Greek FM will ask Cavusoglu about Turkey’s views on how to replace the system of guarantees in Cyprus

Greek Foreign Minister George Katrougklalos said on Tuesday that during his meeting with his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu, on Thursday, in Turkey, he will seek to be informed about Ankara’s views on how the system of guarantees in Cyprus can be replaced with a mechanism which will not have any characteristics that are contrary to the international law.

Katrougkalos, who was responding to a question after the talks which he held on Tuesday with his Cypriot counterpart, Nikos Christodoulides, in the framework of his official visit to Cyprus, noted that he will ask during his meeting with the Turkish Foreign Minister for more concrete views about the replacement of the unacceptable system of guarantees with system in which no characteristics contrary to the international law will be repeated, noting that the other side has not laid its cards on the table yet.

The Greek FM said that the messages to be conveyed to Ankara as regards the Cyprus problem will be concrete both as regards the substance and the process. He underlined that “we want to have progress to the Cyprus problem, adding that what we want is for a sincere discussion to begin and to get concrete responses from the other side, as regards the international aspect of the Cyprus problem.

We want a preparative discussion to get underway, informally at the beginning, with a view to achieve progress that will allow the resumption of substantive negotiations to make use of all the progress achieved during recent negotiations and specifically during Crans Montana, Katrougkalos said.

On his part, Christodoulides noted that through their discussions they reached a conclusion about the concrete messages which will be conveyed to Turkey, so that the talks on the Cyprus problem can resume with prospects for positive results.

We don’t want to hold talks for the sake of the talks. We want substantive and results-oriented talks that could achieve positive results, he said.

Asked about the Trilateral Summit among Cyprus, Greece and Israel that will take place on Wednesday in Israel, in the presence of the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Katrougkalos noted that the status of both Cyprus and Greece has been upgraded due to the trilateral cooperation schemes they have developed.

He noted that both countries are not only pillars of democracy and stability but also exporters of stability in an unstable region and that Pompeo’s participation in this Trilateral Summit confirms the new upgraded geostrategic role of Cyprus and Greece and constitutes a guarantee that the Republic of Cyprus right to exploit resources in its Exclusive Economic Zone will be respected as dictated by the international law.

On his part, Christodoulides said that the ad hoc participation of the US in the Trilateral Summit shows the significance and importance of this basic pillar of Cyprus’ and Greece’s foreign policy.

The Cypriot Minister said that there will also be other ad hoc participations in Trilateral meetings in the future, adding that France is interested in participating in a trilateral meeting of Cyprus, Greece and Egypt. We are at the final stage of determining a date for this meeting, he noted, adding that trilateral meetings will also take place with countries of the Gulf.

Furthermore, Christodoulides underlined that we do not forge alliances against any other country. We build alliances on the basis of positive approaches, which among others, at the end of the day, will be beneficial for the peoples of the region.

On his part, Katrougkalos noted the co-understanding among the two countries, stressing that they discussed first of all about the Cyprus problem which is above all an issue of international law violation. He went on to say that these are the issues that they want to focus on during their discussions with Turkey, with a view to use the progress that was achieved in Crans Montana.

He said that he will discuss with his Turkish counterpart about the Cyprus problem, with view to look into the intentions of the other side, noting that both Cyprus and Greece want the problem to be solved.

Referring to the trilateral schemes of Cyprus and Greece with other countries, Katrougkalos noted that “while they are not against any other country, they are protecting our rights in the region in the best way.”

Moreover he said that they discussed about developments at the European level, noting that they agree that Turkey should continue to have a European orientation, as long as it respects the international law and good neighbourhood relations.

On his part Christodoulides said that they had a very substantive exchange of views on a number of issues of mutual interest, noting that they focused on the Cyprus problem and the effort which is underway by the UNSG’s envoy Jane Holl Lute for the resumption of the negotiations.

He underlined that our sole goal and expectation is the resumption of substantive and results-oriented talks that will lead to the termination of the current unacceptable state of affairs, expressing hope that the forthcoming discussions of the Greek FM in Turkey will have a positive result.

Moreover he said that they discussed about the trilateral cooperation schemes which the two countries have developed during recent years with countries in the region and agreed on the need to further enhance them in concrete areas, recalling that a Permanent Secretariat for the Trilateral Mechanisms will be set up in Cyprus.

Christodoulides also said that they exchanged views on European and regional issues of common interest as EU-Turkey relations. Responding to a question about the European Parliament decision in favour of suspending Turkey’s EU accession negotiations, Christodoulides said that we disagree with this approach, adding that if Turkey’s accession negotiations are terminated this will not help either the settlement of the Cyprus problem or in rendering Turkey a country that will respect the human rights and the rule of law.

Christodoulides warned that terminating Ankaras accession process will lead to even more unexpected developments as regards Turkey.

On his part, Katrougkalos said that they fully agree on this issue, adding that it is in the interest of the people of Turkey, our countries and the EU not to have an anti-European and hostile Turkey at the Eastern EU borders, on the contrary its European path must remain open, under the precondition that Turkey will respect the European law at all levels.

Asked about Turkish provocations in the Aegean sea and the Cypriot EEZ, Katrougkalos said that tension in the Aegean was reduced after Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’ visit Turkey and had a meeting with the Turkish President.

He noted that during his meeting with Cavusoglu they will seek to define a road map for further easing tensions that do not benefit either side.

On his part, Christodoulides said that there is an almost every day escalation of the tension in the Eastern Mediterranean and more specifically in the Cypriot EEZ either through actions or through public statements.

We will not follow the Turkish approach in any case. The Republic of Cyprus and Greece are pillars of stability and security in the region and we will not engage into a dialogue that questions our sovereign rights, as Turkey is pursuing through such actions he noted.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37% of its territory.

Source: Cyprus News Agency