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Venizelos' Statement After Meeting Turkish Foreign Minister

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Greek Deputy Prime Minster and Foreign Minister Evangelos Venizelos held a meeting with Turkish Foreign Minster Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu yesterday evening, on the margins of the 69th UN General Assembly session, at the Turkish Center in New York City.

The two leaders conversed on regional and bilateral issues, and mainly focused on Cyprus and Greek-Turkish affairs. Following the meeting, Venizelos offered the following statement.

"The meeting with my new Turkish counterpart, Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, was friendly and substantial. We had the opportunity look at all of the issues on the agenda. We obviously put emphasis on the Cyprus issue, which is the key to the overall development of Greek-Turkish relations. Our stances are well known, but it is of very great importance that we encourage the dialogue and the negotiations, within the framework of the Joint Communiqué of 11 February 2014, seeking a solution within the framework of the UN Security Council resolutions, the High-Level Agreements, and the European acquis. A solution that, I repeat, must be accepted, via referendum, by the Cypriot people, by the two communities.

We talked about the need to keep the channels of communication open and active on a political and diplomatic level. We referred to the exploratory meetings, which are already in their 58th round, and we encourage their continuation. There are also bilateral contacts for confidence-building measures. We decided to strengthen our cooperation on the regional level, due to the crisis; to exchange information in an organized manner to confront terrorism and, in particular, the problem of ISIS's foreign fighters; and also to promote the implementation of the Readmission Agreement that has been signed by Turkey and the European Union.

I think the climate is very productive, but of course everything will depend on the specific steps that have to be taken. And steps will be taken for the organization of the next Intergovernmental Cooperation Council, which will take place, this third time, in Greece. We also agreed with Mr. Çavuşoğlu to organize a meeting of our own, in late November, in combination with the Ecumenical Patriarch's enthronement feast-day celebrations on 30 November, which will also be attended by the Pope".