Cyprus still ?top priority? for Athens

The Cyprus problem remains Greece?s ?top foreign policy priority,? Foreign Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos said on Sunday, arriving on the divided island on the day the Republic of Cyprus assumed the rotating presidency of the European Union.

Avramopoulos, who met with his counterpart Erato Kozakou-Markoulli, told reporters at Larnaca airport that he was maintaining the position of Prime Minister Antonis Samaras in his stance toward Cyprus.

The government in Nicosia has its work cut out for it by undertaking the EU?s presidency as negotiations continue for a foreign bailout package to prop up its banks and economy. President Dimitris Christofias told state television NET on Saturday that Cyprus would seek rescue funding from the EU but stopped short of giving a figure. It was unclear whether Nicosia would seek additional funding from other nations. Deputy Minister for European Affairs Andreas Mavroyiannis told Cyprus Mail that Nicosia was facing ?one of its biggest challenges as an EU member state, but also as a state,? and compared the EU presidency to a ?maturity test? for the country.

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