NEWS

ND leader backs Cyprus president

TAGS: Politics, Diplomacy

New Democracy leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis expressed his unswerving support for Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades’s efforts in his quest for “a just and viable solution to the Cyprus problem” at a meeting Monday with visiting German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, but he also voiced concern at the incendiary rhetoric coming out of Turkey.

The leader of the conservative party, which recent polls suggest has established an unassailable lead over ruling SYRIZA, said the “revisionist” comments made by high-ranking Turkish officials, including President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, have sparked considerable concern over Ankara’s “true intentions” with regard to Greek-Turkish relations.

These statements, he said, only fuel tension at a time when the Cyprus talks have intensified. What is needed now, he said, is “calm and prudence.”

Rival leaders on the island agreed last week to resume talks for a solution after they broke down last month in Switzerland and announced there will be a final summit to discuss post-settlement security arrangements and guarantees on January 12 with the participation of guarantor powers Greece, Britain and Turkey.

But the nationalistic rhetoric from Turkish leaders has somewhat dampened expectations as most Greek party leaders reacted in disgust to Erdogan’s “provocative” remarks questioning the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne that set set the borders between the two countries. Similar sentiments were also expressed by Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, who described the Imia islets in the eastern Aegean as “Turkish soil.”

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