Greek FM: Key Year to Solve Cyprus Issue

ISTANBUL - Greek Foreign Ministry spokesman George Koumoutsakos said Monday that 2009 will be a crucial year in the effort to resolve the Cyprus issue, reported the Athens news agency. The diplomat, who was a speaker at a public discussion organized by the Cyprus Journalists Union and the University of Cyprus, said that this year will be one of challenges and opportunities at all levels and on all fronts for the foreign policy of both Greece and Greek Cyprus.

In his talk, which focused on the issue of "Greek Foreign Policy: Challenges and Opportunities in the Era of Uncertainty and of Expectation," Koumoutsakos stressed that "Greece, without second thoughts, encourages, backs and supports the process of the bi-communal dialogue under the auspices of the U.N., so that we can be led without tight timetables and arbitration to an agreement on the reunification of Cyprus as a bi-zonal, bi-communal federal state with one unified sovereignty, international legal personality and citizenship."

He added that such a solution must take into consideration the status of Greek Cyprus as a European Union member-state, as well as European principles and values.

The spokesman also discussed Turkey's accession course and noted that the dilemma existing in Brussels is between full accession or a special relationship, adding that Turkey itself can give a final reply to this dilemma and that the responsibility is primarily its own. Regarding Greece's position on Turkey's accession course, he said: "Greece, based on the strategy without blank checks of 'full adjustment-full accession,' believes that a European democratic Turkey can and must have its place in the European family. We believe that this will be in the interest of Turkey itself, of the European Union, the region and, of course, in the interest of Greece and Cyprus." Talat departs to meet Clinton
Turkish Cypriot President Mehmet Ali Talat departed yesterday for the United States, where he is scheduled to meet U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Washington, D.C., today.

" I am attaching the utmost importance to this visit, and I consider it an important step in our foreign relations," Talat told a news conference before his departure from Istanbul's Atatork Airport. Talat is visiting Washington on Clinton’s invitation. "The visit shows the importance the U.S. administration places on the views of the Turkish Cypriot side," Talat said. He will depart from Washington, tomorrow.

(Posting date 29 June 2009)

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