Anastasiades, Tsipras Talk Cyprus’ Security, Lagging Unity Deal

Greek Premier Alexis Tsipras (L) with Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades

Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades met Jan. 28 in Lisbon with Greek Premier Alexis Tsipras over unity hopes and who would guarantee security on the island.

Greece, Turkey and the United Kingdom are joint guarantors but only Turkey wants to keep a presence if Anastasiades and Turkish-Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci can come to terms over a deal to reunify the island split since an unlawful 1974 Turkish invasion.

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has the last word for his side and said he will never remove his 30,000 troops unless Greece pulls out some soldiers.

Anastasiades and Tsipras met on the sidelines of the summit of the Mediterranean European countries (Med Group), in Lisbon,” government spokesman Nicos Christodoulides said in a statement, the Cyprus Mail reported.

“During the meeting, President Anastasiades informed the Greek prime minister of the latest developments in the Cyprus problem and exchanged views on the current state of play in the talks, with particular emphasis on issues of security and guarantees, as well as Turkey’s unacceptable demands for concessions regarding the four basic EU freedoms for Turkish citizens in reunified Cyprus, within the framework of solving the Cyprus problem.”

“The President referred in particular to the EU’s presence at the conference in Geneva and the expressed position of both the EU and other member states, that the most effective guarantee for the safety of an EU member state, is its being a member state,” the spokesman said.