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Karamanlis with a foreign policy speech in front of the Cyprian parliament

22 April 2009 / 10:04:55  GRReporter
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Maria Spassova

Special correspondent in Cyprus


Greek Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis leaves for Cyprus today. The official visit is happening at a time of political instability in both parts of the split Mediterranean island. In the officially recognized Greek part, the governing coalition is in danger of collapsing and two of the parliament Parties expressed their dissatisfaction of the way President Dimitris Christofias is negotiating for the unification of the island. During the weekend, in the northern Turkish part, there were parliamentary elections, which put the right-wing party ahead with enough votes so it can govern independently. Analyzers from both sides of the island predicted that there will be difficulties in the negotiations process.

In such moment of political change it is interesting what kind of message will the Greek Prime Minister send in Nicosia. According to the Greek media, he will stress his support of Turkey joining the EU but he will also say that this support is not wholehearted. The conditions, which Karamanlis will put on the Turkish table are known and said before – fully executing all conditions for membership and normalizing its relationship with Cyprus—in other words recognizing the Republic of Cyprus and withdrawing the Turkish army from the island.

The Greek Prime Minister will speak about these topics on a special session of the Cyprian parliament on April 23rd, Thursday. Before that, today he will meet the Cyprian President Dimitris Christofias tête-à-tête and after that Dora Bakoyanni, Markos Kyprianou and the two official delegations will join the meeting. Later on Kostas Karamanlis will speak with the leaders of all parliament parties and on Thursday he will also meet the Cyprian Archbishop Christostomos.

During his visit in Nicosia, the Greek Prime Minister will lay a wreath in front of the Prisoners graves memorial. This is a special cemetery in the prison in Nicosia, where the hanged Greek Cypriots were buried during the national liberation war of the island against Great Britain in 1955-1959. The cemetery is right next the jail cells of those convicted with the death penalty and right next to the gallows, where they were hanged. Nobody was allowed to be present at the funerals – neither family nor other Greek Cypriots – because such presence might have provoked a riot.

It is expected that Karamanlis will lay a wreath on another memorial as well – the one near Makedonitza, the place where the Greek military plane Nord Atlas crashed. The plane was sent in help of the Cyprian army against the Turkish invasion. The Prime Minister’s official visit will end with a visit to the Cyprian President’s house in Limassol.


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