Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias ruled out on Wednesday the possibility of failure in the top-level talks on Cyprus which will be held in Geneva next week, saying they can only be delayed or postponed. The minister was speaking journalists after his two-hour meeting with the UN’s Special Adviser on Cyprus, Espen Barth Eide, in Athens.
“Even if negotiations need to halt at some point, this will not be a disaster but an element of the process in order to continue later […] Talks can only be postponed or delayed. There’s a difference. Failure means a negotiation stops without any results,” Kotzias said.
“We have received assurances from the United Nations that this negotiation will be what we call in international debates ‘open-ended’, which means it will be a negotiation which, even if it stops, it will not be viewed as having collapsed, but that it can continue in the future with more preparation,” he added.
One way this could be done is if the three leaders propose that talks continue on an experts’ level, he continued. “But they may also agree from the first moment – but this remains to be seen.”
Asked about whether there will be a meeting between Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Cyprus, the minister said “a lot of meetings” are being held to prepare the top-level talks which will be held before or after Geneva.
“Greece and Cyprus have a common front […] Especially in Greece we have managed to form a common line that we support Cyprus and we support the abolition of guarantees, the intervention of any country in Cyprus’ domestic affairs and the withdrawal of the occupation army,” he noted.
He also expressed his certainty that British Prime Minister Theresa May will be at the Geneva meeting, but also on Thursday, during his meeting with Foreign Office Minister Sir Alan Duncan and during the dinner with his British counterpart Boris Johnson in London, between his visit to New York and Geneva.
Asked whether he’s worried ahead of the Geneva meeting, Kotzias replied negatively, saying it is the ministry’s and the government’s responsibility to prepare for all possible outcomes and propose alternatives.