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GREEK COUNTERPART AND FOREIGN MINISTER MEET CYPRUS DEFENCE MINISTER
Visiting Cyprus Defence Minister Photis Photiou held meetings with his Greek counterpart Panos Panagiotopoulos and Greek Foreign Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos in Athens on Thursday.
After his meeting with Avramopoulos, which was also attended by Panagiotopoulos, the Greek foreign minister said they had reaffirmed the excellent level of bilateral cooperation between Greece and Cyprus and the mutual desire to further enhance coordination and joint action by the two countries. Special reference was made to the emerging prospects for cooperation in energy, while Avramopoulos repeated Greece's full support and solidarity with Cyprus.
The foreign minister stressed the great courage and strength shown by the Cypriot people in the face of the difficult decisions taken to tackle the crisis, expressing his conviction that, with the right strategy and planning, Cyprus will soon be on the road to recovery.
He also underlined that the Cyprus issue remained a top priority for Greece and cooperation with Cyprus a 'foundation stone' of foreign policy.
"Our common goal is to end the Turkish occupation and settlement and to find a comprehensive, agreed solution to the Cyprus issue, based on the decisions of the UN Security Council and Cyprus' membership of the European Union," he said.
He repeated Greece's support for Cyprus' membership of NATO's Partnership for Peace programme.
Photiou also had a meeting with Panagiotopoulos to discuss defence and military cooperation, as well as coordination issues between the two ministries and matters of mutual interest for Greece and Cyprus concerning developments in the southeastern Mediterranean.
In statements afterward, Panagiotopoulos stressed that Greece, regardless of the conditions or difficulties that might exist, "will never cease to be the primary power, the primary factor that guarantees the security, that guarantees the sovereignty, independence and integrity of the Cyprus Republic."
Panagiotopoulos noted the close cooperation between the Greek and Cypriot defence ministries, saying the meeting had been a chance to review all issues relating to their cooperation, both operational and strategic, with an agreement to enhance this even further.