His official visit to the United States was “the most creative and productive of anything we expected based on earlier experiences,” Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias said on Friday, wrapping up a four-day schedule that took him to both Washington DC and New York.
“I have the feeling — also from talks I had with organizations in New York which I will continue until late evening and from the meeting we had with American-Jewish organizations here in New York — that while the atmosphere when we first arrived in Washington was generally strange, here they are positive about Greece and have received our messages the way we would have liked them to,” Kotzias said.
He added, “I believe that the right atmosphere of trust has been formed and apropos of that, we have had proposals from several sides for help in growing our economy and for conveying our views to international organizations like the IMF and the United Nations.”
Kotzias met separately in New York City with the UN Secretary General’s personal envoy for the FYROM name issue, Matthew Nimetz; with Stanley Bergman and David Harris, president and executive director of the American Jewish Committee, respectively; UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon; and Archbishop Demetrios of America.
He is also scheduled to attend a roundtable discussion at the Council on Foreign Relations think-tank on the priorities of Greek foreign policy. He concluded his visit to the U.S. with a meeting with members of the Greek-American community at the Greek Consulate General in the city.
In statements after meeting with the UN secretary-general, Kotzias said they discussed the Cyprus issue and Greece’s grappling with the migrant influx.
In terms of Cyprus, he said that Greece wanted Turkey to withdraw from Cyprus. “There cannot be a comprehensive solution that does not restore a Cyprus republic that is sovereign and with all rights of an EU member-state,” he underlined, adding that Greece’s contribution, as a guarantor power, is “that we wish to put an end to our rights and the rights of others that come from older agreements.”
“If the Turks want a quick solution, the only thing they have to do is leave the island quickly,” Kotzias said, adding that he would be visiting Istanbul on May 11 and on May 12 he would be holding bilateral talks with Turkey, as NATO’s foreign ministers summit will be held in Antalya on May 13 and 14.