Greek FM and British Foreign Secretary discuss the Cyprus problem

Greece seeks “proper, just and smart solutions” for the Cyprus problem, Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias said on Thursday after holding talks, in Athens, with his British counterpart Borris Johnson. He reiterated Athens consistent position that no third countries should have intervention and guarantee rights or military presence on the island.

On his part, Johnson praised the leaders of the two communities in Cyprus, namely President Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci “for their tremendous efforts” and “political self-sacrifice” and for the fact that they spend “so much energy” with a view to reach a solution to the Cyprus problem.

Invited to say whether he thinks it is “legally proper” for the UK, now that it is leaving the EU, to support that equal rights are given both to Greek citizens and Turkish citizens in a united Cyprus, should an agreement be reached, Johnson said that “this is up to the people of Cyprus to decide”.

CNA has learned that the two officials discussed about the Cyprus problem “extensively and in depth”. One of the “most sensitive issues” discussed concerned the possible developments in Turkey after the constitutional referendum on April 16, and how its outcome could influence UN-led negotiations for a Cyprus settlement.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37% of its territory. The UN announced on Tuesday that talks between Anastasiades and Akinci, underway since May 2015, will resume on April 11.

They were suspended in mid February when the Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci walked out of a meeting, claiming that a House decision to commemorate, briefly, in school a 1950 referendum advocating union with Greece was in fact a shift in the long standing position of the Greek Cypriot side for a bicommunal, bizonal federal solution in Cyprus.

President Anastasiades had described the decision “wrong”, saying the timing was not right. Akinci said he would not return to the negotiations unless the decision is revoked. The House is set to vote on an amendment on the bill, which essentially annuls the earlier House decision, on Friday 7 April.

Source: Cyprus News Agency