President Nikos Christodoulides and Greek Prime Minister Kyriacos Mitsotakis announced on Monday that their governments will institutionalise a coordination body, as a new chapter in Athens and Nicosia relations.
“This organised inter-governmental dialogue should have perhaps already been set up but here we are now announcing it officially,” Mitsotakis said.
It was Christodoulides’ first trip to Greece as president.
It was explained that the mechanism will allow for the cabinets of the two governments to meet and brief each other on issues of common interest and concern, with both leaders attending, too.
Aside from the supreme intergovernmental cooperation council, Mitsotakis said that he supports Christodoulides’ proposition to have the EU more involved in solving the Cyprus issue.
Mitsotakis said that Christodoulides assumed his duties at a very difficult period of geopolitical volatility with overt revisionism.
“The mobilisation of Greece and Cyprus is necessary more than ever before. We stand together in the upcoming European Council,” Mitsotakis said, underlining his country’s readiness to continue the fight for the common vision of resolving the Cyprus issue based on the decisions of the UN and the bizonal bicommunal federation.
As for relations with Turkey, the Greek PM said that after a long period of unacceptable provocations and a hostile attitude there have been improvements and a more positive stance.
Mitsotakis expressed his hope that these developments can have a positive impact on the Cyprus problem.
He further emphasised that international legitimacy cannot tolerate in the 21st century either an occupying army in Cyprus or outdated systems of guarantees and the right of third parties to intervene.
Christodoulides underlined that his visit to Athens goes beyond its symbolic dimension as it takes place at a time when the two countries have to face common challenges both in the region and in their European family.
“I informed Mitsotakis about the need for more active involvement of the EU in the efforts to resolve the Cyprus issue. We know very well that the facts are not easy, but we strongly believe that the current situation cannot be the solution to the problem,” Christodoulides said.
The two leaders had a private meeting followed by extended talks by the delegations of the two sides.
Earlier, Christodoulides began his meetings in Greece with Greek President Katerina Sakellaropoulou, with whom he discussed the Cyprus problem, bilateral relations and regional issues.
Christodoulides informed Sakellaropoulou about his upcoming meetings with UN Assistant Secretary-General Rose Marie DiCarlo, who will be visiting Cyprus this week.
The two also discussed strengthening Cyprus-Greece relations, and how to upgrade their roles in the trilateral cooperations they have with other countries in the region.
Regarding the migration issue, the two said that as frontline countries there needs to be a better way of managing the issue.
The Cyprus issue is a constant concern and top national priority of Greek foreign policy, Sakellaropoulou told Christodoulides.
Christodoulides said that his visit to Greece is both symbolic and essential and stressed that the current situation in Cyprus cannot be the future of Cyprus and Nicosia cannot continue to be the last divided capital of Europe.
Sakellaropoulou also referred to the deadly train accident in Greece a few weeks ago that claimed the lives of many young people, including Cypriot students, and expressed her sincere condolences.
Christodoulides also expressed his condolences to Greece over the train accident.