Tsipras, Erdogan to talk Cyprus
Two leaders will discuss guarantees and security on the condition that Swiss talks lead to an agreement
Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will reportedly meet to discuss the parameters of post-settlement security arrangements and guarantees on Cyprus, on the condition that Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish-Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci come to an agreement on the issues of territory and property at reunification talks in the Swiss resort of Mont Pelerin.
The talks, which were expected to culminate late last night, would, in the event of an agreement, pave the way for a final summit.
The understanding between Athens and Ankara was reportedly reached on Friday in a phone conversation between Tsipras and Erdogan but, according to government sources, there is still a wide gap to bridge between Greece and Turkey over the core issue of third-party guarantees to a Cyprus settlement.
Greece, along with Cyprus, want to scrap what they describe as an anachronistic system of guarantees, as the island is an EU member state.
Turkey has insisted on keeping the guarantees in place. However, government sources added, Turkey has showed a willingness to start talks on the matter. Greece, Turkey and the United Kingdom were the three guarantor powers of Cyprus after it gained its independence in 1960.
Greek Foreign Ministry sources have said that a final summit will take place only on the condition that Anastasiades and Akinci agree on the contentious issues of property and territory, and only if the gap is bridged between Tsipras and Erdogan on the system of guarantees.
Despite being on the same page with regard to the desired outcome of the negotiations on Cyprus, the Greek Foreign Ministry and the government have displayed a marked difference in their tone. Late yesterday afternoon, Foreign Ministry sources hinted at the negative role played by UN Special Adviser Espen Barth Eide and other implicated parties while putting the blame, in the event that talks in Switzerland break down, on Turkey.
However, it reportedly toned down its rhetoric after it became apparent that Turkey appeared willing to agree to a meeting between Tsipras and Erdogan. The change in the stance of the Foreign Ministry suggested that the government believes its tone was far too aggressive given the circumstances.