03 June, 2008
Greece's Defence Minister Evangelos Meimarakis and his Cypriot counterpart Costas Papacostas confirmed the excellent levels of cooperation between Greece and Cyprus on defense issues during a meeting held in Athens on Monday.
During talks focusing on bilateral and European issues, Meimarakis once again confirmed Greece's active involvement in ensuring Cyprus' security and in finding a viable and functional solution to the Cyprus problem, based on UN resolutions and the principles of the EU.
Papacostas thanked the Greek side for its support in efforts to solve the Cyprus problem along the lines of a bizonal, bicommunal federation.
The two ministers also agreed that bilateral defence cooperation could be even further strengthened, while underlining that nothing had changed concerning defense cooperation between Greece and Cyprus.
"All actions are taken following consultation with the Cyprus Republic. We assess situations and act accordingly," Meimarakis stressed.
Commenting on a recent visit to Turkey by the chief of the Greek Armed Forces General Staff, Meimarakis said that bilateral contacts at a senior military level helped create a better climate, while noting that he did not expect any "spectacular" improvements.
He also indicated that Athens would not brook any Turkish objections to the search and rescue exercise "Argonaut" that Cyprus was planning to hold jointly with Greece and France in waters south of its shores.
"We are a peaceful country that seeks relations of friendship and cooperation with our neighbors but we will not waive any of the rights given to us by international treaties and international law," Meimarakis underlined.
Papacostas said that any reaction to an exercise that had a purely humanitarian nature would be totally unacceptable.
The meeting between the two ministers was also attended by Greek deputy defence ministers Costas Tasoulas and Yiannis Plakiotakis and the armed forces chiefs of Greece and Cyprus.
Source: Athens News Agency