Statements by Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and the President of the Republic of Cyprus Nikos Christodoulides at the beginning of their meeting

Nikos Christodoulides: It is with great pleasure that I welcome you, this time in the context of the very important trilateral meeting with Israel. Regional cooperation that, among many other things, demonstrates the role that Cyprus and Greece, Greece and Cyprus, as member states of the European Union, can play in the Eastern Mediterranean region, a region of particular geostrategic importance.

Of course, we will also have the opportunity to discuss both the Cyprus issue and the Greek-Turkish issue. I consider September and October as crucial months on how things will develop.

The United Nations General Assembly, the meetings that you will have, the meetings that I will have, and the European Council in October, are important. And we are here to ensure that such developments will lead to positive steps in both the Greek-Turkish relations and the Cyprus issue. The resolution of disputes, the resolution of any problems, the resolution of the Cyprus issue is of primary importance to us.

I would like to take this opportunity to reiterate that the current state of affairs cannot be the future of Cyprus. What I have conveyed – very clearly – also recently, on the occasion of the presence of the UN Assistant Secretary-General in Cyprus, is our readiness to resume talks as soon as possible and resolve the Cyprus issue. A solution to the Cyprus issue that will benefit all parties involved.

We cannot, as I often say, change geography and we are here to work with all our neighbours, on the basis of International Law, on the basis of data that will benefit all the peoples of the region.

With this in mind, let me welcome you back to Cyprus.

Kyriakos Mitsotakis: Dear Nikos, first of all, let me thank you for your exceptional hospitality and for the very nice dinner that you had the opportunity to host for me and my wife last night.

I am in Cyprus for the second time in a few weeks, this time in the framework of the trilateral cooperation that we have developed between Greece, Cyprus and Israel.

Three countries – factors of stability in the Eastern Mediterranean. A trilateral format that has stood the test of time and has shown its usefulness on many levels, not only on the geopolitical level, but also on the economic front and on energy. And I look forward to extremely useful and substantive discussions on how we can further deepen this cooperation.

Now, on the bilateral level, I think you are absolutely right when you say that the next two months will be crucial on many levels. First of all, on the Cyprus issue, I would like to endorse your view, your approach that it is very important to restart the talks as soon as possible, within the framework of the United Nations resolutions.

Greece will always be a firm supporter of this position and of course the coming months are important in terms of the Greek-Turkish relations. I view these developments with moderate optimism. I say this because we have indeed seen a reduction in tension as regards Greek- Turkish relations in recent months.

The Greek Foreign Minister will be in Turkey tomorrow for political discussions with his counterpart. However, this good climate obviously needs to be consistent and sustained, and this certainly requires Turkey to reconsider, I would say, the aggressive stance it has adopted towards Greece in recent years.

So all this will be on our minds at our bilateral meeting and we will have the opportunity to discuss it again at the United Nations General Assembly.

Finally, I would like to close my statement by thanking the Republic of Cyprus again for the support it has provided to Greece regarding the response to the fires. We too have stood by your side. It so happened that the fires in Cyprus and Greece did not coincide, so this allowed us to help you.

However, the challenges of climate change are such that I believe they require an upgraded framework for regional cooperation, as all countries in the region face similar challenges. Transnational cooperation has shown – also in the case of Greece – that it can provide significant resources, both in terms of human resources and in terms of aircraft and aerial firefighting resources, at a difficult time.

Thank you once again for your warm welcome.