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Greek-Turkish upgrade can only help Cyprus – president

ΠτΔ – Γεύμα Εργασίας με Πρέσβεις τ

President Nikos Christodoulides will speak with Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitstotakis on Thursday, following the latter’s meeting with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan.

“Mr Mitsotakis will inform me after the meeting with Erdogan is completed. May there be positive results. I believe that the improvement of Greek-Turkish relations is something that will also help our own efforts,” the president said after a lunch with EU ambassadors on Thursday.

“Besides, the position of Athens is well known that there can be no full normalisation without the solution of the Cyprus problem, so any meeting which will actually have positive results, I think will also help our own effort.”

Asked if the Cyprus problem will be among the topics Greece and Turkey discuss, government spokesman Konstantinos Letymbiotis said on Wednesday: “The Cyprus problem is always high on the Greek government agenda.”

He added that any improvement in Greece-Turkey relations is not irrelevant to the Cyprus problem, which is something that Mitsotakis himself had mentioned previously.

In an interview with the Kathimerini newspaper on Wednesday ahead of his visit to Athens, Erdogan mentioned Cyprus, when discussing the hydrocarbons in the eastern Mediterranean.

He repeated the proposal for co-exploitation of the energy resources in the maritime area of Cyprus “until a comprehensive solution is reached on the island”.

“I will tell him, Kyriakos, my friend, we don’t threaten you if you don’t threaten us,” Erdogan told Kathimerini, adding that Athens and Ankara could solve their problems without foreign intervention.

He said cooperation could be enhanced in sectors including the economy, transport, energy and migration, where Turkey needed the support of the European Union, and that the renewed electoral mandate both leaders received this year could help the two countries make constructive progress.

The two leaders hope the meeting can turn a new page in relations after years of tensions.

Greece and Turkey, neighbours and Nato allies, have been at odds for decades over issues including where their continental shelves start and end, energy resources, overflights of the Aegean Sea, and ethnically-split Cyprus.

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