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Christodoulides tells EU counterparts ‘I told you so’ over Turkey

File photo: Foreign minister Nicos Christodoulides

Cyprus’ Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides said he did not rejoice over having to tell his EU counterparts ‘I told you so’ as regards the negative results of the policy of appeasement the bloc has been following on Turkey.

According to the foreign ministry, Christodoulides, addressing the extraordinary EU Foreign Affairs Council (FAC) on Friday afternoon, said: “I do not rejoice in being able to say ‘I told you so’, neither to repeat that Cyprus has been underlining since July 2019 that the policy of appeasement will not work with Turkey.”

The minister said that “appeasement and lukewarm response by the EU, acts as a form of encouragement and is perceived as weakness, for a country that thrives on bullying, aggression and blackmail.”

He reiterated that Cyprus stands ready to negotiate in good faith with Turkey on the delimitation of the maritime zones between their relevant coasts, an invitation that is still open and has been welcomed by the Council repeatedly.

Christodoulides also said the Republic of Cyprus has invited Turkey to submit the issue of delimitation of their respective maritime zones in the north and west of the island to the International Court of Justice.

“If Turkey feels confident about its legal positions, claiming they are based on international law, why not put them to the test?” he asked.

The extraordinary videoconference took place on Greece’s request following the dispatch by Turkey of a seismic vessel for exploration in Greek waters earlier this week, the second time in recent weeks.

Greece’s Foreign Affairs Minister Nikos Dendias had a meeting on Friday with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Vienna on the matter.

According to the Cyprus News Agency, Dendias briefed Christodoulides during a telephone conversation about the meeting.

In statements after the meeting in Vienna, the Greek official expressed hope that all parties involved in the eastern Mediterranean dispute will act in accordance with international law and that there will be no conflict.

In a press release, the US State Department said that “Secretary Pompeo and Foreign Minister Dendias discussed the strong US-Greece bilateral relationship and the urgent need to reduce tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean.”

Christodoulides is set to have a meeting on Sunday morning with US Under Secretary for Political Affairs David Hale, who will visit Cyprus.

During the meeting, bilateral relations between the two countries will be reviewed as well as ways to further strengthen them.

Christodoulides and Hale will also exchange views on the Cyprus issue, on current developments in the eastern Mediterranean and the situation in the wider Middle East region.

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