrorist organisation Hamas and the Palestinian people and its leadership. Athens and Nicosia are in favour of the immediate release of all hostages without terms. Our priority is to assist with humanitarian pauses and through corridors of assistance to help the civilans in Gaza," the Greek premier said.

He also congratulated Cyprus' president for an initiative to set up sea corridors to bring humanitarian aid to Gaza, saying this had been "very carefully studied" and that the Greek government intends to actively participate so long as the several technical difficulties are addressed.

"We do not forget that the final solution in the Middle East cannot but be political, sustainable, a solution of two states in accordance with international law," he said.

Cyprus President sends clear message to Ankara

Progress in improving Greek-Turkish relations will also help in the resolution of the Cyprus issue, Cyprus President Nikos Christodoulides said during joint statements with Mitsotakis in Athens, after the inaugural Greece-Cyprus High-Level Cooperation Council on Friday.

Christodoulides sent a clear message to Ankara, saying that the prospects of a closer relationship between Turkiye and the EU, which both Cyprus and Greece desire, "depends on progress in Greek-Turkish issues and the Cyprus problem".

Cyprus' president expressed satisfaction with the results of the first Greece-Cyprus cooperation council and the decisions that were made, while noting that it was now important to monitor their implementation.

Christodoulides said that relations between Greece and Cyprus are excellent and their cooperation exceptional but that there was always room for further improvement.

He cited examples of successful collaboration, such as the 112 emergency number and digital reforms, adding that intergovernmental cooperation would help bring about better coordination across the entire spectrum of governmental work, not just in defence and foreign policy.

Commenting on the situation in the Middle East, he said this had a direct impact on Cyprus and Greece, as did instability in the region, adding that "our countries have already proceeded to make contacts and proposed solutions as factors for stability in the region, such as the sea corridor for aid to Gaza."

He also thanked Mitsotakis for Greece's willingness to contribute to this effort.

"Cyprus and Greece are part of the solution and not the problem in the area," Christodoulides said.

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