Cyprus problem a “test” for Greek-Turkey relations, says Greek Premier

Cyprus problem a “test” for Greek-Turkey relations, says Greek Premier

The Cyprus problem is a litmus test and a very important issue in the relations between Greece and Turkey, the Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said, following a meeting he had Monday with President Nicos Anastasiades and consultations between the two sides, in the presence of other officials.

Tsipras arrived this morning in Cyprus for an official visit, the first after he assumed his duties.

In his statements to the press he referred to the high level of cooperation between the two governments, adding that there was an understanding as regards bilateral relations.

On the presence of Turkey`s “Barbaros“ in Cyprus` exclusive economic zone, the Greek Prime Minister said that it constitutes an obvious violation of the international law and undermines the negotiations that ought to be continued.

President of the Republic said that during the meeting, the longstanding support on behalf of Greece was reaffirmed. He added that both sides agreed, during their open and honest discussion, that Cyprus solution is a strategic objective.

President Anastasiades said that the negotiations for a solution to the Cyprus problem must resume, noting however the need for the problem in Cyprus` EEZ with the presence of Turkish `Barnaros` to be resolved.

He also said that hydrocarbons can work for the benefit of Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. Numerous UN-backed rounds of negotiations with the aim to reunite the island under a federal roof, have not yet yielded result. Turkey is the only country in the world which does not recognize the Republic of Cyprus. Ankara has not withdrawn its military troops from Cyprus despite repeated calls from various European and international institutions.

President of the Republic of Cyprus Nicos Anastasiades has suspended his participation in the talks following a Navigational Telex or NAVTEX, issued by Turkey in October last year, as Turkish seismic research vessel “Barbaros” violated the Republic’s exclusive economic zone.

Repeated calls for the withdrawal of “Barbaros” went unheeded by Ankara, which announced recently the NAVTEX`s extension until April 6, 2015.