THE Cyprus problem is a touchstone for Greco-Turkish relations and peace in the wider area, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said on Monday, as he pledged his government’s support for a fair and viable solution of the long-standing dispute.
Tsipras said recent violations of the island’s exclusive economic zone by Turkey undermined the reunification talks between the two sides, which must continue.
To continue however, Turkey must respect her neighbours and international law, he said, during a joint news conference with President Nicos Anastasiades.
“The Cyprus problem is the touchstone for Greco-Turkish relations and the much-sought consolidation of peace and stability in the wider area, which is going through a period of crises and high tension,” Tsipras added.
The new Greek prime minister said his government will support efforts for a fair and viable solution of the Cyprus problem,
Tsipras said a solution of the Cyprus problem would benefit Greek and Turkish Cypriots and at the same time enable strengthening co-operation between the countries in the region.
“It will release positive forces. It will create a new state of affairs and a new era for both Greece and Turkey, Cyprus, and the Cypriot people,” he said.
Reunification talks have stalled after Anastasiades pulled out in October when Turkey dispatched a research vessel to carry out seismic surveys in Cyprus’ EEZ.
Anastasiades reiterated that hydrocarbons belonged to the Republic of Cyprus and any proceeds would benefit all legitimate residents.
“Energy is the strongest motive that will lead to a comprehensive solution of the Cyprus problem, without winners or losers, and meet the expectations of the Cypriot people, Greek and Turkish Cypriots, for the creation of a modern European state,” the president said.
Tsipras later met with Greek and Turkish Cypriot non-governmental organisations, making him the first Greek prime minister to do so.
We rely on you and your efforts to achieve the goal of reunifying the Cypriot people, Tsipras said.