Kotzias: Cyprus and Greece are even closer after failed peace talks

18 July 2017
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Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias on Tuesday said Athens and Nicosia came even closer together after their cooperation at the inconclusive UN-brokered Cyprus reunification talks in Crans-Montana, Switzerland, earlier this month.

“The way we joined forces (in Crans-Montana) brought the two countries even closer together,” Kotzias told journalists in Nicosia after talks at the Foreign Ministry with his Cypriot counterpart Ioannis Kasoulides.

“…at the National Council today I listened to what the party leaders said, I briefed them thoroughly on the Crans-Montana experience, what we came across and how we interpreted what came across…we saw a Turkey which played with words,” he added.

Kotzias also said that “our job is to prevent Turkey from playing with words, with solutions, and rather oblige it to take international law and order seriously.”

Earlier on Tuesday, the National Council was briefed by Kotzias who flew over to Nicosia for the meeting which marked the second day of a two-day National Council session convened by President Nicos Anastasiades.

Greece, Britain and Turkey, which invaded Cyprus in 1974 and still maintains troops in the breakaway north, are the divided island’s guarantors.

Greece played a vital role in Crans-Montana where the thorny issues of security and guarantees in a reunited EU-member Cyprus.

Unlike Greece and Britain which are ready to give up their guarantor role and right of intervention, Turkey insists on that anachronism.

Kotzias said that many were under the false impression that Nicosia and Athens would ‘surrender’ and not insist as hard on the need for intervention rights to come to an end.

“Let me tell you this, the Cyprus problem’s settlement negotiations are the daily statements, pressure, the way society is influenced…not the few days at Geneva and Crans-Montana,” he also said.

Kasoulides told journalists after his meeting with Kotzias that Greece and Cyprus had given a “real battle” at the Swiss resort.

However, an overall settlement was not achieved because of Turkey’s fault and – as the UN chief had put it himself – because the proposals that were on the negotiating table included “non-sustainable” elements.

Both Kotzias and Kasoulides made clear that if a new opportunity arises for the talks to resume this should be a very well-prepared one. And not a hasty one – like the one they just had.

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