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12° Nicosia,
21 July, 2024
 
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Nicosia's push to involve EU in Cyprus problem

Athens aims for a gradual prospect of dialogue on maritime zones with Turkey

Yiannis Ioannou

Yiannis Ioannou

When last March, as usual, newly elected President Christodoulides visited Athens in his new capacity as the Greek Prime Minister, the news of the establishment of a "supreme body of institutional coordination between Greece and the Republic of Cyprus" made big headlines, at least in the news. Four months later, nothing more was heard about this body, the use of which would not replace the existing coordination - at a high level or properly at the ministerial level, between Athens and Nicosia. The recent re-election of Mitsotakis, with a resounding percentage for New Democracy, as well as the announcement of a cabinet with "centrist" choices for the Foreign Affairs and Defense ministries, becomes particularly interesting not only for how it will interact with Nicosia but also for how it will move in relation to the Cyprus issue, with the initial impression being that of maintaining a wait-and-see approach regarding Nicosia's pursuit to restart the dialogue on the Cyprus issue, with the difficult diplomatic exercise of involving the European Union.

There is no doubt that Athens, both as a guarantor power in Cyprus and as a country partner within the EU, as well as at a moral-symbolic level, remains the main supporter of Cyprus on multiple levels. However, the trends one should expect in the functional relationship, diplomatically, between Athens and Nicosia, in relation to the whole array of developments in the Eastern Mediterranean, an integral part of which are the Greek-Turkish relations and the Cyprus issue, are dictated by specific realistic choices:

Athens will aspire to maintain the momentum of calm in the Eastern Mediterranean and particularly in the area of Greek-Turkish tensions so that, gradually, it can see if there is a medium-term prospect for dialogue on the issue of maritime zones with Turkey. This trend, strengthened by the American factor in the region under the weight of the ongoing war in Ukraine, is currently the top priority of Greek foreign policy.

Greece may treat the Cyprus issue as a foreign policy asset, however, as was strongly evident in 2016-2017, it is diplomatically interested in its culmination, especially in the aspect of Security and Guarantees that directly concerns it. Therefore, any involvement is limited to that level only.

The Mitsotakis government appears to be adopting a wait-and-see approach regarding the overall approach of Nicosia towards involving the EU in an exercise that now concerns, as revealed by the Thursday Summit, the European-Turkish relations as well.

When last March, as usual, newly elected President Christodoulides visited Athens in his new capacity as the Greek Prime Minister, the news of the establishment of a "supreme body of institutional coordination between Greece and the Republic of Cyprus" made big headlines, at least in the news. Four months later, nothing more was heard about this body, the use of which would not replace the existing coordination - at a high level or properly at the ministerial level - between Athens and Nicosia. The recent re-election of Mitsotakis, with a resounding percentage for New Democracy, as well as the announcement of a cabinet with "centrist" choices for the Foreign Affairs and Defense ministries, becomes particularly interesting not only for how it will interact with Nicosia but also for how it will move in relation to the Cyprus issue, with the initial impression being that of maintaining a wait-and-see approach regarding Nicosia's pursuit to restart the dialogue on the Cyprus issue, with the difficult diplomatic exercise of involving the European Union.

There is no doubt that Athens, both as a guarantor power in Cyprus and as a country partner within the EU, as well as at a moral-symbolic level, remains the main supporter of Cyprus on multiple levels. However, the trends one should expect in the functional relationship, diplomatically, between Athens and Nicosia, in relation to the whole array of developments in the Eastern Mediterranean, an integral part of which are the Greek-Turkish relations and the Cyprus issue, are dictated by specific realistic choices:

Athens will aspire to maintain the momentum of calm in the Eastern Mediterranean and particularly in the area of Greek-Turkish tensions so that, gradually, it can see if there is a medium-term prospect for dialogue on the issue of maritime zones with Turkey. This trend, strengthened by the American factor in the region under the weight of the ongoing war in Ukraine, is currently the top priority of Greek foreign policy.

Greece may treat the Cyprus issue as a foreign policy asset; however, as was strongly evident in 2016-2017, it is diplomatically interested in its culmination, especially in the aspect of Security and Guarantees that directly concerns it. Therefore, any involvement is limited to that level only.

The Mitsotakis government appears to be adopting a wait-and-see approach regarding the overall approach of Nicosia towards involving the EU in an exercise that now concerns, as revealed by the Thursday Summit, the European-Turkish relations as well.

[This article was translated from its Greek original]

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Cyprus  |  government  |  security

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