Putin promised to intervene with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan to defuse the crisis

290
epa06286702 Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) and President of Cyprus Nicos Anastasiades (L) talk during a signing ceremony following their meeting in the Kremlin, in Moscow, Russia, 24 October 2017. Nicos Anastasiades arrived in Russia on a working visit at the invitation of the Russian President. EPA-EFE/SERGEI CHIRIKOV / POOL

President Nicos Anastasiades on Thursday asked his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin to intervene and persuade Turkey to end its illegal activities in Cyprus’ EEZ.

Putin promised to intervene with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan to defuse the crisis, but also to engage in a creative dialogue to resolve the Cyprus problem, a readout from the presidential palace said.

According to government spokesman Kyriakos Kousios, during a 45-minute phone call with Putin, Anastasiades briefed the Russian president on Turkey’s latest activities , including the issuance of a Navtext for exploration within Cyprus’ EEZ until August 2, as well as the presence of the Turkish research vessel Barbaros, which entered the EEZ Thursday morning.

“Such actions, he stressed, intensify the already tense situation and do not contribute to creating a good climate for the continuation of negotiations for a comprehensive solution to the Cyprus problem, which, as the president stressed, is our priority,” said Kousios.

“At the same time, he reaffirmed our firm commitment to resolving the Cyprus problem by continuing talks on the basis of UN resolutions.”

Anastasiades also explained to Putin that Turkey’s position that it is acting to protect the rights of the Turkish Cypriot community was unfounded. He said Turkey disputes and claims 44 per cent of Cyprus’ EEZ “which clearly affects the rights of the Turkish Cypriot community”.

Kousios said the president also explained that the Greek Cypriot side had secured the rights of the Turkish Cypriot community as regards hydrocarbons with relevant legislation, “but also with proposals of the President of the Republic himself”.

“The president also referred to the issue of Famagusta and the threats of Turkey for opening and settlement of the enclosed city in violation of the relevant UN resolutions and called for the intervention of the Russian president, considering that such an intervention would be catalytic and would have immediate results,” the spokesman added. “

Kousios said Anastasiades also thanked Putin for Russia’s long-standing support

According to the spokesman, Putin assured “he is following with great concern the situation in the Eastern Mediterranean and what is happening in the EEZ of the Republic of Cyprus, emphasising that Russia is always in favour of resolving the various negotiating instruments on the basis of the principles of international law”.

He also said, according to Kousios, that he was satisfied with Anastasiades willingness to restart the negotiations, as well as the proposals for protection of the rights of the Turkish Cypriots and promised to convey it to Erdogan.

In addition, the Russian President expressed the hope that the Cyprus-Russia air connection will be reactivated, the spokesman said.

Putin also said that as this year was the 60th anniversary of the founding of the Cyprus Republic, a series of events would be held in Russia to mark the occasion.

The Russian president also referred to the loss of trade between Cyprus and Russia due to the pandemic, saying there had been a significant reduction during the first four months of the year.  He suggested the convening of a  meeting of the Russia-Cyprus Intergovernmental Commission for Economic Cooperation as soon as possible and asked Anastasiades to appoint a Cypriot co-chair.

Russia is currently in Cyprus’ category C list of countries from which travel to the island is not allowed. The Russian market is the island’s second-biggest in terms of tourist arrivals.