President holds lengthy telephone conversation with Greek Premier ahead of Tsipras’ meeting with Erdogan

President Nicos Anastasiades and Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras held on Thursday a lengthy telephone conversation in view of the latter’s meeting this afternoon in Brussels, with Turkish President Recep Tayip Erdogan.

Anastasiades will also hold a telephone communication later in the afternoon with President of the European Council Donald Tusk.

The President and the Greek Premier discussed the positions that Tsipras will convey to Erdogan regarding the external aspect of the Cyprus issue, that is the chapter of security and guarantees, Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides told the press after today’s Cabinet meeting.

He said that the President’s contacts would continue in the next days and on Thursday afternoon Anastasiades would speak on the phone with President of the European Council Donald Tusk.

“These communications and the contacts that will take place in the immediate future are related to the visit of Mrs Lute to Cyprus and to all interested parties, an initiative that will begin in the last week of July,” said Christodoulides, adding that the Government’s expectation is for the UN Special Envoy’s contacts to lead to the resumption of the Cyprus talks from the point they ended last summer in Crans Montana, Switzerland.

He also stressed the importance of meetings such as the one the Greek Premier and the Turkish President will have this afternoon in Brussels, on the sidelines of the NATO summit.

The Greek Cypriot side, the FM said, records the UN Secretary General’s strong interest as it is shown through Lute’s mission, a development that the Greek Cypriot side welcomes and expects its results.

“Everything will depend on the completion of Mrs Lute’s contacts in Turkey, Greece, Britain and Brussels. It is estimated that these meetings would be concluded around the beginning of September and then she will inform the Secretary General, who will decide on the next steps,” he explained.

According to Christodoulides, the President will convey his positions to the Special Envoy of the Secretary General, expected to arrive in Cyprus on 21 July. “All we can say in public is to express our wish and expectation that Mrs Lute’s effort will yield results,” he added.

In his statements, the Minister of Foreign Affairs made it clear that a telephone conversation he had on Wednesday with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov had nothing to do with the diplomatic tension that has emerged between Russia and Greece.

He said they discussed developments in the Cyprus issue and Lute’s visit, as well as the discussions that will follow at the UN in the second half of July regarding the UN peacekeeping force in Cyprus, UNFICYP.

Cyprus and Russia, Christodoulides said, “continue to have the same warm ties as in previous years” and one of the basic pillars of Cyprus’ foreign policy is boosting relations with all the members of the Security Council, that expand beyond the Cyprus problem.

Invited to comment on a glossary for journalists unveiled earlier this week by the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, in the framework of his Office`s “Cyprus Dialogue” project, the Foreign Minister said that the Government respects the right to freedom of expression but stressed that “no one can question what happened in Cyprus in 1974, the Turkish invasion and occupation, which is clearly recorded in decisions and declarations of international organisations.”

The Government, Christodoulides repeated, focuses on the new initiative undertaken by the UN Secretary General, hoping it would bring results.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops 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.

source: CNA