Due to the visit of Greece’s Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras to Cyprus (this would be his first official visit to a foreign country after being elected as Prime Minister; it’s worth mentioning that the Cypriot President Mr. Nikos Anastasiades visited Athens in March 2013 on his first foreign visit as president), a joint press conference was given by the President of the Republic of Cyprus Nikos Anastasiades and the Greek Prime Minister, this past Monday, February 2nd, at the Presidential Palace.

While replying to a journalist’s question Mr. Tsipras said that “In cooperation with the Republic of Cyprus and recognizing that it is after all the Republic of Cyprus that has the initiative of movements for the solution of the Cyprus problem, the Greek Government will strongly support the decisions of the Cypriot Government, as it is after all the elected government of the people of Cyprus.” He also stated that “Since I am here in Cyprus I would like to point out the following: Cyprus and Greece are not just two small countries in the European Union and the Eurozone. The European Union and the Eurozone without Greece and Cyprus will be truncated with regard to their southeastern end, which today, more than ever before, must be stable and secure. Greece and Cyprus are pillars of security and stability in a geopolitically turbulent environment in the broader region.”

On his part, Mr. Anastasiades said that “I have previously stated that we will also work jointly with countries of the European Union, meaning partners who have the same views, in other words that emphasis must be given to the issues of growth, something that was of course been cultivated recently and during the European elections in particular. Included in Mr. Junker’s program was the necessity for the creation of conditions of growth, hence the latest announcements for making available 300 billion euro. We must now see – and especially with the strong mandate to the Greek government – how the group of states that share the need for turning toward growth will transform theory into action. We are, therefore, on the same page with regard to the need for changes for the benefit of the European citizens at large.”

The two countries, which share the same language and culture, have been trying to coordinate their policies within the European Union and express their dissatisfaction with the European Union’s policies regarding Russia – a major economic partner for both Athens and Nicosia. Replying to a question with regard to the EU sanctions against Russia, the Greek Prime Minister said that “We discussed with Mr. Anastasiades the need for the two Governments to have a coordinated stance in the European fora, so that the necessary bridge between Europe and Russia can exist, so that we can also claim what is beneficial for our people, but also for all the people of Europe, for the continuation of tension, the evolution of a war into an economic war cannot have any positive result for the people of Europe. In this respect, Greece and Cyprus can become a bridge of peace and cooperation also between the European Union and Russia.” The Cypriot President responding to the same question, said that “We have agreed that the Minsk Agreement and the diplomatic dialogue are those things that will provide the answer. We have also agreed that together with other states that have the same views, we will cooperate so that the policy of diplomacy will prevail over the policy of sanctions; sanctions which do not refer only to the country on which they are imposed but have repercussions on those that impose them as well.”

When asked by a Turkish Cypriot reporter to send a message to the Turkish Cypriots, the Greek Prime Minister said that “Our message to the people of Cyprus, Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, is a message of unity and cooperation. And it is only through unity and cooperation that we can secure both peace and progress for this tormented land.”