Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s remarks at a joint news conference following talks with Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Cyprus Nikos Christodoulides, Moscow, February 22, 2019
Ladies and gentlemen,
We have held good, detailed and candid talks with my colleague, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Cyprus Nikos Christodoulides.
Cyprus is Russia’s important and long-time partner in Europe. Our cooperation hinges on long-standing bonds of friendship and mutual sympathy, the spiritual and cultural affinity of our nations and serves to enhance security and stability in the East Mediterranean region and on the entire European continent.
We discussed a wide range of bilateral issues in great detail and focused on the implementation of top-level agreements reached during the visit of President of the Republic of Cyprus Nicos Anastasiades to the Russian Federation just over a year ago. We were satisfied to note positive trends in all areas of bilateral cooperation, including the economy, as well as cultural, humanitarian and educational ties. We agreed to speed up the coordination of a number of draft documents that are called on to enhance and strengthen our contractual-legal framework.
We compared our positions on all topical matters of international and regional agendas. We agreed to continue our close coordination at multilateral venues, primarily the UN and the OSCE.
We devoted much attention to the Cypriot peace settlement. Russia reaffirms its commitment to a comprehensive, equitable, long-lasting and viable solution to this problem. We believe that it is necessary to resume inter-community talks in line with the available resolutions of the UN Security Council, which can issue new decisions to approve any changes in the talks’ fundamental principles. Obviously, the current system of the island’s external security guarantees no longer meets modern realities and the Republic’s current international legal status. We firmly believe that the UN Security Council’s guarantees should become the most effective method for maintaining the security, sovereignty and territorial integrity of a united Cyprus. Today, we see no reasons for modifying the UN armed forces’ mandate in Cyprus, and we urge the concerned parties not to exploit this issue.
We exchanged views on the current status of relations between Russia and the European Union. We appreciate the constructive position of Cyprus in favour of normalising these relations, as well as the position of our Cypriot colleagues in favour of overcoming crises at the Council of Europe by reinstating fundamental principles of this organisation’s Statute, which states that all Council of Europe members enjoy equal rights at every CE body.
As usual, we also discussed with our Cypriot friends the most topical matters on the international agenda, including Syria and Ukraine. We believe that both of these crises must be resolved in full compliance with the UN Security Council’s resolutions, including Resolution 2254 on Syria and Resolution 2202 on Ukraine, which unanimously approved the Minsk Agreements and called for unfailing compliance with them.
In conclusion, my colleague, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Cyprus Nikos Christodoulides, invited me to visit Cyprus once again. I accept this invitation with pleasure.