Athens sticks to po­si­tion on Cyprus

Di­plo­mats re­it­er­ate de­mand that Turk­ish troops must go and guar­an­tees scrapped

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

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.

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