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EU must take clearer stance on Turkey’s intervention rights demand

The European Union must take a clearer stance over Turkey’s demand for intervention rights in a bloc member state such as Cyprus, Greek Foreign Minister Nicos Kotzias said in an interview to media platform Euractiv.

The Union should also take a clearer stance on the occupation by Turkey of part of Cyprus, he added.

Kotzias, who headed the Greek delegation at the UN-brokered Conference on Cyprus in Crans-Montana, Switzerland, earlier this month, said he would not describe the high-level efforts as “failed”.

“I would say it did not have the results we all expected…From our point of view, some important steps were taken,” he said.

“Most importantly, the issue of security and guarantees has finally been put on the agenda of the negotiations,” he added.

Kotzias also said his view of more than two years ago is that discussion of security and guarantees is the key to unlocking the Cyprus problem and thus should precede negotiation in other chapters.

“The next time we go to discussions, we should start with guarantees and security. This is the difficult problem. The other issues follow,” he said.

On what could have been done better in the inter-communal negotiations thus far, Kotzias said the Republic of Cyprus should “more intensively include the Turkish Cypriots to those who suffered – just like the Greek Cypriot refugees – from the presence of the Turkish army”.

“Since I took over the Greek Foreign Ministry, I said that first of all, we must extend a maximum of rights to the Turkish Cypriots, as well as to the other three minor minorities – the Latins, the Maronites, and the Armenians,” he also said.

“On the one hand, the maximum of rights for Turkish Cypriots [and] minorities […] and on the other hand the maximum sense of security for Greek Cypriots,” he added.

On his trip to Cyprus to attend a National Council session on Tuesday, Kotzias said the agenda is to discuss with the Cypriot government “how we can help prepare a better round of negotiations on the Cyprus issue, because I sincerely believe that the preparation was not adequate”.

“No substantive discussions on the matter took place beforehand,” he said.

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