Inter-American problems and regional policy
Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s remarks at the news conference following talks with Foreign Minister of the Republic of Cyprus Nikos Christodoulides, Nicosia, September 8, 2020
Ladies and gentlemen,
I would like to thank once again Foreign Minister of the Republic of Cyprus Mr Christodoulides for the hospitality accorded to our delegation.
Today we have an intensive day of negotiations. We had long conversations with President of the Republic of Cyprus Nicos Anastasiades and Speaker of the House of Representatives Demetris Syllouris. All these meetings, as well as our talks in the Foreign Ministry of Cyprus took place in a very warm, friendly atmosphere and covered the full range of our bilateral, regional and international cooperation.
This year our diplomatic relations are 60 years old. Our country recognised the Republic of Cyprus immediately after its declaration of independence. The friendship of our nations, enhanced by our spiritual, civilisational and cultural affinity, is several hundred years old. As for the past 60 years, our Cypriot friends have prepared an interesting photo exhibition, which shows the most important episodes of our diplomatic practice.
Today we were gratified to say that during these years we have made substantial progress in key areas of cooperation. These include various fields of interstate relations from the economy to culture. At present, we can describe our relations with Cyprus as excellent.
We discussed in detail ways of overcoming the consequences of the coronavirus pandemic in the hardest hit areas of our cooperation, including practical cooperation in the economy.
We agreed to draft specific measures on restoring our affected trade. This work will be done by the Russian-Cypriot Intergovernmental Commission on Economic Cooperation. According to the order of priority, the next session is scheduled to take place in Cyprus. The dates will be fixed as soon as we understand that the epidemiological situation allows it.
We agreed to continue upgrading our contractual legal foundation. Today, we signed an important document – the protocol on introducing amendments to the Intergovernmental Agreement for the Avoidance of Double Taxation with Regard to Taxes on Income and Capital as of December 5, 1998. It is time to update this to meet today’s needs. The Finance Minister of Russia is pursuing this with all our partners with whom we have such agreements. These efforts are aimed at orienting the investments made by our companies and citizens towards the implementation of specific projects that produce practical benefits.
We will continue supporting other agencies of Russia and Cyprus, which are working on additional documents in various areas, including preparations for programmes of cultural, scientific, educational, sports and youth exchanges for the next three years, including the social insurance agreement and a number of others.
We noted the high level of understanding on regional and international affairs. Today, we signed a schedule for consultations between our ministries for 2021-2022, which provides for reciprocal consultations and an exchange of views on most of the current international issues. I am sure this document will further promote our foreign policy dialogue and interaction.
We agreed to build up our close, trust-based contacts that we maintain at different multilateral venues, primarily in the UN, the OSCE and the Council of Europe.
We discussed in detail the settlement process on Cyprus. We listened with interest to the assessment of the current situation by our friends. For our part, we confirmed our commitment to a comprehensive, durable, fair and viable solution to this problem in line with existing UN Security Council resolutions.
In our opinion, the current system of outside guarantees of the island’s security hardly corresponds to the current realities and international legal status of the Republic of Cyprus. We believe UN Security Council guarantees could be the most effective way of ensuring the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Cyprus.
At present, we do not see the need to adjust the mandate of the UN peacekeepers on the island. As the government of the host country, the Cypriot government must by all means express its opinion on the future of the peacekeeping operation. Russia will be guided by its opinion in the UN Security Council.
We believe that early resumption of the talks on a final settlement of the Cyprus issue would make it possible to create a constructive atmosphere that is essential for finding a compromise, including for the problem of opening the district of Varosha in Famagusta.
As a permanent member of the UN Security Council, the Russian Federation is fully committed to the approaches of resolving this problem, which are fixed in UN resolutions. We are ready to render the necessary assistance to the negotiating parties.
We exchanged opinions on the situation in the Eastern Mediterranean. Russia considers any steps that are fraught with the further escalation of tensions unacceptable. We have repeatedly urged the governments of the region’s states to overcome any arising disputes only through dialogue based on international law.
We would be willing to facilitate the development of neighbourly relations between these countries, if, of course, we are asked to do so by the countries concerned.
In conclusion, I would like to say that we are very pleased with the results of the talks. I invited my colleague to make another visit to the Russian Federation.
I hope that today will further promote our partnership.