Cyprus talks and Syria the focus of Kotzias’ speech at FAC in Brussels

Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias focused on the Cyprus issue, among others, during his address to the Foreign Affairs Council (FAC) in Brussels, diplomatic sources said on Monday.

The minister noted the “provocative tone” adopted by the Turkish delegation at the talks in Geneva, especially that of the Turkish foreign minister toward European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker. Such an attitude was incompatible with a “culture of compromise” that was needed to solve the Cyprus issue, he said.

According to the same sources, Cyprus Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides warmly thanked his Greek counterpart for his significant contribution and support during the Geneva talks.

Responding to questions as he arrived for the meeting earlier, Kotzias had angrily dismissed press reports claiming that he would not take part in the next meeting on Cyprus, calling them “scurrilous and paid-for articles of the gutter press.”

On the sidelines of the FAC, Kotzias also had a bilateral meeting with UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson.

Other issues that Kotzias raised during the meeting included what he called an “existential crisis” within the EU, which was unable to handle the problems arising in its area, while he briefed his counterparts on his contacts with the staff of the new U.S. President-elect Donald Trump, who takes over on January 20.

Referring to the upcoming talks on Syria in Astana, between Turkey, Russia and Iran, Kotzias emphasised that neither Europe nor the Arab League had been invited to attend, pointing out that this was the first time talks were held without them present. Talking about the Eastern Mediterranean, he said the region’s main problem was stability and security, hailing an initiative for a dinner in Egypt to focus on migration.