The status of Cyprus, whose northern half has been occupied by Turkish forces since 1974, dominated talks between Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and visiting Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades in Athens on Wednesday.
Both leaders said it was important that Turkish troops withdraw from Cyprus, and that Greece, Turkey and Britain stop being guarantor powers for the island, noting that the status quo established five decades ago cannot continue to apply today.
With a new round of United Nations-buffered peace talks under way, Tsipras described the Cyprus problem as “a marathon, not a sprint.” The close ties between Greece and Cyprus have laid the foundations for economic cooperation, peace and stability in the broader region, the two leaders agreed.
They also discussed the prospects for common projects in the energy sector, the progress of trilateral talks with Israel and Egypt and the outlook for cooperation with other countries in the region such as Jordan and Lebanon.
Another topic of discussion was Tsipras’s talks with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on the sidelines of a humanitarian summit in Istanbul earlier this week and the challenges posed by the European refugee crisis.