Tsipras – Guterres phone contacts

7 March 2018
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Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras spoke by phone on Tuesday with UN chief Antonio Guterres, with the former’s office later saying the two men discussed regional issues, EU-Turkey and Greek-Turkish relations, as well as the course of negotiations to resolve the fYRoM ‘name issue’.

According to later reports, Tsipras also broached the issue of the continued incarceration of two Greek servicemen – a lieutenant and sargeant – in Turkey on a charge of illegally entering a military zone in the neighboring country. He reportedly told Guterres to convey to the Turkish side the need for a rapid and positive resolution to the issue, i.e. the return of the pair back to Greece as soon as possible.

Allthough official Athens took a decidedly low-key approach in the immediate aftermath of the incident last Thursday, the continued incarceration of the two servicemen and an incremental judicial process by the relevant Turkish judiciary has irked the Greek side. Widespread speculation has also focused on the prospect of Ankara trying to use the two men as “bargaining chips” in forcing Greece to return eight Turkish military servicemen who have requested political asylum in Greece.

Previous such incidents were resolved in a matter of hours and at the brigade level.

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