Prime minister urges EU to pressure Turkey
Tsipras presses Hollande and Merkel to convince Ankara to drop guarantees demand for Cyprus settlement
Greece wants to ramp up the pressure on Turkey to be more constructive in the bid for a settlement to the Cyprus dispute by trying to enlist the support of its European Union partners.
To this effect, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras had phone conversations yesterday with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande urging them both to state publicly that the EU backs the call by both Athens and Nicosia for the abolition of the system of guarantees and the withdrawal of Turkish troops from Cyprus.
The system of guarantees was introduced when Cyprus declared its independence from its former colonial ruler Britain – one of the island’s three guarantor powers, along with Greece and Turkey. Turkey has insisted that any postsettlement security arrangements must include guarantees.
Moreover, Tsipras is also reportedly urging Brussels to send the message to Ankara that a solution to the Cyprus problem would also help boost ties between Turkey and the EU.
This line of thinking also pervaded yesterday’s meeting between Tsipras and Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos. Both agreed that it is imperative that Athens and Nicosia form a common front, informed by the tenets of European justice and international law.
“It’s clear to all of us and, of course, to our European partners and the European Commission that discounts when it comes to the sovereignty of the Cyprus Republic cannot be accepted,” said Pavlopoulos. Tsipras did not clarify whether he will attend the international conference about Cyprus in Geneva tomorrow, saying “we will see,” confirming that his presence will be determined by the amount of progress in the talks achieved since Monday between Cyrpus President Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish-Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci.
Tsipras and Erdogan agreed in a telephone conversation on Monday that they will only attend the conference if a solution is within reach at the end of talks between the Greekand Turkish-Cypriot leaders.