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Greece, Cyprus ‘zone of stability’ in volatile region, Tsipras says

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras stressed that Greece and Cyprus constitute a zone of stability in a volatile region during a joint media conference on Friday with visiting Cypriot President Nikos Anaastasiades.

Tsipras said the two leaders agreed to have a three-way summit with Egypt in a bid to “secure peace and stability in the broader eastern Mediterranean.” The key goal is securing a positive settlement to the Cyprus problem, the premier added.

The two men discussed transgressions by Turkish authorities off the coast of Cyprus, notably the protracted presence of the Turkish seismic research vessel Barbaros which recently withdrew from the area. Commenting, Tsipras said the withdrawal of the Barbaros “has created better circumstances for the resumption of talks.”

Tsipras expressed his intention to use Greece’s geostrategic influence in negotiations with Greece’s creditors, without elaborating. He said the economic crisis is a “European problem,” adding that Greece aspired to a solution within the European Union.

He added that a solution to the Cyprus problem could constitute a step in the direction of exploiting the geostrategic positions of both Greece and Cyprus.

“When you don’t push for something, you don’t get anything,” Tsipras told Anastasiades earlier in a televised exchange in the Maximos Mansion. “If you do push, you get something.”

Anastasiades, for his part, noted that Europe must leave behind austerity policies in order to help countries who are struggling to achieve growth.

As regards matters of regional cooperation, the Cypriot leader stressed that Nicosia was not turning against any particular country and wanted peaceful coexistence with Arab states and with Turkey.