Cyprus Speaker concludes official visit to Australia

CNA – Maria Phili – Australia/Sydney 15/02/2020 10:51

Cyprus` House of Representatives President Demetris Syllouris has concluded an official visit to Australia, heading an interparliamentary delegation, on Friday, with meetings with the Diaspora of Greeks, Cypriots, Israelis, Armenians and Lebanese in Australia as well as with a meeting with the Greek Orthodox Archbishop of Australia Makarios.

During the meetings with the organized Diaspora actors, it was agreed to enhance cooperation in issues which are already the subject matter of the trilateral cooperation developed by Cyprus and Greece with their home countries.

In statements to CNA following his meetings, Syllouris said that discussions focused on the various matters which are the subject matter in the trilateral cooperation meetings between the countries which can also be extended to concern their communities in Australia.

“I explained the effort we are undertaking for building cooperation in the Middle East and the region and they agreed that they can start organizing activities and cooperation between cultural, economic and trade actors,” he said, adding that the Cypriot, Greek and Jewish chambers of commerce will prepare a cooperation programme.

The House of Representatives President said that he will continue to be in touch and monitor the cooperation at Diaspora level.

He also had a meeting with Archbishop of Australia Makarios who assured him that he stands by Cyprus and that he raises the Cyprus problem during all his meetings with officials.

Syllouris said that the Greek Cypriot side would like for the Cyprus problem to be settled, adding “that this is not possible because Turkey is following a plan on the basis of which it is stalling for time and is creating faits – accomplis.”

He expressed the view that “at this stage Ankara wishes to create faits-accomplis in the sea and to enter talks afterwards.”

On his part, Archbishop Makarios said that he raises the matter of Cyprus “in all his meetings with people who are connected with decision making centers.”

Cyprus remains divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37% of its territory. Repeated rounds of UN-led peace talks for a Cyprus settlement have so far failed to yield results. The latest round of negotiations, in July 2017 at the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana ended inconclusively.

Since May 2019, Turkey has illegally conducted four drilling operations using the its state-owned vessels Fatih and Yavuz, in Cyprus’ territorial sea and continental shelf/EEZ, to the west, east and south of the island; the most recently completed illegal drilling was located in the eastern EEZ/continental shelf of Cyprus, in close vicinity of its territorial sea, at 12.4 nautical miles from the Karpas peninsula.

Turkey has also commenced a fifth such illegal drilling, planned between 18 January and 14 May 2020, in the southern EEZ/continental shelf of Cyprus, in a maritime area which has been delimited in accordance with international law between Cyprus and the relevant coastal States, namely Israel and Egypt.

This latest illegal drilling also lies within exploration block 8 which was duly licensed by the Republic of Cyprus to the European companies Eni and Total.