The Greek foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias re-iterated in no uncertain terms yesterday during an interview that there cannot be a solution for Cyprus without the issue of sovereignty.
The Minister insisted that the Turkish occupation troops must depart from Cyprus as part of any solution to the divided island and see its sovereignty returned.
Kotzias claims making the thorny issue of the Turkish troops is part of a successful negotiations strategy because it exposes what the real roadblock to a solution is. The fact that it had become the object of talks was a “major success” during the negotiations, Kotzias added, since it had forced Turkey to discuss the issue and the international actors to recognise that this was the main problem.
Kotzias referred to three main elements that the Greek side proposed for the departure of the occupation troops, namely ensuring a constant flow, having a final completion date and the monitoring of the flow by an international organisation, such as the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), so there could be direct control of the real number of troops, a register of weapons and of departure flows.
The foreign minister also stressed the importance of keeping the negotiation open-ended, noting that Turkey had not wanted this. He indicated that Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras was prepared to take part in the talks, provided that conditions had sufficiently mature as to create a window for an agreement.
The Greek side does not want the talks on Cyprus to end with a failure, Kotzias added, and stressed that channels of communication with Turkey must be kept open, even at the most difficult moments. Greece wants to solve problems with its neighbours on the basis of European and international law, he added.