Greece is in favour of a solution of the Cyprus problem, which will guarantee that Cyprus will be a normal state, member of the EU and the UN, and will fully enjoy the rights of a normal state, without third-party intervention rights, Greek Minister of Foreign Affairs Nikos Kotzias has said.
In a speech he delivered at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations on Wednesday, Kotzias referred to negotiations to solve the Cyprus problem, saying that during the Crans Montana talks, last July, the core of the problem was on the table.
He noted that there were conflicting interests between Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, and for this reason Turkish Cypriots must enjoy the most rights possible on the one hand and on the other hand a sense of security must be established for the Greek Cypriot side.
Kotzias also said that in his opinion the fundamental issue of the Cyprus problem was the illegal occupation of the northern part of the island. “Northern Cyprus is the most militarised part of Europe. Up until last year, there were 44,000 soldiers stationed there for 92,000 Turkish Cypriots and a total of 200,000 residents. The ratio is one soldier for every two Turkish Cypriots or one soldier for every family, if one takes the settlers into consideration,” Kotzias noted.
In his speech, Kotzias referred to Greece’s foreign policy, including the trilateral cooperation of Greece and Cyprus with Egypt, Israel, Palestine, Lebanon, Jordan, and Armenia.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. A UN-backed Conference on Cyprus last summer in the Swiss resort of Crans Montana, aiming to reunify the island under a federal roof, ended inconclusively.