Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Foreign Minister of Cyprus Ioannis Kasoulides holding a press conference after the talks.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov held talks with his Cypriot counterpart Ioannis Kasoulides. Russian Foreign Minister visits Cyprus with a three-day working visit. The sides discussed a wide range of issues, focusing on the course of the Cyprus settlement.
Speech and Answers to Media Questions by Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergey Lavrov at a Press Conference Following Talks with Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Cyprus I.Kasulidis, Nicosia, 18 May 2017.
Dear Mr. Minister,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
We had very useful negotiations. Cyprus is our reliable, time-tested partner in Europe. Our relations are based on sincere feelings of friendship and sympathy of our peoples, on their spiritual and cultural affinity.
We examined the state of bilateral affairs. Satisfied with intensive and result-oriented policy dialogue. It was stated that after a serious decline in bilateral trade for certain reasons, in recent months, trade has been growing. We discussed contacts between the ministries of foreign affairs, joint work in international organizations. We examined educational, humanitarian exchanges, which are very rich and attract a large number of Russians and Cypriots to relevant events.
We considered the problems of international life primarily from the angle of threats common to all countries of the world. The challenges of international terrorism, of course, dictate the need for a unifying agenda, and not for the continuation of the confrontational policies that we see on the part of some Western countries. The fight against terrorism is connected with the need to resolve conflicts in the Middle East and North Africa, especially in Syria. We acquainted our Cypriot friends with the efforts made by Russia both at the Geneva site and in the framework of the Astana site jointly with Turkey and Iran, as well as with the participation of observers from the United States, the United Nations and Jordan.
We also exchanged views on the situation in Ukraine. Here, as Mr. Minister said, we have a common position. It is necessary to thoroughly implement Minsk agreements. Unfortunately, the recent actions of the Ukrainian authorities show that Kiev either does not want, or is not able to carry out its part of the work. These actions show that the authorities are under the strongest influence of the most radical forces in society: I mean attacks on minority languages of peoples who live in Ukraine, blocking the work of the media and Internet resources, attacks on the church, and attempts by the state to interfere in its affairs. On both sides, we reiterated our support for the efforts of the OSCE to organize work on implementing the Minsk agreements within the framework of the Contact Group and on the functioning of the Special Monitoring Mission in Ukraine.
Russia reaffirmed its commitment to a just settlement of the Cyprus problem. We stand for a firm, viable, comprehensive settlement based on UN Security Council resolutions and agreements between the two Cypriot communities.
We touched upon the current state of affairs in relations between Russia and the European Union. It is not satisfying. We are interested in the return of our dialogue to a normal, equitable, mutually respectful channel. For this, of course, it is necessary that Brussels ceased to play "in one gates". During the last year and a half, including at the level of the President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin, our unofficial ideas were conveyed to the European Commission on how relations could be straightened, how to establish contacts between the Eurasian Economic Commission (ECE) and the European Commission (EC) . We will still be ready to discuss the reaction to these documents, which has not yet followed.
We expressed our gratitude to our Cypriot friends for being part of the EU, they belong to the group of countries that advocates overcoming the current abnormal situation.
Question(translation from English):The Turkish side insists on linking the energy development of Cyprus with the settlement negotiations on the island. Some suggest that this could lead to confrontation, because the Republic of Cyprus does not intend to postpone its energy development program. I would like to know Moscow's opinion on this situation. How can Russia contribute to the strengthening of stability in this already troubling region?
Lavrov:We can only confirm that any disputable issues should be resolved in the legal field through seeking the consent of the parties involved. This fully applies to the situation that you mentioned. Of course, we believe that in this, as in any other situation, it is necessary to refrain from threats of the use of force and even more so from the actual use of force. We hope that this will guide all interested parties.
Question: On the eve of the first working tour of the US President, D.Trump, his entourage announces the consideration by Washington of an initiative to create an alliance like the North Atlantic Treaty Organization among the Gulf countries. How would you assess the prospects for such a proposal for security in the region?
Lavrov:You know our principle of a negative attitude towards resolving all issues concerning international security through narrow and closed military-political blocs. Now there is a lot of speculation in the press about the content of the forthcoming talks of US President D. Trump in the Middle East region. We prefer to wait until the event takes place. Then there will be more clarity about what is at stake. In principle, we proceed from the premise that the most difficult problems in the region of the Middle East and North Africa can be solved only on a collective and inclusive basis, with the participation of all, without exception, the so-called. "Players," without attempting to isolate anyone. Of course, it is very important not to allow attempts to "drive the wedges" into relations between the countries of the region on an ethno-confessional basis.
Question(translation from English):I would like to hear your opinion about the recent polemic surrounding reports that the US President has disclosed classified information to Russian officials. It was reported that this is a "perfectly acceptable situation". Some say it is better to share information on the fight against international terrorism on the international scene. You yourself said that we need to cooperate more. Will the information of life of Russians save?
Lavrov:On this topic yesterday, in detail at a press conference on the outcome of the talks in Sochi, Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke. As you raise this issue again, I can say the following. I sometimes get the feeling that many American media work on the basis of the principle that was circulated in the Soviet Union. Then in the USSR they joked that there is a newspaper Pravda, in which there is no news, and there is the newspaper Izvestia, in which there is no truth. It seems that many American media work in this way.
As for the substance of the matter, we do not comment on the rumors. We read in your newspapers that the main accusations are focused on the following: as if secrets have been uncovered about the ability of terrorists to stuff computers, laptops, "Aipeds" etc. with the "elusive" explosives. If my memory serves me, a month or two ago, the US Presidential Administration, D.Trump, officially decided to ban passengers from, I think, the seven countries of the Middle East region, bring on board any electronic devices, which was directly attributed to the terrorist threat. So if this is the case, then I do not understand what is the secret here.