Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s remarks at the joint news conference following talks with Foreign Minister of Cyprus Nikos Christodoulides, Moscow, April 27, 2018
Ladies and gentlemen,
We held constructive and trust-based talks with my colleague, Foreign Minister of Cyprus Nikos Christodoulides.
Cyprus is an important partner for Russia in the Eastern Mediterranean and in Europe as a whole. We have very kind and friendly relations based on our historical connections and spiritual affinity.
We welcomed dynamic development in our relations in the political, trade, economic, cultural, humanitarian and law enforcement areas.
We analysed in detail the implementation of the agreements reached during the visit of President of Cyprus Nicos Anastasiades to the Russian Federation last October.
In particular, we noted the continued growth of trade owing to the efforts of the Intergovernmental Commission on Economic Cooperation. We observed that the Joint Action Programme between the Russian Federation and the Republic of Cyprus for 2018-2020, signed during the visit of the Cypriot President, is also conducive to enhancing the practical results of interdepartmental contacts.
Our contractual foundation continues to grow. Many signed treaties and agreements have entered into force, while others are still a work in process.
We discussed in detail the prospects for resuming the talks on a Cypriot settlement. Russia is committed to the implementation of all UN Security Council resolutions that were adopted with a view to finding a way out of this protracted conflict.
We noted during the talks that we consider the existing system of external security guarantees for Cyprus obsolete. It does not meet today’s realities and the current international-legal status of the Republic of Cyprus. We believe that the guarantees of the UN Security Council would be the most effective measures of ensuring the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of a united Cyprus.
Both sides reaffirmed their commitment to the preservation of the mandate and parameters of action of the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus, in particular in connection with yet another extension of the mandate of this peacekeeping operation next summer.
We also discussed many other issues, including the current state of relations between Russia and the European Union, which is not satisfactory to us or to the Cypriots. We appreciate Nicosia’s position in favour of normalising these relations.
As for the Ukrainian crisis, there is no alternative to careful and consistent implementation of the Minsk agreements that were reaffirmed by UN Security Council resolution. We have again confirmed our interest in the EU leaders, primarily Germany and France, exerting their influence on Kiev as participants in the Normandy format.
We have a common position on Syria – it is necessary to implement UN Security Council Resolution 2254. We spoke about the efforts that Russia is making along with Iran and Turkey as part of the Astana process in the context of the recent Syrian National Dialogue Congress in Sochi with a view to creating the best possible conditions for starting to carry out this resolution. These efforts are aimed at starting to implement UN Security Council decisions, which were seriously complicated by the missile strikes that violate international law. These illegal strikes were dealt against Syria by the United States, Britain and France on April 14 under the pretext of responding to the alleged use of chemical weapons by the Syrian Government.
We believe that any accusations of the use of chemical weapons anywhere should be reviewed on a firm international legal and judicially binding foundation, for example, by the OPCW. In this context, as you know, the accusations made by some of our Western colleagues against the Syrian Government that was charged with the alleged use of chemical weapons in Eastern Ghouta, in the city of Douma on April 7, were the subject of a briefing yesterday in The Hague. It was organised by Russia and Syria with live witnesses that confirmed that these events were staged. We are grateful to the EU countries, among them the Republic of Cyprus, that sent their representatives to this briefing.
We have a common interest with Cyprus also in the settlement of other conflicts in the Middle East and North Africa with a view to normalising and stabilising the situation in the entire region and creating conditions for active trade and economic cooperation, in particular in the Eastern Mediterranean.
I am very pleased with the talks. I am sure they will help us steadily implement all the agreements reached at the top level.