Greek PM rejects two-state deal for Cyprus, says ending ‘Turkish occupation a priority’

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Greek Prime Minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, said on Monday that the long-established federal formula is the only way forward in Cyprus reunification talks.

“Ending Turkish occupation and finding a viable solution are a fundamental Greek foreign policy priority,” Mitsotakis said after a meeting with Cyprus President, Nicos Anastasiades, in Nicosia.

“The only viable solution is a bizonal, bicommunal federation with political equality.”

Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and Turkish Cypriot leader, Ersin Tatar, have in recent months called for a two-state solution on the ethnically-split island.

This image provided from Cyprus’ press and information office, Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades, right, and Greece’s Prime minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis talk during a press conference after their meeting at the presidential palace in Nicosia, Cyprus. Photo: Stavros Ioannides, PIO via AP.

Mitsotakis said their position, which is in contravention of United Nations resolutions on Cyprus, is rejected by both the UN and the EU.

“A resumption of meaningful talks can only be understood within the existing framework,” he said.

Greece, Israel sign agreement on tourism during PM’s visit:

The Greek Prime Minister was busy on Monday, making a quick trip to Israel to meet with Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, just hours after his meeting with the Cypriot President.

During the meeting, the Greek and Israeli leaders signed an accord to ease travel restrictions to Greece for Israelis with proof of COVID-19 vaccination.

“We need to facilitate travellers once they provide easy proof of vaccination and this is what we intend to do with Israel,” Mitsotakis said at a live-streamed joint news conference after the signing.

Athens hopes this move will support its bid to use vaccination certificates to save its battered tourism sector. Tourism, which accounts for about a fifth of the Greek economy and employs one in five workers, collapsed last year as the pandemic gutted revenues to 4 billion euros from 18 billion in 2019.

Israel has been a world leader in vaccinations, with more than a third of its population receiving the Pfizer Inc-BioNTech shot.

Mitsotakis said Israel’s rapid vaccine campaign meant Monday’s agreement could point the way for similar accords with other countries later, allowing tourists to visit without additional restrictions.

“I expect what we will be doing with Israel to be a trial run for what we can do with other countries,” he said, adding that he expected a gradual suppression of COVID-19 in the months ahead to release considerable pent-up demand for travel.

On his side, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that Mitsotakis “volunteered that Greece, their leading hospital, would partake in the clinical trials” for a new vaccine developed by Tel Aviv’s Ichilov Medical Center and that this would be “an example of our cooperation in forging ahead to new areas.”

The hospital said it had completed phase 1 trials of the jab which appears to have helped some moderate-to-serious cases of COVID-19 recover from the disease.

Source: Ekathimerini.

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