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Athens Macedonian News Agency: News in English, 17-01-09

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>

CONTENTS

  • [01] PM briefing opposition party leaders on Cyprus issue talks process
  • [02] EU Commission ready to assist Greece with situation at refugee/migrant centres, Bertaud says
  • [03] PM continues party briefings on Cyprus issue, meeting KKE leader Koutsoumbas

  • [01] PM briefing opposition party leaders on Cyprus issue talks process

    Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras began successive meetings with opposition party leaders on Monday to discuss developments on the Cyprus issue, even as Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci began a three-day process of talks in Geneva on Monday. The talks between the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot sides will culminate with a multilateral meeting that also involves Greece, Turkey and the United Kingdom on January 12.

    Monday's meetings schedule is the following:

    -10:00 Kyriakos Mitsotakis (ND)

    -12:00 Fofi Gennimata (Democratic Coalition)

    -14:00 Dimitris Koutsoumbas (Communist Party)

    -17:00 Stavros Theodorakis (Potami)

    -19:30 Vasilis Leventis (Centrists' Union)

    -20:30 Panos Kammenos (ANEL)

    The prime minister will present Greece's positions calling for the abolition of guarantees and demanding security for both communities, government sources said. Regarding the multilateral meeting, the sources said that Tsipras will participate if there is a chance of achieving an agreement on the Cyprus problem. Greece and Cyprus have a common line, the sources added, with Tsipras and Anastasiades in constant communication over the past days, while they have displayed a strong willingness to achieve an agreement.

    Greece and Cyprus now expect Turkey to display a similar strong willingness, the sources said.

    They clarified that no phone communication between Tsipras and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been arranged at this time and noted that all sides have agreed that the talks should be "open-ended". This means that in the case of failure, the international practice for salvaging talks will be followed, with the talks interrupted, a round of consultations on a lower level and then a resumption.

    Greece also wants the European Union and UN Security Council to participate in the multilateral meeting, with the same sources saying that at some point in the process when an agreement in ensured the EU and the 15 members of the Security Council will play a role, because the processes demand this.

    n Tuesday Tsipras will meet with Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos to discuss the Cyprus issue. The meeting will take place at 13.00, at the Presidential mansion.

    [02] EU Commission ready to assist Greece with situation at refugee/migrant centres, Bertaud says

    BRUSSELS (ANA/ M. Aroni) The European Commission is ready to assist Greek authorities financially and technically so that they can deal with the situation in refugee and migrant reception centres, Commission spokeswoman Natasha Bertaud said on Monday.

    Commenting on the conditions at the centres on the Greek islands during a recent severe cold front that left many migrant centres snowbound, Bertaud stated that the current situation was inadequate. She noted, however, that responsibility for ensuring suitable conditions and for the management of reception centres primarily belongs to Greek authorities. The Commission was monitoring the situation closely and doing everything in its power to support Greek authorities, she added.

    Bertaud also noted that the Commission has already pointed out the necessity to set up additional reception facilities for the refugees on the islands and has informed local and national authorities that it is prepared to finance these.

    [03] PM continues party briefings on Cyprus issue, meeting KKE leader Koutsoumbas

    Briefing Communist Party of Greece (KKE) General Secretary Dimitris Koutsoumbas about the upcoming meeting on the Cyprus issue in Geneva, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on Monday emphasised that "we have ensured that we will not be led to a closure of the process in Geneva."

    He was replying to Koutsoumbas, who had expressed fears during their discussion before the cameras that the process was heading toward a solution that would divide the island republic. Tsipras ruled out such a prospect, saying this had to be avoided, and noted that "this was not on the horizon" given that the process would not be concluded in Geneva.

    Tsipras, in reply to Koutsoumbas' concerns that a "storm was brewing" in connection with Cyprus, also pointed out that the Cyprus issue was a problem going back 42 years. "This is perhaps an opportunity but that does not depend on us, it depends mainly upon the other side," he said.

    Koutsoumbas said he would listen to what Tsipras had to say but that, the problem was "that the negotiations are essentially undermined."

    "What we know, from the Cypriot leadership, with the parties we talked to and the picture we came away with, leads us to conclude that we are heading toward a solution of division," he said, adding that this was not a solution. Koutsoumbas and Tsipras then continued their discussion in private, without cameras present.


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