PM Tsipras: Prespes Agreement a historic step which promotes Greece’s international credibility
The Prespes Agreement was “a truly historic step, which promotes Greece’s international credibility, with international law as its main weapon, and for this reason Athens believes the agreement will assist in efforts for a fair and sustainable solution to the Cyprus issue,” Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said on Wednesday, during a meeting with the President of the Republic of Cyprus Nicos Anastasiades in Nicosia.
Anastasiades congratulated Tsipras over the ratification of the Prespes Agreement before their meeting, saying that the Greek prime minister had shown courage and boldness and put an end to a ‘needless’ conflict that plagued Greece for thirty years and, in parallel, opened windows for cooperation, peace and stability in the region. “The name, more or less, was given in 1992,” noted Anastasiades, adding that all issues related with irredentism included in FYROM’s constitution were abolished.
According to Anastasiades, the meeting also allowed “a stable relationship with North Macedonia, which will allow not only closer economic cooperation but also the creation of a new environment.”
The meeting between Anastasiades and Tsipras in Nicosia on Wednesday was held in the context of their very close and ongoing cooperation, in order to examine the latest developments together and to discuss, as Anastasides’ said, Tsipras’ upcoming meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on February 5.
Anastasiades noted that the coordination of Cyprus’ and Greece’s actions is aimed at efforts for a solution of the Cyprus issue that “will finally allow the peaceful co-existence, stability, peace but above all a solution that will be fully consistent with European principles and values and international law, in order to guarantee its functionality, on the one hand, but also its sustainability and compatibility with international law and the European acquis.”
Tsipras and Anastasiades met at the presidential palace in Nicosia on the day after the 5th Summit of the European South, also known as MED7, attended by the seven EU countries on the Mediterranean.
Responding to the Cyprus president’s praise over the Prespes Agreement, Tsipras noted that it had resolved a dispute lasting decades in the best possible way for Greece’s national interests, while boosting Greece’s credibility internationally.
“This makes it possible for us to turn with even stronger arguments to the truly major fronts in our foreign policy and, following this development, I believe with stronger backing and support from international public opinion and the international community,” he said. This strengthened credibility, he added, will also help in resolving the Cyprus issue.
When a country has international law as its main weapon, and proves on the basis of international law that it is capable of demonstrating the maturity of sincere compromises, Tsipras added, it is seen as the one that wants a solution in the major issues that it faces.
“This is an important development and I think it will help in our effort to seek…a fair and viable solution to the Cyprus issue,” Tsipras said.
The Greek prime minister stressed the importance of the MED7 Summit, which was started by Athens in 2016, for promoting unity and understanding in the European South. He said the 5th Med7 in Cyprus had coincided with a period of intense activity in the surrounding region.
“Our region is, unfortunately, very extensively destabilised and Cyprus has proved, along with Greece and all the countries of the EU, that it is fighting for stability and is a stable pillar in the region. That we are the unwavering defenders of a peaceful resolution of differences, of cooperation between states and we sent these messages yesterday in the best possible way,” Tsipras said.
After the meeting between the two leaders, there followed a broader meeting that included the defence ministers of Greece and Cyprus, Evangelos Apostolakis and Savvas Angelides, respectively, as well as Cyprus Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides and government staff.