Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov from Cyprus on Tuesday expressed Russia’s readiness to contribute to dialogue with Turkey in order to ease tensions in the East Mediterranean.
“We are also concerned about the situation in the Mediterranean. As far as relations with the Turkish Republic are concerned, we are ready to contribute to the establishment of a realistic dialogue based on mutual interests and aimed at the search for fair, decisions based on international law,” Lavrov said at the beginning of his talks with Cypriot President, Nikos Anastasiadis.
The Russian foreign minister also expressed concern about US efforts to provoke regional tensions and condemned any move that could lead to further escalation in the Mediterranean.
He also invited the Cypriot Foreign Minister to visit Russia.
Welcoming the Russian Foreign Minister, Anastasiadis said that the relations between Russia and Cyprus are based on the principles and values that the two countries share, namely the UN Charter.
“However, we attach special importance to your visit at a time in the midst of Turkey’s illegal actions in the East Mediterranean, with threats for the settlement of Famagusta and in general a very critical period for international law,” said Cypriot President.
Lavrov’s arrival coincides with Turkish threats to colonize a town in Famagusta that has been occupied by Turkey since 1974.
At the same time, he warmly thanked himself and Russia as defenders of the independence and territorial integrity of the Republic of Cyprus, but also for supporting efforts for a peaceful solution to the Cyprus problem.
“I sincerely want to express my gratitude, because it is through this solidarity that we gain strength and fight for justice in this place and for us to be allowed to live peacefully with our Turkish Cypriot compatriots,” Anastasiadis concluded.
For his part, Lavrov conveyed the greetings and best wishes of President Putin.
“We reaffirm our commitment to the development of all areas of our cooperation. The 60 years of Cypriot Independence and the 60 years of our diplomatic relations have recently been completed – and we celebrate at a high level. It is a very important anniversary. I share the moves you are making for our cooperation and the principles on which this cooperation is based, and I reaffirm our willingness to further develop it,” he stressed.
At the same time, he recalled Russia’s position in Cyprus and the East Mediterranean.
“You are well aware of our position on the Cyprus issue, the resolution of which must be based on the relevant UN resolutions, and we hope for the quickest resumption of dialogue between the communities and the fastest resolution of the Cyprus issue,” Lavrov said.
“We are monitoring the situation in the East Mediterranean in terms of your relations with Turkey. We are ready to provide any assistance in developing a genuine dialogue towards mutually acceptable solutions,” he emphasised.
The Russian foreign minister also referred to other issues of concern to Russia over the situation in the East Mediterranean, referring to outside players such as the United States, “trying to build” lines “and contribute to conflicts rather than peaceful solutions.”
“This is a really sad fact, because in the East Mediterranean, other approaches are needed, peaceful ways of promoting interests. Compromise and dialogue are the only solutions that can contribute to the peaceful resolution of any issue. We are open to developing our dialogue with our Cypriot friends on both the bilateral agenda and international issues,” he concluded.
Cypriot Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulidis also stated that he will inform his Russian counterpart about the challenges of Turkey in the Exclusive Economic Zone of Cyprus and against Cyprus itself.
“The visit also provides an opportunity to brief Mr. Lavrov and exchange views on illegal Turkish activities and challenges in the East Mediterranean, including violations of Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone,” Christodoulidis said, adding that he would brief Lavrov on the latest developments in the conflict.
In fact, the next two weeks are expected to be crucial, culminating in the Summit of European Leaders on 24 September.
At the same time, the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, had a telephone conversation with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
Charles Michel stressed that the EU is in full solidarity with Greece and Cyprus and stressed the importance of de-escalation, while calling on Turkey to refrain from activities that increase tensions.
Also, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis will meet with French President Emanuel Macron in the coming days.