FM Kotzias: We insist on full withdrawal of Turkish troops from Cyprus

“Some want to create a rift between Cyprus and Greece and the easiest way is to undermine the Greek foreign policy” said Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias referring to the recent attacks against him after the collapse of the negotiations on the Cyprus issue in Switzerland in an interview to private radio Alpha on Sunday.

“The bottom line is the definition of the Cyprus problem which is the occupation of northern Cyprus by the Turkish troops” he noted adding that “unless some consider ‘solution’ the handover and mean the Turkish occupation troops to remain on the island. Let’s say it clearly. They charge me because they do not dare to say clearly that they support the legalisation and remaining of the illegal occupation Turkish troops on the island”.

He referred to the same forces that had sternly attacked him when he was appointed Foreign Minister “forces from abroad and from inside the country that do not want an independent multidimensional foreign policy”, he said.

“What annoys them is that we can’t support the position that Turkey can have guaranteed interventional rights in Cyprus or that Turkey can keep forever its troops on Cyprus”. We insist that the troops must withdraw within a reasonable period and a clause to exist that will give a specific date of the final withdrawal.

Kotzias clarified that the Greek government was not involved in the five stages of the negotiation adding that he even refused to express his opinion to Cyprus’ government. “I was attacked when we refused to go to Switzerland to discuss the territorial issue” he explained and certified Greek government’s intention for a meeting between Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in order to examine if there are “any bridges and possibilities for an agreement’.

Finally, asked on Erdogan’s provocative stance, Kotzias said that the Turkish president “has his eyes fixed on the Middle East and want to reach the oil of Mosul and to have some rights in the area”.

On Albania and its Prime Minister Edi Rama, Kotzias referred to the package of deliberations on the solution of the existing issues between Greece and Albania before the start of Albania’s accession procedure to EU and expressed the hope the Albanians, in the next period, to meet more and better the conditions for their accession course.

“Personally, I want Albania in EU as well as a more democratic Albania with European characteristics that will also be a good neighbour”.

Asked on newly elected US President Donald Trump, Kotzias said that his election expressed objective and international trends and phenomena that exist and in EU . On the Greek positions he referred to his contacts with Trump’s staff noting that “we will explain and struggle to keep the ears of Mr. Trump’s government open”.