My dear friend Nikos,
On behalf of the Mitsotakis government, I would like to start by extending to the Cypriot Government, President Anastasiades and the fraternal people of the Republic of Cyprus, our warm congratulations on the 61st anniversary of the Independence of Cyprus.
I think I needn’t say anything further except for what is self-evident, that Greece will always be on the side of the Republic of Cyprus, committed to the efforts made for a just and viable solution to the Cyprus issue. A solution of a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation based on the relevant UN Security Council Resolutions and the European acquis.
I would like to thank the Minister for the briefing on the latest developments in the Cyprus issue, in the light of what was discussed at the recent lunch hosted by the UN Secretary-General for the President of the Republic of Cyprus and the leader of the Turkish Cypriot community.
Today we also discussed the strengthening of our multilateral cooperation with other countries in our wider region. I briefed Mr. Christodoulides thoroughly about the agreement between France and Greece, emphasizing what I have reiterated many times, following what the Prime Minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, clearly stated at the Elysée Palace, that this agreement is strictly defensive in nature.
It strengthens European defence, which is our common goal and contributes in a positive way to promoting security and stability in the Mediterranean.
I also briefed my friend, the Minister, on what we expect from the 63rd Round of exploratory talks that will take place the day after tomorrow. I want to say that it is unacceptable that Turkey, through continuous provocations and inflammatory statements, tries to undermine the climate of these contacts before they even take place.
The latest example is the letter submitted by the Turkish Permanent Representative to the United Nations, regarding the militarization of the islands in the Aegean Sea.
I would like to say that the Turkish protest constitutes an example of oxymoron. Turkey is protesting the militarization of the islands, while Turkey itself has one of the largest landing forces in the Mediterranean facing the Greek islands.
At the same time, it calls on Greece to leave the islands unprotected in the event of an external threat. We reject in their entirety all the unfounded accusations hurled by our neighbour Turkey. We reject all its illegal actions. And I would like to say that Greece does not threaten anyone but it is not intimidated by illegal actions. It will protect its sovereignty; it will protect its sovereign rights as derived from International Law and the Law of the Sea.
I call on Turkey to refrain from illegal actions that destabilize the region, that endanger international navigation and, in our view, offer absolutely nothing to Turkey, offer absolutely nothing to Turkish society.
We also condemn the illegal actions against the Republic of Cyprus, starting with the invasion and, of course, the ongoing occupation of a large part of its territory.
Furthermore, we condemn the recent illegal declarations on the status of Varosha, the announcement regarding military exercises in Cypriot territorial waters and yesterday’s actions in the Cypriot EEZ.
Finally, I would like to be clear about Turkey’s recent announcements of illegal drilling on the Cypriot continental shelf. There are decisions of the European Council on this issue.
If there is a relapse on the part of Turkey, the necessary measures should be taken. I always say that Turkey’s conduct cannot be accepted. This is the position of Greece, of the Greek government, of Greek society as a whole.
Nikos, it is always a great pleasure for me to welcome you in Athens. I am glad that today we had the opportunity to talk once again in the most cordial atmosphere.