Security remains main obstacle to Cyprus deal

Security remains main obstacle to Cyprus deal

As negotiators try to break a 43-year deadlock to reunite Cyprus, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras expressed reservations on Wednesday over the short-term prospects of a settlement, which, he said, must include the abolition of the “anachronistic” system of guarantees and the withdrawal of Turkey’s troops from the island.

In an interview with the Efimerida ton Syntakton newspaper on Wednesday, Tsipras said that, as things stand now, a solution is not within reach.

“It was clear at the conference [in Geneva] and at the technical-diplomatic talks on Mont Pelerin that there is no ground today for a solution,” Tsipras said, adding that the effort for a solution must continue on all levels. If there is scope for a solution, he said, then he will take part in the talks.

His remarks came as Turkish-Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci insisted on Wednesday that a deal which does not guarantee the presence of Turkish troops is a nonstarter.

Speaking to Turkey’s NTV, Akinci said Greek Cypriots were impeding progress with their insistence on “zero guarantees and zero troops.”

Meanwhile, Greece’s Supreme Court will rule Thursday on whether to extradite eight Turkish military officers who fled to Greece after a failed Turkish coup in July.

If the court rules against their extradition, the decision will be regarded as final and cannot be challenged. If, however, it upholds Turkey’s request, then the final decision will rest with the Greek justice minister.

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