Tsipras backs Cyprus reunification process, end of troika on first visit

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras pledged on Monday to support Cyprus in its efforts to reach a reunification settlement, while also arguing that the end of the troika would help Greek and Cypriots alike.

On his first official trip since being elected prime minister just over a week ago, Tsipras held talks with Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades in Nicosia.

“It is not a coincidence that my first trip abroad is to Cyprus,” he said after the meeting. “Cyprus has a particular symbolism for Greece.”

Tsipras expressed his support for efforts to reach a “just and viable” solution to the Cyprus problem, while accusing Turkey of “breaching international law” by sending the Barbaros research vessel into the Cypriot Exclusive Economic Zone.

However, when asked about the new government’s plans for Greece’s EEZ, Tsipras said he would take “careful steps” in issues that affect the country’s relations with Turkey.

When questioned about reports that European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker is considering ending the troika model, Tsipras this would be a “mature and necessary development for Europe.”

Anastasiades agreed with Tsipras that this would be a “positive institutional step.”

Tsipras suggested that all Europeans would benefit from the new Greek government and its eurozone partners reaching a new settlement.

“A positive conclusion to Greece’s talks with eurozone will have beneficial effects for Greeks, Cypriots and all Europeans,” he said.

The Greek prime minister also said he has no plans to appeal to Russia for a loan.

“We are in substantial negotiations with our partners in Europe and those have lent us. We have obligations towards them,” Tsipras said in response to a journalist’s question.

“Right now, there are no other thoughts on the table.”