Athens insists meeting between PM and Erdogan must precede final Cyprus summit

Athens insists meeting between PM and Erdogan must precede final Cyprus summit

The government repeated Tuesday that it believes a meeting between Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is a “necessary precondition” before a multilateral final summit, scheduled for January 12 in Geneva, about Cyprus can go ahead.

Government spokesman Dimitris Tzanakopoulos said Tuesday that “diplomatic contacts” were being made so that announcements will soon be forthcoming “on the specifics.”

Tzanakopoulos’s remarks came as United Nations-backed reunification talks between Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish-Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci resumed Tuesday after their collapse last month. The Greek-Cypriot leader will meet Wednesday with Tsipras and other European officials on the sidelines of an EU summit in Brussels.

Anastasiades described the January summit – where post-settlement security arrangements will be discussed by Cyprus’s rivals leaders and guarantor powers – Greece, Britain and Turkey – as “a real opportunity to achieve a solution to the Cyprus problem, an opportunity which we fought for so long, on so many levels, in the effort to get Turkey to the negotiating table.”

“[Turkey’s leadership] will be obliged to submit its view on how to resolve the huge issue of security on the island,” he said.

Cyprus and Greece have said the “anachronistic” system of guarantees must be scrapped. As a member of the EU, they argue, Cyprus should not be under the guarantee of a third party, Turkey. Turkish Cypriots have insisted on the need for security from Turkey as part of a settlement.

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