23 February, 2006
New Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis on Wednesday reiterated Athens' standing policy vis-à-vis the Cyprus issue, noting that both Greece and Cyprus continue to solidly support a just, viable and functional solution for Cyprus based on respect of EU values and UN resolutions "to the benefit of Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots alike".
The comments came during a meeting here between Bakoyannis, the former Athens mayor, and visiting Cyprus Foreign Minister George Iacovou.
On her part, the Greek FM underlined that for any solution to be viable, it must be the product of an agreement that is, in turn, acceptable by both communities.
She also supported resumption of a process leading to a solution, without however, tight deadlines and arbitration, as she said, "so that it (process) retains the largest number of elements for success".
"We all agree that there are no more margins for a new failure," Bakoyanni said.
In echoing standing Greek policy, meanwhile, Bakoyannis made it clear that efforts to resolve the Cyprus issue should not be confused with obligations that EU candidate-country Turkey has vis-à-vis the bloc.
Finally, she welcomed Iacovou back to Athens, while calling the level of talks "excellent", before announcing her anticipation for Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos' upcoming visit to Athens in the first half of March.
On his part, the Cypriot foreign minister first noted that he was the first foreign minister to meet with Bakoyanni since her assumption of the high-ranking ministry portfolio, while expressing his conviction that cooperation will be based on the "common policy that has been laid out over the years by the two governments, President Papadopoulos and the Greek premier".
The Cypriot foreign minister said discussions on Wednesday included certain issues involving the possibility that draft regulations envisioning assistance to the T/C community will be discussed at the upcoming General Affairs Council.
He also reminded that Papadopoulos will meet with UN chief Kofi Annan in Paris next Tuesday.
Cypriot president denies displeasure with new Greek FM appt: President of the Republic of Cyprus Tassos Papadopoulos said that press reports alleging his administration was displeased with the recent appointment of Dora Bakoyannis to the foreign ministry post were 'nonsense', in comments he made to reporters on Wednesday during his stop-over at Macedonia Airport in Thessaloniki as he returned from Vienna to Cyprus.
Papadopoulos expressed certainty that cooperation between the two countries will continue.
"In no way, either directly or indirectly, have we ever thought that we have a say or that we can intervene in the decisions made by the Greek prime minister," he said.
Furthermore, he said that the time is "always ripe" for a new initiative on solving the Cyprus issue, in response to related journalists' questions.
Referring to his upcoming meeting with UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, Papadopoulos said that the meeting was set during a phone conversation "for a general overview regarding the status of the Cyprus issue."
He added that the meeting is not the result of statements issued by Ankara, although he expects that Annan will refer to them during their meeting.
"We would like for the Secretary General to take action in an effort to prepare the groundwork so that talks on the Cyprus issue can resume," he said.
Additionally, he said that Annan agrees with Nicosia's view that "preparations for the new round of talks must be made if there can be a reasonable expectation of reaching an agreement."
As for the Turkish Cypriot community, Papadopoulos said that it does not demand to be recognized as a country because if it is it will lose its EU citizen status.
He also noted that in 2006 the Commission report regarding Turkey fulfilling its obligations will be released.
During his stop-over, Papadopoulos also met briefly with Macedonia-Thrace Minister Yiorgos Kalatzis.
Source: Athens News Agency