The strong bond between Cyprus and Greece is the greatest diplomatic advantage of Cyprus, House Speaker Annita Demetriou said on Monday, following a meeting she had with Chair and Members of the Greek delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE).

Chair Dora Bakoyiannis, former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Greece noted in her statements that the two delegations in the Council of Europe (CoE) operate as one, in most cases. Referring to the Green Line in Cyprus, she said the fact that a wall still exists in Europe and exists in Nicosia, is a “disgrace”.

Demetriou had a private meeting with Bakoyiannis and later the Greek and Cypriot delegations also met.

Demetriou and Bakoyiannis referred to the close relations and cooperation of the two delegations and Demetriou pointed out that they touched upon a serious issue Cyprus is faced with at the moment, that of the huge migration influxes.

The Greek MPs visited the Green Line and tomorrow they will participate along with the Cyprus parliamentarians at a round table discussion on the political challenges ahead of the European elections in June.

Bakoyiannis noted in her statements that when they fight for the Cyprus problem, the principles and values, they fight as one. Referring to the Greek Line that divides the capital Nicosia, she said that this is something they will never come to terms with and will never accept.

The two delegations also discussed Kosovo and Bakoyiannis said that it asked to join the CoE about 1.5 years ago. She explained that the Council of Ministers sent a request for an opinion report to the Councilor’s General Assembly and the report reached her as she is the rapporteur for Kosovo’s accession.

Bakoyiannis said that the report is positive and includes everything that needs to be done to further protect the Serbian minority in Kosovo. She added that the pressure from the international community was very strong because Kosovo has, from a legal point of view, fully embraced the entire legal culture of the EU, as she said.

The Greek MP explained that it is not a decision of the General Assembly whether Kosovo will join the CoE since it is an advisory body.

She said that the Council of Ministers is the one to make a final decision. The opinion, she clarified, does not talk about the status of Kosovo, because it is not the job of the General Assembly to say whether Kosovo has the status of a state or not and that what they are interested in is the human rights of the people who reside there.

According to Bakoyiannis, Cyprus and Kosovo are two completely different cases, pointing out that the Court in the Hague also says that the issue of the Turkish occupied areas in Cyprus is a different thing than that of Kosovo.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third.

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