Russia assures of its active role on Cyprus
by Christa Nicolaou
Athens, Apr 22 (CNA) -- Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation Vladimir Chizov assured today that Russia as a permanent member of the UN Security Council will continue to be active as concerns the Cyprus problem and will do its utmost to contribute to a just and viable solution of the Cyprus problem, based on the UN resolutions and the legitimate interests of all Cypriots.
Speaking after a meeting he had in Athens with Greek Deputy Foreign Minister Yiannis Valinakis, Chizov said that the solution plan proposed by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan can be the basis of further talks and noted that any settlement must be agreed by the two sides, not imposed, in order to be viable and permanent.
Replying to a question, Chizov said ''the latest elections in the Turkish Cypriot community gave the power to (Mehmet Ali) Talat, who during the pre-election period set as his goal the promotion of a Cyprus settlement.''
''We hope that by implementing this goal he will activate the position of his community and this will facilitate progress in the Cyprus problem,'' he added.
Asked if there are prospects for a new initiative for Cyprus after the voting in the occupied areas, the Russian diplomat noted that ''for the moment we are in a phase in which both sides in Cyprus are considering how and when it is better to resume talks.''
''Russia thinks that the Annan plan, which is on the negotiating table, can be the basis of further talks,'' Chizov said, noting however that the solution must be agreed voluntarily by both sides in order to be viable.
''Any solution imposed on one or the other community will not be a permanent settlement of the Cyprus problem. The history of other countries, and of Cyprus as well, have proved that,'' he added.
He assured that ''Russia as a permanent member of the UN Security Council will continue to be active as regards the Cyprus problem and will do its utmost to contribute to a just and viable settlement of the Cyprus problem, on the basis of the existing Security Council resolutions and taking into consideration the legitimate interests of all Cypriots, of Greek and Turkish origin.''
Valinakis said he briefed Chizov on the Cyprus question, noting that ''Russia's interest and steadfast policy of principles on this issue are well-known.''
Asked if Athens thinks that prospects for new initiatives on Cyprus are better now after the change of the Turkish Cypriot leadership, Valinakis said that ''the alienation of Turkish Cypriots from intransigent voices of the past can be described as positive.''
''Whether it is indeed positive will depend surely on the development of events,'' he added.
He expressed hope that ''there will be a positive activity on the part of Turkish Cypriots,'' noting that ''we will wait for actions.''