ATHENS - President Anastasiades has had separate meetings with the President of the Hellenic Parliament Evangelos Meimarakis and Greek President Karolos Papoulias.
President Anastasiades, on his first official visit to Athens since his election in late February, is also meeting with Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras.
In statements he made before the meeting, Meimarakis welcomed President Anastasiades and expressed the Greek Parliament’s readiness to cooperate with the new Cyprus government in the difficult task ahead as regards the economic crisis and the Cyprus issue.
On his part President Anastasiades expressed gratitude for all the help Greece has provided the Republic of Cyprus, mentioning in particular Cyprus’ accession to the EU and Greece’s part in it and the fact that a great number of Greeks have given their lives for the cause of the island’s independence.
Referring to the economic crisis, the Cyprus President said that in 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied a third of the island, Cyprus faced difficult times but managed to recover, adding that this will be the case again.
He further expressed his wish for close cooperation with Greece.
President Anastasiades continued his official visit with a meeting with Greek President Karolos Papoulias.
In a short statement before the meeting, Papoulias said the Cyprus issue is of the utmost importance for Greece, until the time comes when the island is reunified and freed from the occupation army.
On his part the Cyprus President thanked President Papoulias for Greece’s support and said he supports a creative dialogue which will lead to a solution, securing the rights of all Cypriots and ending the occupation of the island. He noted that as an EU candidate country, Turkey should meet the obligations it has undertaken.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. The latest round of direct talks began in 2008 with the aim to reunite the island under a federal roof.
The negotiations, which produced little progress, came to a halt last June when the Turkish Cypriot side withdrew from the negotiating table, before Cyprus resumed the Presidency of the Council of the EU July 1 2012.