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Greek president starts two-day visit (updated)

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Greece and Cyprus have a unified, solid diplomatic front, Greece’s president Katerina Sakellaropoulou said on Monday in a brief public exchange with President Nicos Anastasiades before the start of talks between delegations of the two countries at the Presidential Palace in Nicosia.

Sakellaropoulou is in Cyprus for a two day official visit.

She was given a warm welcome by Anastasiades who expressed gratitude for the support of the people of Greece to the Republic of Cyprus, Greek Cypriots and international law.

He noted that the visit of his Greek counterpart coincided with crisis created by Turkey’s unlawful actions in the Aegean and the eastern Mediterranean. Had Greece not reacted calmly, Ankara’s actions could have led to undesirable situations, he added.

Responding, Sakellaropoulou referred to the “very special relationship” between Greece and Cyprus and the significance Greece attached to the Cyprus issue.

Her visit to Cyprus comes at a very difficult juncture because of Turkey’s provocations, she added.

Sakellopoulou was due to have a meeting President Anastasiades during which she will be awarded the Grand Collar of the Order of Makarios III by Anastasiades, followed by extended talks by delegations from the two countries.

Later Sakellaropoulou is scheduled to meet Archbishop Chrysostomos and will hold a meeting with House speaker Demetris Syllouris and the leaders of political parties. She will also address a special plenary of the House at 4pm.

This evening she will attend an official dinner hosted at the Presidential Palace.

On Tuesday her programme includes a visit to the graves of Greek Cypriots killed by the British during the anti-colonial struggles in the mid-50s, the Makedonitissa tomb, and the ELDYK army camp in Malounda.

Sakellaropoulou will also meet the President of the Supreme Court before she departs for Athens on Tuesday afternoon.

In an interview with Cyprus News Agency before her visit, the Greek President said her official visit to Cyprus underlines the strong bonds that unite Greece and Cyprus, as well as the urgent need for the two states to coordinate their actions in order to protect their sovereign rights as EU member states.

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