The climate between the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot leaders deteriorated dramatically last Wednesday when a meeting was cancelled after Mustafa Akinci refused to attend. Akinci also cancelled this week's meeting and decided to attend the Islamic Conference next week, leaving no room for the United Nations to take new initiatives to host another meeting of the two leaders in the coming days.
Athens is greatly concerned about the further escalation of tension in the Aegean after Turkish coast guard patrol boat fired real ammunition during a military exercise in the area around the Greek island of Farmakonisi last Friday.
Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras visited Ukraine last week in a trip that had been decided a few months ago and is was his latest to a country that is facing diplomatic, political and other problems.
The heightened tension between Athens and Ankara, after the Greek Supreme Court rejected the extradition of eight Turkish military officers and reciprocal provocations over the Imia islets in recent days, are casting a shadow over the Cyprus negotiations.
Greece is having to contend with a more aggressive stance from Turkey in the aftermath of Greece's Supreme Court decision not to extradite eight Turkish soldiers who Ankara wants to put on trial for their alleged role in the failed coup last July.
The decision of Greece’s Supreme Court on Thursday to reject an extradition request for eight Turkish military officers who fled Turkey after July’s coup attempt has created great uncertainty about bilateral relations between Ankara and Athens.
The historic Conference on Cyprus, launched last week in Geneva to discuss the issues of security and guarantees, ended on Thursday without a deal but with a decision to continue discussions at a technical level on Jan 18 before re-convening at a political level again.
Following 19 months of intensive talks aiming to reunify Cyprus, the two Cypriot leaders are due to meet in Geneva on Monday at the beginning of a crucial week of negotiations on the issues of territory, security and guarantees.
Just under three weeks are left before the Cyprus Conference on January 12 in Geneva, which is seen as crucial for the fate of reunification talks.
The European Council’s decision on Thursday that the EU should participate in the upcoming Cyprus Conference in Switzerland was well received by Athens and Nicosia.