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Athens Macedonian News Agency: News in English, 17-01-04

Athens News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Geneva talks on Cyprus cannot fail; they can only be postponed or delayed, says Kotzias
  • [02] Four Greek nationals arrested in international drug bust operation

  • [01] Geneva talks on Cyprus cannot fail; they can only be postponed or delayed, says Kotzias

    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.

    [02] Four Greek nationals arrested in international drug bust operation

    Greek and German police arrested four Greek nationals suspected of being members of an international gang trafficking large quantities of cannabis worth about 265,000 euros, during a joint operation with the coast guard and Thessaloniki's drug enforcement unit over the past two days, authorities said on Wednesday.

    Police said they confiscated 266 kilos of raw cannabis hidden in household appliances and food products and two international transport trucks bound for Germany. According to the authorities, the criminal organization imported cannabis from Albania in trucks and then packaged large quantities which they shipped to Germany and other EU countries.

    The person who organized the transport and received the cannabis in Germany is alleged to be a 58-year-old Greek national who was arrested by German police. Greek authorities arrested a 51-yer-old truck driver, his 48-year-old co-driver and a 61-year-old businessman in whose warehouse police found some of the confiscated cannabis.

    The suspects were led before the prosecutor in city of Igoumenitsa.

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