President Pavlopoulos: Turkey has a duty to fully respect international law

Greek President Prokopios Pavlopoulos reiterated Greece’s full support for Cyprus against the problems and challenges it faces, in a meeting with the island republic’s new foreign affairs minister, Nikos Christodoulides, on Tuesday at the presidential palace. This was not only because of the close national ties between the two countries, Pavlopoulos said, but also because Cyprus was one of Greece’s European Union partners.

“We must make clear to our neighbour Turkey that it has a duty to fully respect international law, and therefore the Law of the Sea. It must respect the Law of the Sea regardless of whether or not it has joined the Modego Bay Treaty; it is known that this treaty is binding because it now produces generally accepted rules of international law that are binding for everyone. So Turkey must know that when it violates the Law of the Sea, it violates international law, it violates its obligations to the EU itself. Because these violations concern the EU, as Cyprus is a full member-state of the EU, ” Pavlopoulos said.

Christodoulides, after conveying the thanks of Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades and the Cypriot people for Greece’s continued support of Nicosia’s efforts to end the Cyprus occupation and bring about the reunification of the island, underlined that Nicosia will allow Turkey’s various negative actions and attitudes to draw it into actions that Turkey might be trying to elicit. “We are not deflected from our goal, but act with prudence and calmness,” he added.

Christodoulides also noted that Cyprus and Greece are pillars of stability in the Southeast Mediterranean region and added that Turkey’s actions violate EU rules.

“Two countries, which are pillars of stability in the Eastern Mediterranean and the region in general, need to convey the message to Brussels that these actions by Turkey simultaneously violate the rights of the EU as well. And it was this message that the President of the [Cyprus] Republic and the Greek prime minister successfully relayed to their European partners at the recent meeting of the informal European Council. We have had a very positive statement from the President of the European Council, and it is important that the issue is now on the agenda of the March European Council, where Turkey’s behavior will be examined. I repeat, we are not going to be drawn into actions that Turkey might want to lead us to,” said Christodoulides.

In conclusion, he underlined that this difficult situation will be faced with calmness and prudence and he thanked Greece again for its constant support over the years, both for the efforts to solve the Cyprus problem and the joint efforts to face any challenges that arise.