Athens sticks to position on Cyprus
Diplomats reiterate demand that Turkish troops must go and guarantees scrapped
Government officials say Athens remains steadfast in its position on the prerequisites for a solution to the Cyprus problem, despite Turkey’s warning yesterday to Greek Cypriots that the current round of peace talks was their “last chance” to reach a deal for a solution to the island’s division.
Diplomatic sources reiterated that any solution must include the withdrawal of Turkish troops and the abolition of an “anachronistic” system whereby third countries act as guarantor powers to the Mediterranean island state.
“As a sovereign European Union member, Cyprus obviously cannot come under the custody of third countries outside the EU,” diplomatic sources said yesterday, adding that the guarantee system is nothing but a vestige of the island’s colonial past and its abolition would benefit both communities on the island.
However, with Turkey in the midst of a punitive purge of sympathizers of last week’s failed coup, Greece is reportedly keen to avoid fueling further tension as events unfold in the neighboring country.
Earlier yesterday, Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim slammed the Greek Cypriots as “game spoilers,” as opposed to the Turkish Cypriots who, he said, have “acted constructively with full sincerity.”
His remarks follow yesterday’s meeting between Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci.
Anastasiades said the meeting was “constructive” but was unable to offer a note of optimism, adding that more contentious issues will be discussed on Friday, the final meeting of July.