Greece`s Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias said on Wednesday evening that Athens “believes in, desires and supports a Cyprus that is truly independent and sovereign; a Cyprus that is federal, without the weight of shame: some third power occupying territory of the island and, by extension, of the EU.”
Kotzias was speaking about Greek foreign policy at a time of crisis at the European Studies Center of St Anthony`s College in Oxford. He described Greece’s relationship with Cyprus as “pivotal”.
“If we are annoyed – and rightly so – by the presence of foreign forces in Ukraine, a state that is not a member of the Union, our annoyance should be infinitely greater with the occupation of a portion of Cyprus, an EU member state, by a foreign force,” continued the Greek Minister.
He added that Athens supports and will continue to support an honest solution on the Cyprus issue, without outside pressures. “A solution that makes the Turkish Cypriots feel that the island is their home, and makes the Greek Cypriots feel secure. This is why we support the greatest possible – not just the greatest or the possible, but the greatest possible – rights of the Turkish Cypriots and all three minorities. And, on the other hand, the greatest possible security for the Greek Cypriots. Cyprus’s operative problem is neither distribution of resources nor the differences of its communities. It is the occupation. The presence of 43,000 Turkish troops, one for every four settlers of occupied Cyprus, or one for every two remaining Turkish Cypriots, as most have fled abroad.”
He spoke of the will of Greece for a comprehensive and real solution to the Cyprus problem. “We will support every process,” he noted. “But under no circumstances do we want a ‘virtual’ solution that has us kidding ourselves. Nor, on the other hand, do we want to become prisoners of history. This is why we propose a real, substantial solution. This is why we support the bicommunal talks. This is why we want an end to the status of the guarantor powers. Foreign troops are not needed in Cyprus that is member state of the European Union. And besides, what kind of solution is one that would impose their continuing presence? What kind of solution is it one says that, yes, everything was been resolved, but everything has to remain as it is?”, wondered Mr Kotzias.
He also said that on his recent trip to Turkey he proposed to his interlocutors that they work systematically for the resolution of the Cyprus issue. “This means putting an end to the occupation and the violations of the guarantor powers,” he stressed.
Referring to the relationship between Greece and Turkey, he remarked that the two countries have much in common, in culture and in recent history. “As I said on my recent visit to Ankara, Allah tossed us into the same place. We have to live together. We have to shape the conditions for cooperation. The solution of the Cyprus issue and the end of any violations or threats will free up multiple cooperative forces between our two peoples,” said Nikos Kotzias.
He added that in order to create a better atmosphere of trust, the two sides agreed to promote certain CBMs proposed by Greece to Turkey and prepare to start the exploratory talks anew: “At the same time, we are taking measures for the development of economic and cultural relations, despite the many Turkish provocations in the Aegean and the constant Turkish violations in the air and on sea. We want to live in peace with Turkey, based on the principles of good neighbourly relations, international law, understanding between peoples, progress. We hope that Ankara will in the end respond.”
Kotzias was critical of the EU policies in dealing with the big modern challenges, such as the demographic problem and the unemployment. The EU can and must contribute towards the direction of the creative resolution of this contradiction: a Europe of democracy, of social justice, of equality and the participation of all the member states, with the same rights, in its institutional system, the strengthening of the course of political cooperation and integration, with respect for traditions, choices, needs of the nation states; With the creation of a European demo, ensuring respect for the European Charter of Fundamental Rights, which the troika so flagrantly violated in Greece,” commented the minister.
“For the EU to move along the positive tracks, I just described, it needs to overcome its characteristic weakness, which has impressed me during my few months as a minister: It needs to learn to see beyond the end of its nose, as we say in Greece. To manage our future not as a momentary action, nor as a shareholders’ meeting that thinks with a horizon of quarterly earnings, through reactions with no broader horizon, without rethinking the consequences of its choices, of its actions. The EU has to re-learn to think in the long term. To consider the consequences of its actions and include in each of its decisions visionary elements based on the values and ideals of a democratic polity,” he added.
ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY