Meeting with the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Theresa May

We need to take advantage of these historical, cultural, economic ties between our peoples and our countries.

Theresa May: I am very pleased to welcome you to Downing Street and this is your first visit here and I look forward to the discussions we will be having. I believe that the links between our two countries go back centuries, they have never been stronger and we know that there are many British citizens who come and enjoy the hospitality, the cities and the beaches in Greece every year. And of course, thank you for the welcome you gave to the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall, on their recent visit to Greece. And I think, observing our future relations, that there have been some important developments. Congratulations on the steps you have taken to exit the economic adjustment program in August and from now on your economy offers opportunities for us to strengthen the links between us. I would be very interested in talking about specific areas such as shipping, tourism, energy, education.

We have always worked very well on issues such as migration, which is, of course, a key issue for Greece and we are aware of the pressures that Greece has on migration. And, as I said, we have worked with Greek officials, but I am pleased to be able to announce today that we will be sending an additional patrol vessel to the Aegean Coast to help search and rescue operations.

We want to continue to work with you on these issues and therefore there are important issues for us to discuss. I am also very pleased to see the progress that you and your counterpart, Mr Zaev, have made on the name issue and on neighborhood relations. And I believe that this will be an important step for stability in the region. Issues such as how we can ensure progress in relation to Cyprus are issues that I am looking forward to discussing with you today and once again I welcome you and I am pleased to see you here.

Alexis Tsipras: Thank you very much, Madam Prime Minister. I am very happy to be here not only because it is my first visit to this historic building but also because I believe that I come to London at a very good time for Greece, just after the progress made in the last Eurogroup, last week.

I think it was a historic agreement for us because with this agreement we are closing the last bailout program after eight years but at the same time we achieved a very important debt relief, which is necessary for the future of my country, and the Greek people.

But at the same time, the fact that I am here, at this very critical time, confirms that we recognize the significance of the United Kingdom as a global economic and financial force, which is now more crucial than ever before and with which we want to strengthen our cooperation. You as well face historical challenges after the decision of the British people to leave the EU.

I, therefore, believe that now more than ever, we need to take advantage of these historical, cultural, economic ties between our peoples and our countries. I am very happy to see that in these difficult negotiations for Brexit, more than 50,000 Greek citizens living in the UK are protected. And of course, I am glad that we have the opportunity to discuss today some crucial issues, including migration, security and defense, and Britain’s contribution is crucial in this respect. But we also have to discuss the Cyprus issue, the possibility of resuming negotiations from the point where we stopped, but of course so that we can try to find a solution, in the framework of UN decisions, which means without guarantors and without occupation troops, we rely on your contribution to this. Thank you very much.