Akel leader Andros Kyprianou on Sunday branded Greece’s former Foreign Minister Nicos Kotzias a liar, over claims the latter made in an interview published on Sunday, that eventually had Greece’s former premier Alexis Tsipras siding in to Kyprianou’s defence.
Nicos Kotzias reopened a can of worms in an interview published in Phileleftheros where he repeated the allegation published in his book, namely that Kyprianou had asked Tsipras to remove Kotzias from the top diplomatic post.
“Akel’s general secretary is avoiding in the same way the devil avoids incense, any denials relating to the essence, that he asked Tsipras for my removal from the post of Greek foreign minister.
“The fact that I brought the issue of guarantees and occupation to the table bothered him. In Geneva he spread rumours that my policy did not reflect that of the Greek government. Why did he do that? He knows.”
Kyprianou however did not take long to flat out deny the accusation, in a similarly blunt vein calling Kotzias not only a liar but an attention-seeking one at that too.
“I recognise that Mr. Kotzias needs attention. I repeat that he is lying and he knows it. He is backing his claim on ridiculous gossip. I never put such an issue to Mr. Tsipras. Nor could I intervene in internal matters of any Greek government.”
Kyprianou added that Akel fights for the reunification and liberation of Cyprus from occupation and guarantor powers. “It doesn’t need any lessons from anyone.”
Within the day, Greece’s former Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras entered the fore, saying he categorically denied Kotzia’s statements over Kyprianou’s alleged request. In a response to a question by the Cyprus News Agency, Tsipras said “never did Akel’s general secretary nor anyone else ask me to dismiss a minister of my government and in particular, the foreign minister.”
The interview came ahead of an expected upcoming five party conference on the Cyprus problem, likely to take place in March. In the interview, the former minister also accused the current Greek government of not having any plan over the negotiations while stating Turkey’s ultimate goal is to control the entire island, as well as Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).