Cypriot President Nikos Christodoulides took a commercial flight to Athens on Sunday for his first trip overseas since taking office, with reports saying the presidential aircraft was grounded due to a minor mechanical problem.
Christodoulides is in Athens this week on his first trip overseas since taking office, a route taken without fail by all his predecessors.
But reports said Christodoulides, who was to be the first Cypriot leader to start his presidency with a presidential plane, ended up having to fly commercial after it emerged there was a “minor mechanical problem” with his aircraft.
Local media reports later said the problem had been known for two days, while reports attributed to Greek state television pointed to a decision taken 'purely for precautionary reasons'
The decision to ditch the private plane, which was a gift last year from the Greek government, was not made known until after the president boarded a commercial flight from Larnaca to Athens on Sunday evening.
Local media reports later said the problem had been known for two days, while reports attributed to Greek state television pointed to a decision taken “purely for precautionary reasons.”
Christodoulides will meet his Greek counterpart Katerina Sakellaropoulou, who holds a largely ceremonial role, while the Cypriot president will also meet Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, with the two men expected to discuss a number of issues including the Cyprus Problem and EU involvement.
The Cypriot president has been floating the idea that a select group of EU officials could play a greater role in peace talks on the ethnically-divided island, a proposal that has been preemptively rejected by Turkish Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar.
According to the Cyprus News Agency, government spokesperson Constantinos Letymbiotis said Nicosia and Athens will touch base during the two-day visit so that they can coordinate together ahead of the European Council ten days later.
"The President's proposal on the Cyprus problem will be discussed in detail in view of his meetings in Brussels, in order to coordinate with the Greek government as to the actions that will take place," Letymbiotis told CNA.
Other issues will also be discussed according to Letymbiotis, including further enhancement of close relations between Cyprus and Greece, regional issues, Ukraine, migration, and energy.