Moscow supports the immediate return to the negotiating table of all involved parties, asking them at the same time to be as constructive and creative as possible in order to reach a mutually acceptable settlement of the Cyprus problem.
In an interview with the Cyprus News Agency, the Ambassador of the Russian Federation to the Republic of Cyprus, Stanislav Viliorovich Osadchiy, says that Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, reiterated to President Nicos Anastasiades, Moscow’s support to efforts for the reunification of Cyprus, during their recent tête-à-tête in New York.
He also reiterates Russia’s readiness to engage more actively in discussions about security and guarantees, along with the other UN Security Council permanent members.
Moreover, Osadchiy notes that his country is in favour of maintaining the presence of the UN peacekeeping force on the island “without changes”, allowing it to continue playing its stabilising role.
Asked about Turkey’s intention to start drilling for gas in the Eastern Mediterranean, the Russian Ambassador says that actions that could increase tensions ought to be avoided.
In his interview with CNA, the Ambassador refers to the meeting of President Anastasiades and Foreign Minister Lavrov, on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, on September 25, and says that the two men discussed in particular efforts for a Cyprus settlement. “My Minister confirmed his support to efforts aiming at the island’s reunification and the steady position in favor of a comprehensive, viable and just Cyprus solution” he underlines.
The Ambassador notes in his interview that the main issue in the present stage is for the sides to engage in a constructive and creative manner, return to the negotiating table and reach a mutually acceptable compromise, on the basis of the agreed principles for a solution.
He points out, however, that the only solution Moscow supports is the one that is acceptable both to the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities, without any pressure from outside. Osadchiy appears certain that any difficulties can be overcome through good will and determination.
He also expresses hope that all sides involved were able to persuade Jane Holl Lute, the UN Secretary-General’s personal envoy for Cyprus, that they are serious about their intention to continue with the dialogue.
The Ambassador reiterates moreover Russia’s readiness to get involved in discussions concerning security and guarantees. “We support the initiative of the President of Cyprus for a more active engagement of the permanent members of the UN Security Council in the discussion concerning the external aspects of a Cyprus settlement,” he says.
“Russia expresses its readiness” to take part in such discussions, however there is no consensus on this matter among those taking part in negotiations, he says.
For Russia, the system of guarantees is an anachronism, while the presence of foreign troops is not considered as an element which supports stability, the Ambassador underlines.
Asked about Moscow’s position on the renewal of the mandate of the peacekeeping force in Cyprus (UNFICYP), due next January at the Security Council, the Ambassador says that Russia consistently insists that UNFICYP should be maintained without any changes. He adds that Minister Lavrov told President Anastasiades in New York that the force is carrying out effectively its peacekeeping tasks in Cyprus.
When asked to comment on the Embassy’s reaction to an interview by the President of ruling Democratic Rally party, Averof Neophytou, earlier this month, the Ambassador says that the incident is considered closed. “We see no obstacle in our bilateral dialogue with the Republic of Cyprus due to our relations with any third country, including Turkey” he says.
The Ambassador was also asked about Turkey’s stated intention to drill for gas in the Eastern Mediterranean. He says that Moscow monitors all developments concerning the energy designs of various countries in the region, and believes that each state may drill in its respective exclusive economic zone (EEZ), according to the provisions of international law.
This is also the case for the Republic of Cyprus, a state recognised by the international community which has sovereign rights within its EEZ, he goes on.
“We are convinced that actions, which could lead to further tension in the region of the Eastern Mediterranean, should be avoided” Osadchiy notes, expressing Moscow’s preference for the peaceful resolution of disputes.
Asked about developments in Syria, the Ambassador says that Russia’s involvement aims at preventing the country’s breakup and its transformation into an incubator of international terrorism.
“Since the emergence of the crisis, Russia is actively involved in international initiatives to find ways for a settlement in Syria” he says.
Osadchiy notes that through joint action with Iran and Turkey, Russia was able to persuade recently the conflicting sides at Sochi to reach various agreements over the peaceful settlement of the problem in Syria.
He says that the creation of a demilitarized zone in Idlib is an effort to solve the situation there peacefully. The success of these agreements depends on many factors, the Ambassador says, and calls on countries which are active in the Middle East, not to put any obstacles in this process.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37% of its territory. Numerous UN-backed negotiations, aiming at reuniting the island under a federal roof, have failed to yield results. The latest talks under UN aegis took place in the summer of 2017 at the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana.
(Cyprus News Agency)