Greek, Turkish Ministers to discuss Cyprus and easing overall tensions

Greece’s Foreign Minister George Katrougalos announced on Tuesday that a meeting with his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu has been arranged in Brussels for Wednesday. In addition, he said a follow-up meeting is to take place within the next ten days in Antalya, Turkey.

Katrougalos is attending the Brussels III Conference on “Supporting the Future of Syria and the Region” from March 12-14, according to the Greek Foreign Ministry.

He said the meetings will focus on Confidence Building Measures (CBMs) to help ease tension between Greece and Turkey and a discussion on the Cyprus issue.

“Without wishing to cultivate a climate of great optimism, we are not outside what has been discussed between Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan,” Katrougalos said.

“The first goal is for tensions to subside, and this has to a large extent been achieved; a meeting between the defence ministers has taken place, talks are taking place at a staff level on promoting CBMs,” he added.

Katrougalos said that progress in the Cyprus issue “is not up to us.” Rather, he stated, it depends on the other side “showing that it intends to conform with the obligations that arise through United Nations resolutions.”

Athens had presented its positions at Crans Montana, the minister added, while pointing out that the Cyprus issue was not a bilateral but an international issue, concerning the upholding of international law.

Asked if plans to extend Greece’s territorial waters to the west will go ahead, Katrougalos said this was a decision that was “already made” and is linked to establishing a Greek Exclusive Economic Zone with Albania and Italy. The minister added that the exact time when this would formally become law has not been decided.

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