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Greek Foreign Minister Arrives in Cyprus
2008-06-12 11:15:51

Larnaca, Jun 12 - Greek Minister of Foreign Affairs Dora Bakoyiannis assured on her arrival to Cyprus that Greece will contribute so that the new effort underway for a Cyprus settlement will be based on strong foundations and that the necessary preparation is made for direct negotiations that will give the best possible prospects and guarantees for success.

Speaking at Larnaca Airport, Foreign Minister Bakoyiannis said she would have the opportunity to meet with President Demetris Christofias and the political leadership of the island during her stay.

''We are once again at a very decisively significant time in the long struggle for a just, viable and functional solution of the Cyprus problem. A new, brave and difficult effort has begun,'' Ms. Bakoyiannis said, adding that ''much work awaits us all.''

She assured that ''Greece will contribute so that this new effort is based on strong foundations, so that the necessary and proper preparation is made, that will give the best possible prospects and guarantees for success.''

After talks with her Cypriot counterpart Markos Kyprianou, she stated that the road to a reunited, peaceful and prosperous Cyprus is not “a bed of roses” but it can be achieved.

The Minister expressed hope that sufficient progress is made at the ongoing talks between representatives of the Greek Cypriot and the Turkish Cypriot communities to allow substantive negotiations to begin, leading to a mutually acceptable solution.

“Only a bizonal, bicommunal federation can open widely the prospect of a settlement and provide the necessary momentum for a common, better future, for peace, development and security in Cyprus, without the illegal presence of the occupation troops, and without the right of intervention and the outdated system of guarantees by third countries,” Ms. Bakoyianni stressed.

The solution, she noted, must be in line with Security Council resolutions and EU principles.“The road to achieve this goal, a reunited, peaceful, stable and prosperous European Cyprus, is not a bed of roses. We both believe in the struggle for a just, functional and viable settlement,” she added.

On Ankara’s role in the Cyprus peace effort, she stated that: “Ankara has a very important role to play, to encourage actively the Turkish Cypriot leadership to move in the right direction, that of moderation and constructive attitude.”

“Turkey cannot use domestic political concerns as an alibi for maintaining its long standing positions of suspicion and intransigence. No internal issue must be presented as an alibi for the absence of a substantive effort towards Cyprus settlement,” she said.

Replying to questions about the right of guarantee in Cyprus, she said, “A European united Cyprus has no need for old-fashioned guarantees and rights of intervention.” 

Regarding Turkey’s EU course, she said that Turkey has the opportunity to join the EU, provided it fulfills all the criteria and the prerequisites set out by the Union.

In his remarks, Mr. Kyprianou noted the pivotal timing of Bakoyianni’s visit, the first since the election of the present government to power, and said they had a “very constructive discussion.”

“Greece affords Cyprus continuous political support in practice, in particular on the question of Cyprus. We had the chance to discuss this national issue and other European matters we deal with,” he said.

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