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Statements of Minister of Foreign Affairs Nikos Kotzias on arriving at the Holy Monastery of Kykkos and following his meeting with the Most Reverend Metropolitan of Kykkos, Nikiphoros, and the signing of the agreement granting a plot of land to the Greek
N. KOTZIAS: I am very pleased that, thanks to the Monastery and the wisdom of its abbot, we will be able to build a beautiful Greek Embassy and Ambassadorial residence.
I am very pleased that, thanks to the Monastery, the Greek flag will wave in the centre of Nicosia.
REPORTER: We have difficult battles ahead of us, Mr. Minister.
N. KOTZIAS: Now we have a good battle ahead of us. Thank you.
Statements following the signing of the agreement granting a plot of land to the Greek state
N. KOTZIAS: I am pleased and excited for our relations and representation here in Cyprus. And this is due to you; you are our starting point. Our concern is to resolve the Cyprus problem – but to resolve it in a just and creative way that benefits the Cypriot people rather than third parties.
REPORTER: Do you feel there are indications in that direction, Mr. Minister, given that you have spoken with Mr. Çavuşoğlu once or twice recently?
N. KOTZIAS: Indications don't come into existence on their own. We need to create them. But on problems like the Cyprus issue, it does not suffice for only us to create. The other sides participating in the process for resolving the Cyprus issue have to do the same.
REPORTER: Have you made any preparations on this with Mr. Çavuşoğlu?
N. KOTZIAS: In 2016 I stressed the need for proper preparation so we could explore whether there really can be an agreement, because I don’t think it is productive for us to go to negotiations that lead to an impasse or to referenda that don’t respond positively to the proposals that are made. From this standpoint, I hope the discussion we had in Izmir with Mr. Çavuşoğlu – that we will try to see if there can be convergence, I’m not saying a solution, before we begin the process of direct negotiations – was in a better spirit than in the past on the part of the other side. But that’s why I can’t give you a guarantee. I can guarantee that we will strive for a solution.
REPORTER: But does Turkey agree to come to a dialogue that will explore precisely these ...
N. KOTZIAS: We create developments, we don’t prophesie. Otherwise I would be a saint.
REPORTER: Has anything happened since the failure in Crans Montana? How do you see things?
N. KOTZIAS: I wouldn’t call Crans Montana a failure, because, in my assessment, for the first time, following a round of negotiations on the Cyprus problem, we are going to the next round with a better position than in the previous round. On the Cyprus problem, each round of negotiations was usually worse than the one before. Now we have the issue of guarantees and security on the table. The UN Secretary-General has accepted it. He adopted it during the Crans Montana talks, so we are in a better position than we previously were; we are on a creative course.
REPORTER: And today, here in Metochi with His Most Reverend, is this little adventure ending in the best possible way?
N. KOTZIAS: I think today we are gaining strength, inspiration to work with greater faith towards the solution of the Cyprus problem. This is the essence of today’s meeting, this is the essence of the small gifts we exchanged – important gifts to me. This is the essence of the great gift given to us: the plot of land on which the Greek Embassy will be built. Our dream is not just to see a beautiful, functional and productive Greek Embassy. Our dream is for this Embassy to be in a free, unified Cyprus.
REPORTER: Mr. Minister, things are constantly changing in this region. Yesterday you visited Israel and met with Mr. Netanyahu ...
N. KOTZIAS: As I often say, politics is bitter, but never boring.
REPORTER: Mr. Minister, regarding the developments in the Skopje issue and Mr. Zaev’s speech yesterday in the European Parliament ...
N. KOTZIAS: This is not the time or place to discuss other matters. In Cyprus I talk about the Cyprus issue, because I often criticize Greek politicians and public figures who talk about everything on the international stage except Cyprus and its liberation.