UN envoy in Athens for talks with PM, foreign minister

United Nations envoy Espen Barth Eide will visit Athens on Wednesday for a series of meetings with Greek officials ahead of his visit to Cyprus Thursday.

Eide will hold talks with Foreign Minister Evangelos Venizelos at 4 p.m. after meeting with the ministry’s secretary general Anastasios Mitsialis.

In the afternoon, the former Norwegian foreign minister will meet with Prime Minister Antonis Samaras.

Eide will on Thursday travel to Cyprus where he will hold two-day separate talks with the island’s Greek-Cypriot and Turkish-Cypriot leaders.

On Tuesday, Venizelos slammed Turkey for maintaining a seismic survey vessel off the southern coast of Cyprus, in the latter’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

Referring to Turkey’s “recent provocations in Cyprus’s EEZ,” Venizelos accused Ankara of “creating a crisis in an already unstable region.”

He was speaking in the Greek Parliament, which was hosting a meeting of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly’s Special Group for the Mediterranean and the Middle East and the Sub-Committee on Partnerships.

During the session, a member of Turkey’s ruling AK party, Osman Askin Bak, defended Turkey’s right to conduct searches in Cyprus’s EEZ, but also claimed that there was “no border issue between Turkey and Greece” and that “the whole of the continental shelf is accessible.”

Turkey’s violation of Cyprus’s EEZ prompted President Nicos Anastasiades to halt UN-backed peace talks last month.

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