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Statement of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Nikos Dendias, following his meeting with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Cyprus, Nikos Christodoulides (Nicosia, 7 October 2019)
“My friend and colleague, Nikos Christodoulides, and I had the opportunity for an in-depth discussion of the latest developments in our region.
We talked about a state of affairs in which the unacceptable Turkish provocations and illegal activities against the sovereignty and sovereign rights of the Republic of Cyprus are continuing and, unfortunately, escalating.
The Turkish provocations completely ignore International Law, they ignore European values, they ignore the clear stances of the EU, the USA and the states of the region.
The day before yesterday, in Athens, I had the opportunity to brief the U.S. Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, in detail. He sent a very strong message from Athens. Agreeing with the firm conviction that Turkey is violating international law and undermining every effort to promote peace and cooperation in the region, he stressed that Turkey’s illegal drilling is unacceptable and that we cannot allow Turkey to continue in this direction.
Similar stances were also taken by important countries and allies of Greece and Cyprus, stressing that respect for International Law is the only acceptable path in contemporary international relations.
As I often say, gunboat diplomacy is fortunately gone forever. And it has been for some time. It belongs in the 19th century.
The militarisation and artificial escalation of an already tense situation is the conduct of a troublemaker entrenched in the impasses that have resulted from its own poor choices. These are not the choices of a modern, European, democratic rule of law.
Today I am visiting Nicosia so that Greece and Cyprus can coordinate their next steps. Next week, at the EU Foreign Affairs Council, we will brief our partners on Turkey’s new illegal activities and we will consider the best way to react. After all, this is an issue that concerns the European Union as a whole.
My dear friends, Cyprus is not alone.
We also discussed the prospects for relaunching substantial negotiations on the resolution of the Cyprus problem. Prospects that, unfortunately, are hindered by Turkey’s constant provocation in Cyprus’s maritime zones, even in blocks for which licenses have been issued, as well as in Famagusta.
Turkey’s violations will not bend our unshakeable will to end the Turkish occupation on the island.
As Kyriakos Mitsotakis said here in Nicosia, the resolution of the Cyprus problem is still the main concern of our foreign policy. International law – the Resolutions of the UN and the Community Acquis – remain our compass in these efforts.
Thank you very much.”