Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos reportedly called for a resumption of Cyprus talks to resolve the long-standing division of the island republic, during his 40-minute meeting on Wednesday with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on the sidelines of a NATO summit in Washington D.C.

According to state-broadcaster ERT, the Greek premier also expressed satisfaction over Ankara’s stepped-up efforts to combat illegal immigration, increased bilateral trade and the scheduling of the meeting between top officials from both countries to discuss a so-called “positive agenda”. The latter is expected to take place in September on the margins of the UN general assembly in New York.

In reference to the east Mediterranean island republic and the need to restart Cyprus talks, ERT has Mitsotakis saying that 50 yeas after the tragedy in 1974, Cyprus, an EU member-state, cannot remain divided.

The closely watched meeting by the two leaders was their fifth in roughly a year.

Both the Greek and Turkish foreign ministers attended the meeting, along with diplomatic advisers from each side.

Mitsotakis traveled to Ankara last May, where results of a 5th High-Level Cooperation Council between the two governments, held in Athens last year, were reviewed.

Cyprus talks

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan meet on the sidelines of NATO Summit, in Washington, United States, July 10, 2024. Dimitris Papamitsos/Greek Prime Minister’s Office/Handout via REUTERS

According to the Turkey’s state-run Anadolu news agency, President Erdogan referred to positive efforts that should be increased to end the ongoing conflicts in Ukraine and what he called “Palestine” – a reference to the ongoing Hamas-Israel war.

Anadolu quoted the Turkish president as saying “it would be beneficial for all countries in the region to work to ensure peace in those geographies.”

“It is very natural for two neighbors to have differences of opinion. What matters is the will to resolve them. We want to turn the Aegean into a sea of peace and cooperation,” Erdogan said at a press briefing with Mitsotakis.

“We aspire to set an example for the whole world with the joint steps we take as Türkiye and Greece. Let me be frank here: There is no problem that cannot be solved between us as long as we act with good will, focus on the big picture, and do not stumble over molehills,” the Anadolu dispatch reported, in quoting Erdogan.