Kyriakos Mitsotakis: It is always a pleasure to welcome my friend, President Nicos Anastasiades, to Athens. But today I am, rather I should say we are, doubly pleased, given that we honour 200 years from our national rebirth. Common memories, a common tradition, common celebrations. I heartily thank you for responding to our invitation and being here with us for this special occasion for Greeks everywhere.
Our meeting reaffirmed, once again, the excellent cooperation between our governments within the European Union and the United Nations. We also discussed the current phase of EU – Turkey relations. We talked about the preparations for the informal pentalateral meeting on the Cyprus issue, convened by the Secretary-General of the United Nations on April 27. We reiterated, once more, that the EU needs to take part and that this five-party format should change into what we call 5+1. And of course with the President we agreed that at the European Council, tomorrow, our two countries -and the European Union as a whole- need to insist on the reliable implementation of the dual approach policy towards Turkey, as agreed upon by all and reflected in European Council conclusions.
We welcomed the content of the Borrell report and we stressed the need for the conclusions to move along the same lines with the deductions of the European Commission. At the same time, tomorrow both the President and myself will point out the reality; more specifically the fact that Turkey’s aggressiveness against the Republic of Cyprus persists, thus undermining Ankara’s European prospects, as well as the restart of the talks for the resolution of the Cyprus issue.
The proof is Turkey’s continuous refusal to comply with Resolutions 550 and 789 of the Security Council on the status of Famagusta. For the time being, in the Southeastern Mediterranean, Turkey has withdrawn its exploration and drilling vessels from Cypriot maritime zones, from the Greek Exclusive Economic Zone. This is not insignificant. Yet, it remains to be seen whether it will last. And, as we have said many times, it is up to Turkey to demonstrate whether this is an honest move to de-escalate the tension and align with international legality or whether this is yet another misleading manoeuvre. This, after all, is pointed out in the report that I just mentioned. Either Turkey will follow the path of International Law and progress in its relations with the EU -as we all hope and look forward to- or, if it opts to remain on the path of transgressions -and we hope it won’t- this will inevitably lead to consequences.
In any case, the Greek government and President Anastasiades believe that Ankara’s stance should by no means lead us astray from our own objective, which is resuming negotiations on the Cyprus issue within the UN framework, as I had the chance to underscore during my visit to Nicosia: always on the basis of a bizonal, bicommunal federation with a single international personality, a single sovereignty and a single citizenship, as prescribed in the binding UN Security Council resolutions.
Therefore, I do not need to reiterate that proclamations over an alleged two-state solution lie beyond the UN framework, they are out of the question as far as Greece and Cyprus are concerned and they also lie outside of the EU framework. On the other hand, along with my friend Nicos we reaffirmed our common stance for the abrogation of the outdated system of guarantees and for the full withdrawal of occupation troops from the island.
Finally, as regards Greco-Turkish relations, let me repeat Greece’s position once more. We wish to have good relations with our neighbours, always keeping the channels of communication open, for an honest dialogue that is based on International Law, treaties, the rules of peaceful co-existence and good neighbourliness. Without threats, without provocations, without aggressive actions. Because, as I have stressed on many occasions, Greece intimidates nobody but it is not afraid of anyone either. Greece remains honest, without being naive.
My friend, dear President. Welcome to Athens and let me thank you and your wife for honouring us, being here with us, as we celebrate together this special occasion for Greeks everywhere.