Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and his foreign minister, Nicos Kotzias, have agreed that the stalled negotiations on the Cyprus problem must resume as soon as possible, and a possible multi-party conference to address the international aspects should be adequately prepared for in the coming days, Akel leader Andros Kyprianou said on Monday.
Speaking at a news conference, Kyprianou said his Sunday trip to Athens, where he met with Tsipras and Kotzias, was “comprehensive and very substantive”.
“We had the opportunity to exchange views and thoughts on all aspects of the Cyprus problem,” he said.
“Mainly, of course, focusing on outstanding issues for discussion.”
Kyprianou said the Greek government concurred that the main priority at this time is for dialogue to be picked up from the point where it left off, following last week’s failure to reach agreement at Mont Pelerin.
“An effort to arrive close to agreement on all issues of the internal aspects must be made, so that an international conference can be called, in order to discuss the issue of guarantees,” he said.
“This conference must be prepared to ensure that the chances of success are greater than those of failure. Mr Tsipras has pledged to take action to this end in the coming days.”
The Greek government, in particular Kotzias, came under fire following the Mont Pelerin sessions, owing to a document leaked to Cypriot press in October, as well as remarks by Tsipras during the week-long hiatus between the first and second Switzerland sessions, effectively asserting that Greece would refuse to attend an international conference unless it was agreed beforehand that guarantees would be abolished.
“Based on the Greek position, guarantees must be abolished before agreeing and creating a federation by the two communities,” the Kotzias leak had read.
“These guarantees must be abolished as a constituent precondition of the new agreement, and not as its outcome.”
Criticism directed at Kotzias pointed out the paradox of demanding the settling of an issue before agreeing to attend a conference called to settle the issue in question, and placed part of the blame for the impasse at Mont Pelerin on his remarks.
Subsequent public remarks by Tsipras and Kotzias softened the Greek view, limiting rhetoric to the effect that a post-solution Cyprus “does not need” guarantees and troops on the island.
However, echoing President Nicos Anastasiades’ own comments, Kyprianou also denied ever having a problem with Kotzias, and claimed the Greek position has been misrepresented.
“We never had a problem with him,” Kyprianou said.
“You might recall that, during discussion of the Cyprus problem at parliament on November 18, some political parties tried to present Mr Kotzias’ remarks as setting preconditions, I had replied that this is not the Greek government’s view.”
The view attributed to the Greek government is not the view it actually asserts, Kyprianou said.