NEWS

New Greek PM to visit Cyprus on first foreign trip

Greece’s new Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras is to travel to close ally Cyprus on Monday for his first visit abroad since his election victory, Cypriot officials said.

On a brief visit to Greece’s fellow bailed-out EU member state, Tsipras is to meet with President Nicos Anastasiades and address parliament in Nicosia.

Government spokesman Nicos Christodoulides told reporters the visit was expected to “highlight the close cooperation that has long existed between Greece and Cyprus”.

Tsipras’s left-wing SYRIZA party swept to power on Sunday pledging to end painful austerity measures after six years of recession demanded by the EU and the International Monetary Fund in return for a multi-billion euro bailout.

Cyprus is also a eurozone member that needed rescue aid in March 2013 to save its banking system from collapse.

Unlike Greece, the conservative administration in Nicosia has taken a less confrontational approach with its international lenders and won praise for sticking to its task.

Tsipras and Anastasiades are expected to discuss the eurozone, the Ukraine crisis and efforts to solve Cyprus’s long-standing division.

Both Nicosia and Athens have been resistant to sanctioning Moscow over the conflict.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded the northern third of the east Mediterranean island in response to an Athens-engineered coup aimed at uniting it with Greece.

[AFP]