Kotzias calls for scrapping of system of guarantees in Cyprus

21 January 2017
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Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias over the weekend repeated his call for the dismantling of the system of guarantees and the removal of Turkish forces from the ethnically divided island in order to make way for an elusive peace deal.

“If we want to solve the problem, then we have to abolish the causes behind it,” Kotzias said in an interview with German news agency DPA. “The problem is the illegal occupation of the northern part of Cyprus,” he said, adding that Ankara was seeking to combine its desire to protect the Turkish-Cypriot community with its geopolitical ambitions in the region.

“What we want is to solve the Cyprus issue, and not to deal with Turkey’s geopolitical strategy. This is not the subject of negotiations,” the Greek minister said. Turkey wants to maintain the island’s security situation, which is currently guaranteed by Greece, Turkey and Britain.

“We do not want guarantor powers and, also, we do not want to be a guarantor power,” Kotzias said.

“What we need is a sovereign Cyprus,” he said, adding that the perpetuation of the existing system could give Ankara a say over European Union matters.

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