End of Turkish occupation of Cyprus is ‘top priority,’ Greek PM says on Nicosia visit


On his first visit to Cyprus since being elected on July 7, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said that ending the occupation of the divided island's north by Turkey is a “top priority,” as reunification without the departure of Turkish troops would be “inconceivable.”

Speaking after a meeting with Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiadis in Nicosia, where he was received with full honors, Mitsotakis said he felt “moved” by the fact that his first visit abroad since becoming prime minister was to Cyprus.

He said that talks between the two leaders focused on developments with Turkey, as the visit was taking place “during a period of particular tension,” while also expressing optimism over scheduled peace talks between Anastasiadis and the leader of the Turkish-occupied north, Mustafa Akinci.

The Greek prime minister also said that Nicosia can rely on support from Athens, but also from Brussels, in the event that Turkey escalates its recalcitrant stance over energy exploration off Cyprus' coast.

Mitsotakis is in Cyprus for two days and will be meeting with more government and Church officials, as well as paying a visit to Greek armed forces on the island.