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Statements of Foreign Minister Avramopoulos and the Foreign Minister of the Republic of Cyprus, E. Kozakou-Markoulli, on his arrival in Cyprus
E. KOZAKOU-MARKOULLI: I just want to offer a very, very warm welcome to my dear friend, the Foreign Minister of Greece, Dimitris Avramopoulos, on his first official visit since his appointment, which of course is traditionally carried out to Cyprus. But it is also the first official visit of an official to Cyprus since we assumed the EU Presidency 16 hours ago. This is a very important sign.
Dimitris, we thank you very much for this visit, and we will certainly have a lot to discuss during our talks. These are difficult days, difficult times, but always with cooperation from Greece, which is a traditionally close collaborator. And we thank you very much for the help you have given us on Presidency issues. We are certain we will have a successful Presidency. Welcome, Dimitris.
D. AVRAMOPOULOS: It is a particular pleasure to be together with you again. Of course, within a very short time, I am again visiting Cyprus, which I love very much. I was here a few months ago in my previous capacity – Defense Minister – and of course today’s visit is full of significance, as my good friend the Foreign Minister, Erato, just noted. I am here, in essence, to bring good luck to the Cypriot Presidency.
I thank Madam Minister for her welcome, feeling, as does every Greek who visits Cyprus, deeply moved, carrying out my first official visit in my new capacity: that of Greek Foreign Minister.
I really am pleased, because my visit coincides with the Republic of Cyprus’s taking over the Presidency of the European Union, for the first time in its history. This is an event of special, historic significance.
I am absolutely certain that the Republic of Cyprus will carry this task off with complete success; a task that, as we all know, is particularly difficult at this time, due to the economic state of affairs, as well as to the fluid situation in the region.
It is the longstanding position of Greece, of Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras and the new government of national responsibility, that the Cyprus issue is the top priority of our foreign policy. We remain devoted to our common goal, which is an end to the Turkish occupation and settlement, and the finding of a just, viable and functional solution within the framework of the UN resolutions and in accordance with the values of the European Union and the community acquis.
The meetings that are on my schedule for this visit will give me the opportunity to receive a more complete briefing on the recent developments in this major national issue. At the same time, we will exchange views and talk to the President of Cyprus, the President of the House of Representatives and all the political parties about coordination of our actions in the coming time so that we can achieve our common goals. Of course, we are also inaugurating a personal cooperation with the Foreign Minister, my good friend Erato Markoulli, in the belief that we can contribute, in the spirit of cooperation which she herself described earlier, so that as soon as possible we can find a solution to our national problem, while also deepening our cooperation within our great European family.
In closing, I would like once again to wish the Cypriot Presidency every success, and I really believe this will mark a new era for our Cyprus within the European family. Thank you very much.