Nicosia in consultations with Moscow over Russian presence in Turkish-occupied areas
Cyprus’ Foreign Ministry says that the Republic of Cyprus had in the past and continues to have consultations with the Russian Federation as regards the issue of a possible Russian presence in the Turkish-occupied areas of the Republic for the provision of consular assistance with a view to find ways to address such a possibility in a way that abides by the principles of international law and the relevant UN Security Council resolutions.
The Ministry notes in a press release that it is aware of press reports in relation to a possible Russian presence, as a temporary arrangement, in order to facilitate consular assistance to Russian citizens illegally residing in the Turkish occupied areas, in emergency cases.
Within this framework, the Ministry took note of a press release issued on Thursday by the Russian Embassy in Nicosia.
In view of the above, the Foreign Ministry looked into this issue in Nicosia, as well as at the level of the Cypriot Embassy in Moscow, the press release added.
The Russian Embassy in Cyprus said in a post on Facebook that the issue of consular protection and physical care of Russians living in the “north” – as it calls the Turkish-occupied areas of Cyprus – is of a purely administrative and technical nature, although with a strong humanitarian dimension. The Embassy adds that this does not affect the principled position of Russia regarding a settlement of the Cyprus issue.
The Embassy also notes that a significant number of Russians, which may reach several tens of thousands, live in the north of the island. “We will not delve into the circumstances of how they got there, but that is an objective, indisputable fact” it said, noting that they need consular assistance for a number of daily issues as well as for the protection of their legal interests.
The Embassy also notes that the issue “demanded a special approach so as to find optimal ways, of course, in close contact with the colleagues in the Republic of Cyprus”.
In addition, it stated that the consular dimension of Russia-Cyprus bilateral relations, “continues to occupy one of the central positions in the political dialogue between our countries”.
At the same time, the Embassy emphasized that the issue ” does in no way affect Russia’s principled position on the settlement of the Cyprus issue. Our approaches remain unchanged, they are based on the relevant Resolutions of the UN Security Council, including those no. 541 (1983) and no. 550 (1984)”.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37% of its territory.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. Repeated rounds of UN-led peace talks have so far failed to yield results. The UN Secretary-General invited all parties involved to attend an informal five-plus-one meeting on the Cyprus issue in Geneva, Switzerland, from 27 to 29 April 2021.