Athens chides British diplomat

British Ambassador Simon Gass was summoned to the Foreign Ministry in Athens yesterday as Greece made clear its displeasure with London’s decision to sign a strategic partnership agreement with Turkey that referred to the occupied part of Cyprus as the «TRNC» or «Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.» The agreement has provoked the anger of both Athens and Nicosia, as only Turkey recognizes this part of Cyprus as a self-proclaimed state. Foreign Ministry General Secretary Aristidis Agathoklis told Gass, according to sources, that this sort of move was not helpful at a time when the two sides in Cyprus are attempting to restart reunification talks. The British ambassador insisted that London had no intention of recognizing any other authority than the government in Nicosia and that it fully backed an effort to solve the island’s division as soon as possible. Cypriot President Tassos Papadopoulos described the contents of the agreement signed by British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan as being «a very unfavorable development.» «Britain’s policy has always been the same but it is only now that it is being revealed,» said Papadopoulos. Cypriot government spokesman Vassilis Palmas reminded Britain that the presence of British military bases on the island is founded on the principle of reciprocity.