Prime min­is­ter urges EU to pres­sure Tur­key

Tsipras presses Hol­lande and Merkel to con­vince Ankara to drop guar­an­tees de­mand for Cyprus set­tle­ment

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

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.

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