Greek Premier Alexis Tsipras said Friday the argument against the continuation of the system of guarantees in Cyprus was met with understanding on the part of German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President François Hollande, during separate meetings they held in Brussels.
Speaking after the conclusion of the European Council, Tsipras said that “I discussed the issue with President François Hollande and Angela Merkel, and met absolute understanding”. He went on to say that a viable solution to the problem can not provide for the presence of Turkish troops on the island.
In response to a question by CNA, Tsipras also reiterated the Greek position, that the framework of guarantees in Cyprus is anachronistic and needs to be abolished.
According to the 1960 Treaty of Guarantee, Greece was one of the guarantor powers in Cyprus, the other two being Turkey and the UK.
The Greek Premier added that he had a positive conversation with the British Prime Minister Theresa May, who told him that her country will not request guarantor rights, if the issue is not raised by other parties.
Speaking on the issue of migration, Tsipras expressed satisfaction over Council conclusions, that target smugglers and aim to substitute illegal flows with legal ones. He was firm, however, on the issue of visa liberalization for Turkish citizens, which he said will happen only through the implementation of all criteria by Ankara, with no exception for any member state, including Cyprus.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded and occupied its northern third. Peace talks are currently underway to find a negotiated settlement that will reunite the country, under a federal roof.