Statement to the Pressby the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Cyprus, Mr. Nikos Christodoulides, following his meeting with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, Mr. Sergey Lavrov
Moscow, 21 October 2021
Minister, dear Sergey,
Ladies and gentlemen,
I would like to begin by thanking my friend, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, for inviting me to visit Moscow, in the framework of our regular contacts, and for the opportunity to have, as always, an honest and open dialogue.
During our consultations, we held a very constructive discussion and exchange of views on our bilateral relations, the management of the pandemic, international and regional issues, EU - Russia relations, and of course on the Cyprus issue and developments in the Eastern Mediterranean.
I would like to point out that my presence here today is a return visit following dear Sergey’s visit to Nicosia a year ago, when we had celebrated the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between our countries.
The review and evaluation of our bilateral relations demonstrates that they are at an excellent level. Today we had the opportunity to discuss with my friend the Minister about the prospects for their further development in specific areas of common interest, always for the benefit of our peoples. We agreed to work together in this direction in the next period.
It is precisely in this context, but also on the occasion of the completion, very recently, of six decades of diplomatic relations between our countries, that we have signed two important documents, which demonstrate our mutual commitment to further strengthening our bilateral relations:
The first of the two is the Strategic Framework for Cooperation between the Republic of Cyprus and the Russian Federation for the period 2022 - 2024, which is a renewal of the Joint Action Plan that was in force until recently, between the Governments of the two countries and sets out the objectives of our cooperation on a wide range of issues.
The second document we signed is the Agreement between the Governments of Cyprus and Russia for Cooperation during Humanitarian Operations in the Event of Crisis Management Situations, which determines the way in which the two countries will cooperate in cases of crisis that will necessitate the evacuation of our citizens from third countries.
With regard to the Cyprus issue, I expressed the appreciation of the Republic of Cyprus for the long-standing stance of the Russian Federation, in particular within the UN Security Council, the clear position in favour of the abolition of the anachronistic Guarantee system of 1960 but also the unwavering support of the desired goal of resolving the Cyprus problem within the agreed framework of the bi-zonal bi-communal federation. I conveyed our hope and expectation that the United Nations Security Council would play a leading role in the ongoing efforts to resume substantive talks, always on the basis of the relevant UN resolutions, and called on the Minister to contribute in this direction.
We also discussed the illegal and provocative actions of Turkey in the fenced area of Varosha, which is in flagrant disregard of the relevant Security Council Resolutions. Actions that continue despite the explicit position of the Council through the Presidential Declaration of 23 July that calls on Turkey to reverse the illegal decisions in relation to Varosha. The complete disregard/discrediting by Ankara of the decisions of the Security Council, and by extension of the Members of the Council, is something that we believe that the Council itself and in particular its Permanent Members should be seriously concerned about.
During our contacts, I also had the opportunity to brief my counterpart on the situation in the Exclusive Economic Zone of the Republic of Cyprus and the ongoing provocative, illegal actions of Turkey, which violate every principle of International Law, have a negative impact as regards the effort to find a solution to the Cyprus problem and undermine stability and security in the Eastern Mediterranean.
Mr. Lavrov and I also exchanged views on EU-Russia relations. It is an indisputable fact that there are challenges, difficulties and different approaches, but at the same time we share a common belief that cooperation is necessary in order to successfully face important international challenges. It is crucial and essential to have a continuous dialogue and communication, as this is the only way to deal with any disagreements and / or different approaches.
We also discussed regional and international issues with Sergey and the wider geopolitical situation in the Eastern Mediterranean, the Middle East and North Africa. We exchanged views on other regional and international issues through an honest and open dialogue. The purpose in any case is to create prospects for achieving conditions of stability and security, always on the basis of International Law and without any zero-sum approaches.
In conclusion, let me once again thank the Minister for the very constructive and substantive discussions we have had. My visit to Moscow is the third since I took office, and I sincerely believe that its results reaffirm the strong and long-standing bonds of friendship between our peoples, as well as the high level of our bilateral relations.
Dear Sergey, thank you very much for the warm welcome and hospitality.