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Cyprus' right to explore EEZ inalienable, Greek PM Samaras stresses
The exploitation of hydrocarbons in Cyprus' Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) constitutes an inalienable sovereign right of the Republic of Cyprus, Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras stressed on Tuesday, reiterating at the same time the determination of Greece to oppose any challenge to the sovereignty of the island republic.
On his part, visiting Cyprus President Demetris Christofias stressed that in a reunited Cyprus, Turkish Cypriots have nothing to lose, but only to gain from the exploitation of the country's natural resources. He called on Turkey to withdraw its troops from Cyprus' northern occupied areas and abandon its unacceptable and intransigent stance on the Cyprus issue, which leads to a solution of two states in Cyprus.
Samaras and Christofias were speaking to the press following a meeting they had at the Maximos Mansion during which they discussed the Cyprus issue as well as European and bilateral issues.
Referring to the 52nd anniversary of the Independence of Cyprus (October 1), the Greek prime minister expressed his country's support to the continuing struggle of the people of Cyprus for freedom and praised the Cyprus EU presidency for its "successful work in an extremely critical and demanding period for the future of Europe".
He noted that the exploitation of hydrocarbons in Cyprus' EEZ constitutes its inalienable sovereign right and reiterated Greece's determination to oppose any challenge to the sovereignty of Cyprus.
Samaras added that Cyprus is a factor of stability and peace in the region, noting that Greece will always stand on the side of the Greek Cypriots and the Republic of Cyprus in the struggle to end the Turkish occupation and find a just, functional and viable solution to the Cyprus issue.
A solution, he added, which should be based on the decisions of the United Nations and the values of the European Union, and in line with the acquis communautaire.
On his part, President Christofias referred to the struggle of the Greek Cypriot side to achieve a solution to the Cyprus issue based on UN resolutions and high level agreements between the two communities providing for the evolution of Cyprus into a federal state with a single sovereignty, a single citizenship and a single international personality.
As he said, this type of solution constitutes the concession of Greek Cypriots to Turkish Cypriots on condition that it will lead to a united state without the right of anyone to interfere in the internal affairs of Cyprus.
The Cyprus president made it clear that Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglou's position on a two state solution can never be accepted by any President of Cyprus and stressed Greece's firm support towards Cyprus both with regard to the effort to reunite the island and establish a federal state and to explore and exploit its natural resources.
He stressed that in a reunited Cyprus, Turkish Cypriots have nothing to lose, but only to gain from the exploitation of natural resources of Cyprus, adding that the Greek Cypriot side is consistent with this commitment, provided Turkey's occupation will end and Turkish occupation troops and settlers will leave the island and a federal state will be established.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded the island and occupied 37% of its territory. The latest round of UN-led direct negotiations began in September 2008 with a view to reunite the island.
SOURCE: ATHENS NEWS AGENCY