Johnson to visit Athens for talks as Cyprus talks set to resume

5 April 2017
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The Cyprus peace talks, Greek-Turkish relations and Brexit will be the main topics of discussion between Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias and his British counterpart Boris Johnson, who arrives in Athens on Thursday for an official visit.

Given that the UN special envoy for Cyprus, Espen Barth Eide, announced yesterday that reunification talks will resume on April 11, it is expected that the Eastern Mediterranean island will feature heavily in the talks.

But it would be a mistake to assume that Johnson’s visit will be dominated by Cyprus, as bilateral cooperation on security ranks high on the agendas of both countries, especially since they belong to the small group of NATO members that contribute over 2 percent of their budgets to the alliance’s defense.

Even though Britain traditionally enjoys close ties with Turkey, it wants to strengthen relations with Greece, given the recent developments in the neighboring country and the changing geopolitical balance in the region, as represented by yesterday’s signing of a defense agreement between Cyprus and France, as well as Italy’s decision to join the ambitious project of Greece, Cyprus and Israel to pipe natural gas from the Eastern Mediterranean to Europe.

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