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Russian FM: Cyprus solution must not be imposed
2005-06-08 10:38:32

Nicosia, Jun 8 (CNA) -- Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has said that a political settlement in Cyprus must come from the island's two communities and must not be imposed from outside, expressing at the same time full support for the UN Secretary General's good offices mission and the latest attempt to resume negotiations.

Speaking after talks here with his Cypriot counterpart George Iacovou, he also said he wanted bilateral trade and economic relations enhanced through increased investment, joint ventures and a legal framework that would promote such ties and welcomed the signing of two cooperation agreements as a step towards this direction.

In his remarks, Iacovou said the government wanted to see Moscow assume a serious role in the political developments on the island, corresponding to that of other permanent members of the UN Security Council.

''We support the reactivation of Kofi Annan's good offices mission and we hope that talks will resume, within the framework set out by the Security Council. A solution must be accepted by both sides in Cyprus and must not be imposed from the outside,'' The Russian minister stressed.

He said it was agreed to continue the existing ''excellent'', as he described it, cooperation at international fora.

Responding to questions about Moscow's role in the question of Cyprus, Lavrov said Russia had always backed a very important principle, that a viable solution can only be achieved if it comes from the two sides.

''We believe that all developments have confirmed that our position is correct,'' he noted, adding that the five permanent members of the Security Council has a specific mechanism to facilitate the Cyprus peace effort and Annan should be aware of this.

He pointed out that the absence of regular statements by Moscow on the issue does not signify a reduced role on the part of Russia.

On Annan's view that the time is not ripe to appoint a full time envoy on Cyprus, Lavrov said the UN Secretariat and Annan attach great importance to the resolution of the question of Cyprus and such an appointment was of secondary significance.

''First we have to promote dialogue and the two sides have to find mutually accepted solutions,'' he added.

The Russian FM said he discussed with President Tassos Papadopoulos and the Foreign Minister ways to enhance and upgrade cooperation in trade and the economic sector, adding that the intergovernmental agreements signed today would contribute towards this direction.

On moves by Russian tourist agents to do business in Cyprus' Turkish occupied areas, he said the government long standing position is that Security Council decisions and resolutions must be respected but warned that the government cannot give full assurances that some people may not adhere to this view.

Speaking to the press, Iacovou referred to ''very successful talks'' and thanked most sincerely Lavrov for the support Moscow extends to Cyprus and the continuing cooperation.

He said bilateral ties, international concerns, UN reform were also on the agenda of the talks, adding that both countries wish to see our relations develop further, especially in the economic and trade sectors, where there are some problems.

''We both want the Russian Federation to play a serious role in developments in Cyprus as a permanent member of the Security Council, the same way as other permanent members have done in the past,'' Iacovou said.

He said he was ''utterly convinced'' that Moscow and Lavrov would continue to support Cyprus' positions.

Later on Lavrov met with House o Representatives President Demetris Christofias.

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