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Greek and Cypriot FMs discuss Cyprus question
2006-06-22 15:08:57

Athens, Jun 22 - Greek and Cypriot Foreign Ministers Dora Bakoyiannis and George Lillikas agreed in Athens today that the two countries will continue to cooperate closely for achieving a viable, functional and just solution to the Cyprus problem.

Mr. Lillikas held today a series of contacts in Athens, in his first visit to Greece after his appointment as Cyprus' Foreign Minister. He had talks with Ms. Bakoyiannis, while he was received by Greek President Karolos Papoulias and had separate meetings with Development Minister Demetris Sioufas and opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou.

In statements after their meeting both Ms. Bakoyiannis and Mr. Lillikas underlined that there is no difference in Greece's and Cyprus' strategic goals.

The two FMs comments came after a series of press reports in Athens for different views between Cyprus and Greece regarding Turkey's European course.

''It is absolutely rational that we share the same principles and targets. Therefore we work towards the same direction,'' Ms. Bakoyiannis said, replying to questions.

Ms. Bakoyiannis and Mr. Lillikas looked into issues of tactics and ways of handling developments in the Cyprus problem and Turkey's EU course.

As regards the implementation by Turkey of the Ankara Protocol (the extension of its Custom Union with the ten new EU member-states including Cyprus), Lillikas said that ''the time remaining until October (when the EU Commission will issue its report regarding Turkey's EU course) must be used convince Turkey to respond to its obligations, with a view to pave the way for the procedures to be followed for a Cyprus settlement.''

Ms. Bakoyiannis reiterated that by the end of 2006, Turkey will be assessed on whether it fulfills its obligations.

''Greece and Cyprus cooperating closely and with absolute coordination must work for the sole, the major target, the achievement of a viable, functional and just solution to the Cyprus problem,'' Ms. Bakoyiannis said, reiterating that ''for the Greek foreign policy this is an issue of top priority and is addressed by the Greek people as such.''

The Greek FM added that ''Greece and Cyprus must work on the effort for a solution, a solution that must be based on the UN decisions and resolutions, the comprehensive efforts made all these years by successive UN Secretaries Generals and taking into account the new European acquis communautaire.''

''This was the target and this target we will try to achieve with the best possible cooperation and in the best possible coordination,'' she stressed.

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