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Russia pledges to continue playing important role in Cyprus
2006-01-23 12:39:59

by Maria Antouna

Moscow, Jan 23 (CNA) – Russia has always played a significant role in Cyprus and will continue to play a role in the future, within the framework of institutions created within the framework of the UN, pledged here Monday President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin during the start of his meeting with Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos.

On his part, the Cypriot President thanked Putin for Russia’s support over the decades, because it has proved a firm supporter to the Cyprus cause at the UN, during bilateral relations and all international fora.

President Putin congratulated his Cypriot counterpart for presenting him the award of the International Fund for the Unity of Orthodox Christian Nations, during a ceremony by Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Alexiy II, noting the traditionally high level of relations between Russia and Cyprus.

Putin said that “we must think of ways to further mobilize the two countries’ intergovernmental cooperation committee”.

After Cyprus’ accession to the EU, said Putin, “we have managed in a very short period of time, to create the conditions for making easier granting visas to Russians who visit Cyprus”, noting that these visas mainly concern diplomats.

However, said Putin, this gives us the possibility and push to intensify our efforts so that these visas will be expanded and will cover a wider range of nationals. The Cypriot side, said Putin, is interested for this purpose, bearing in mind the big number of tourists from Russia to Cyprus.

On his part, President Papadopoulos thanked Putin for his congratulations, noting the award he was presented “reflects the Cypriot Hellenism efforts for understanding and cooperation with the peoples’ of the region and with orthodox people”.

“For this reason, I accept the award because, first of all, it comes from an excellent clergyman, Patriarch Alexiy II and second, because I understand the significance the Russian government attaches to the functioning of the church and the unity of orthodox churches”, the President added.

President Papadopoulos said the difficulties in securing visas were not the product or desire of the Republic of Cyprus but because there were orders by the EU and surely Russian citizens feel that they undergo restrictions where there were none before.

President Papadopoulos said he was pleased with the agreement last week in abolishing visas for diplomats noting the Cyprus government has made every effort to simplify procedures.

The President concludes his working visit to Moscow on Tuesday.

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