Cyprus solution a priority for the Greek government, says Tsipras

Cyprus solution a priority for the Greek government, says Tsipras

Cyprus and the efforts for a solution are a priority for the Greek government, Greek Premier Alexis Tsipras has said.

In a brief conversation he had with Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades at the Presidential Palace, before the tete – a – tete meeting and the discussions of the two sides, Tsipras noted that Cyprus has a particular symbolism for Greece and thus his first visit abroad could not have been anywhere else but Cyprus.

He added that Greece supports Nicosia in its efforts for a viable solution.

Tsipras also wished the beginning of the new Greek government to be combined with the need Hellenism to acquire a voice and strength to stand up for its rights.

President Anastasiades welcomed Premier Tsipras to Cyprus saying that every Prime Minister`s visit to the island is welcomed, especially of a newly elected one with a strong mandate and an interest for Cyprus.

Cyprus President also expressed his belief that during the discussion of the two sides the strong understanding between the two countries will be reaffirmed.

Earlier this morning, the Greek Premier arrived at the Presidential Palace, in Nicosia, and was received in the courtyard by the President of the Republic of Cyprus Nicos Anastasiades.

The Greek Premier and the Cypriot President inspected a military guard of honour as the police band played the national anthem.

Tsipras laid a wreath at that Statue of Archbishop Makarios III and afterwards the two statesmen greeted state officials present at the welcoming ceremony, including, inter alia, Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias, Greek Minister of State Nikos Pappas, Cypriot Government Spokesman Nicos Christodoulides and Under Secretary to the President Constantinos Petrides.

Afterwards, they entered the Presidential Palace where Anastasiades and Tsipras are having a tête-à-tête meeting, to be followed by official talks and statements to the press.

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 Ankara has not withdrawn its military troops from Cyprus despite repeated calls from various European and international institutions.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.