Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias has reiterated to UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres Greece`s position against the existence of guarantees, intervention rights or the continued presence of Turkish troops in Cyprus after a solution.
Kotzias, had on Friday various meetings in the context of his visit to the UN headquarters in New York including with his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu.
In statements to the press referring to his meeting with Guterres he said that “we discussed mainly the Cyprus problem and the Greek views and reasons as to why the system of guarantees should be abolished.”
“There shouldn`t be any intervention rights of any country in Cyprus and foreign troops should be removed, first and foremost the Turkish occupying troops,” he stressed.
Replying to a question on Turkey`s position on security matters, in view of the Conference on Cyprus to take place in Geneva on January 12, Kotzias said it is a matter that Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan will have to decide how to handle.
“What we agreed with my colleague Mevlut Cavusoglu is that we need to reflect much more on this because we haven`t approached a convergence during the discussion.” He added that the criteria on the basis of which such matters are dealt with should also be sought.
In the meantime according to diplomatic sources, Erdogan will not be present at the Geneva conference and it still remains unclear whether a new high level meeting between Greece and Turkey will take place before January 12.
In his statements the Greek Foreign Minister underlined that “Greece has always supported and supports Cyprus until the end, having as its criterion the interest of Cyprus and of the Cypriot people.”
“In the matters that have to do with security, that is to say guarantees, intervention rights and the presence of the occupying troops, we are against them and this is the policy we have followed with consistency since we took over (the Greek government),” Kotzias said.
He recalled that “the first time we spoke of this was during my first visit to the UN, in April 2015, while in the previous negotiations of 2004 and of 2008 – 2009 there was no methodical effort undertaken to abolish guarantees, intervention rights and to have the full withdrawal of the Turkish troops, due to the fact that we put the matter (on the agenda) in a timely manner, today it is thought as a necessity to at least discuss these matters and for everyone to say whether they are for or against their abolition’.
“It is a matter that can no longer be absent from the agenda and I consider it a success of the Greek foreign policy,” he noted.
President Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci decided to meet in Geneva on January 9-11 in the context of the UN-sponsored talks to discuss all outstanding issues for a Cyprus settlement and exchange maps. On January 12 a conference on Cyprus will be convened in the presence of the guarantor powers (Greece, Turkey and the UK) and other relevant parties as needed to discuss the issue of guarantees and security.
The Republic of Cyprus has been divided by Turkish troops since 1974 when Turkey invaded and since then occupies 37% of this EU Mediterranean island`s territory. President Anastasiades and Mustafa Akinci have been engaged in UN-backed talks since May 2015 with a view to reunify the island under a federal roof.