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Kyprianou heads for Athens to discuss ‘next steps’

Andros Kyprianou

Akel leader Andros Kyprianou travelled to Athens on Monday to discuss with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras the next steps as to the Cyprus problem, following the collapse last week of the talks in Switzerland.

The two men are to meet on Monday evening in Tsipras’ office, at Maximos Mansion.

Kyprianou said prior to his departure that it was imperative for his party to discuss with the Greek government the next steps.

He added that he would also discuss with Tsipras the events in Switzerland that led to the stalemate. “But this is not what’s most important. What’s important is to discuss how to proceed,” Kyprianou said.

Greece, along with Turkey and the UK participated as guarantors in the Conference on Cyprus that ended last Thursday reportedly after disagreements between Turkey and President Nicos Anastasiades on the issue of security and guarantees. Following the collapse of the talks, each side put the blame on the other as to the outcome.

Greek Foreign Minister Nicos Kotzias, who was the head of Greece’s delegation at the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana where the talks were held, revealed on Monday part of the dialogue he had with his Turkish counterpart, Mevlut Cavusoglu, the final day of the talks.

Kotzias had said last week that the UN and Turkey were pushing for the prime ministers of the guarantor countries to travel to Crans-Montana after progress was believed to have been achieved, but that the Greek side refused, saying that the time was yet not right.

Speaking to news portal, Kotzias said that following Cavusoglu’s insistence on discussing the withdrawal of troops from the island in 15 years, he told him that Tsipras would not sign a treaty that would allow Turkey to use its tanks on the island ever again.

Kotzias, according to the news portal, told Cavusoglu that he found contradictory that his government cared for an army that staged a coup against it, referring to last July’s failed coup attempt in Turkey against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Kotzias reportedly told his Turkish counterpart that Greece cannot trust an army whose leadership in Cyprus was arrested following the coup attempt.

According to the portal, this stirred strong reaction from Cavusoglu, who reportedly told Kotzias that he should not interfere with internal matters and that this did not concern him.

Cavusoglu reportedly told Kotzias that Greece has the support of far-right party Elam in Cyprus. Kotzias then replied, the portal said, that the Greek government does not support Elam, on the contrary it is against it, but that in a democracy, it is allowed to operate.

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