Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said on Monday he will attend the Geneva talks on Cyprus only if it becomes apparent that negotiation are moving towards a solution.
“The issue now is, as soon as we have the first indications on the state of play of the negotiations in Geneva, we will have a better picture on whether we will be represented at a prime ministerial level, or if the foreign ministers will take over,” Tsipras told government coalition partner and ANEL leader Panos Kammenos, during talks before the cameras.
“The positive thing is, and I reiterated this in my phone call to the Turkish president, that what is important is to see how far we can go. If it appears that a solution is likely, I am willing to attend in Geneva. If not, then the foreign ministers should take over to push talks as far as they can go,” he added.
He said this is an important achievement as it will allow Greece to fight for a solution “without having our backs against the wall”.
On his side, Kammenos, who is also the Defence minister, said Greece requires the withdrawal of occupation forces from the island and the abolition of guarantees as a condition for a solution.
“It is a common line between Greece and Cyprus and, from what I saw today, a common political agreement is being formed with other political parties. We’re finally going to form a common national policy on something,” he said.
Asked whether he believes the Geneva talks will be successful, Kammenos responded negatively. “I’m not optimistic because I believe Turkey is keeping an uncompromising attitude. We hope Turkey changes its stance and accepts the things required by the international community, the UN and international law. I wish for a miracle, we will seek one, we will work for it, we will be in close cooperation with the President of Cyprus and the Cypriot political parties, but we will not budge on these two issues which are now a national line,” he said.
Asked whether Tsipras will attend the Geneva meeting, he said this will only happen if all the other issues are resolved and remain those in which Greece is involved – the guarantees and the withdrawal of the occupation forces. “So far, there does not seem to be such a will from Turkey’s side,” he added.
The meeting between Tsipras and Kammenos concludes the prime minister’s bilateral meetings with all opposition leaders on Cyprus.