Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis (L) shakes hands with Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades in Athens, Greece, Sept. 10, 2019. Mitsotakis held talks here with Anastasiades on Tuesday to coordinate the two countries' stance regarding efforts to resolve the Cyprus issue ahead of the UN General Assembly later this month. (Xinhua/Marios Lolos)
ATHENS, Sept. 10 (Xinhua) -- Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis held talks here with visiting Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades on Tuesday to coordinate the two countries' stance regarding efforts to resolve the Cyprus issue ahead of the UN General Assembly later this month.
"Greece always stands by the Cyprus Republic in this arduous effort to reunite the island, to ensure the respect of its rights. Greece is a steadfast supporter at every step, and above all of course, within the framework of the European Union. Because it is the interests of Europe itself that, in the end, Turkey's attitude directly affects," the Greek prime minister said before Greek national broadcaster ERT's camera, welcoming the Cypriot delegation.
Cyprus was split along ethnic lines in 1974, when Turkey intervened militarily following a coup by Athens-backed Greek Cypriots. Numerous reunification talks between the Greek Cypriots and the Turkish Cypriots have failed.
Tensions have risen in the area in recent months as Nicosia and Athens protest over Turkish exploratory natural gas drilling in Cyprus' exclusive economic zone.
Meanwhile, the UN Secretary General's envoy on Cyprus, Jane Holl Lute has been struggling to bring the sides around the negotiating table again after a two-year stalemate.
"The Greek prime minister and the president of the Republic of Cyprus reiterated their absolute willingness to resume the substantive negotiations that will lead to a viable and functional solution for Cyprus without guarantees and foreign troops, based on the international law and in accordance with UN resolutions and treaties, as well as the principles and rules of the European Union," read a joint communique issued after the talks in Athens, according to the Greek national news agency AMNA.