Nicosia, November 30, 2015/Independent Balkan News Agency
By Kyriacos Kyriacou
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has expressed his country`s gratitude towards Nicosia`s position of principles after the downing of a Russian jet by Turkey on the 24th of November.
In an interview to the Cyprus News Agency ahead of his visit to Cyprus on the 2nd of December, the Russian Foreign Minister said that in order to achieve a stabilisation in Syria, terrorist groups must first be eliminated and noted that no attempts to stop this, including `stabs in the back` will force Russia to abandon this basic position.
“We are grateful for the position of principles expressed – in relation to the attack against our aircraft – by the government of the Republic of Cyprus, which knows very well the provocative and hypocritical policy which Ankara follows”, Lavrov underlined.
Noting that only the Syrian people can determine the fate of their country, he urged the international community not to impose on the people of Syria any leaders or forms of governance.
Referring to his visit to Cyprus, he said he looks forward to a series of constructive meetings on a wide range of issues, bilateral and international, as well as the assessment of the implementation process of the issues agreed between the Presidents of the two countries. Lavrov expressed certainty that the outcome of his meetings will contribute to the further development of the bilateral relations and to the strengthening of trust in the European continent.
Referring to the Cyprus issue, he reiterated Russia`s stance for a viable and just solution, based on the relevant UN Security Council decisions, with full respect of the interests of the two communities on the island.
He also expressed hope that the two communities in Cyprus will show readiness to make compromises, bearing in mind their mutual concerns.
“We welcome the resumption of the inter-communal talks in May this year and we follow closely the process of the Cyprus talks. There are for now many issues on which the two sides cannot reach an agreement. It is obvious that there are no easy solutions. We hope that the two communities will show their willingness for compromises bearing in mind the mutual concerns”, he stressed.
The Russian FM pointed out that in the past, in an attempt to speed up the Cyprus process, the interests of the people of Cyprus were not being met and that led to results contrary to the expected ones.
Lavrov said that Russia believes that the people of Cyprus must find their own way towards a solution and come to mutually acceptable solutions, without pressure or interventions from abroad and without timeframes.
Russia, he said, being a permanent UNSC state, will continue contributing to the creation of the necessary conditions that would lead to a solution of the problem.
During his visit to Cyprus, Lavrov will be received by President of the Republic Nicos Anastasiades and hold separate meetings with President of the House of Representatives Yiannakis Omirou, Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides and Archbishop of the Church of Cyprus Chrysostomos II.
Lavrov pointed out that this year marks the 55th anniversary of the diplomatic relations between the Russian Federation and the Republic of Cyprus and recalled Russian President Vladimir Putin`s statement that their relations have always been friendly and mutually beneficial.
He recalled that during President Anastasiades` visit to Russia in February this year the two Presidents had determined ways to further enhance their cooperation.
Russia, he said, very much appreciates Nicosia`s willingness to help normalize the relations between Russia and the EU.
Referring to terrorism, he said that recent terrorist attacks – against a Russian airplane, against innocent people in France, in Iraq, Turkey, Lebanon and Egypt – show the rise of the threat of international terrorism `which constitutes a challenge to the whole modern civilisation`.
“We are convinced that the international community must finally join forces and create a broad anti-terrorist front on a comprehensive international legal basis”, he told, recalling that the Russian President had referred to this urgency when he addressed the 70th UN General Assembly.
The most important component for a successful effort in this direction would be for some to give up their policy of `double standards` and the separation of terrorists into “good” and “not so good” terrorists, he stressed.
Lavrov told CNA that Russia is determined to promote its positions before the UNSC and seek the continuation of the work on the Russian draft resolution submitted on the 30th of September. This draft resolution, he pointed out, constitutes the necessary basis for the coordination of the international efforts to address the threat of terrorism that we are all facing.
What is of great importance right now, he added, “is to implement the decisions taken to end any form of support and assistance to terrorists either through the illegal trafficking of oil, people, cultural objects, arms shipment, the movement of terrorists, etc”.
The Russian Foreign Minister said that `the current disastrous situation in the Middle East and Northern Africa is a result of the weakening or the destruction – among others due to the external factors – of state institutions in many Arab countries`.
It is necessary, he pointed out, to activate the efforts to reach political settlements and offer to the countries of the region the necessary support to recover their societies and their economies by showing full respect for the sovereignty of those countries.
Russia, Lavrov told CNA, since the beginning of the conflict in Syria, was insisting on the immediate termination of the bloodshed and the preservation of Syria as a unified, independent and sovereign secular state.
In addition, Lavrov said that Russia participated actively in the adoption of the Geneva Communiqué on the 30th of June 2012 and expressed conviction that its timely implementation would prevent further deterioration of the crisis.
“We continue to believe that only the people of Syria can determine the fate of their country. The international community is urged to help towards this direction and not impose on them forms of governance and leaders”, he stressed.
In relation to the above, Lavrov said that Russia expresses satisfaction for the fact that the final statements at the meetings of the international “Syrian Support Group” in Vienna on October 30 and November 14 confirmed the support of the basic principles of a political settlement in the country, including the protection of all ethnic and religious groups and ensuring an interim political period, which will be implemented under the guidance and upon the initiative of Syrians themselves on the basis of the Geneva Communique, without any preconditions.
In his interview, Lavrov stressed the importance of the reference – in the aforementioned documents – that only the people of Syria are entitled to determine the future of their country.
Lavrov said that it is obvious that a lasting stabilisation of the situation in Syria is impossible without the elimination of the terrorist groups in the country.
Within this framework, he added, the Russian air and space forces, in consultation with the leadership of Syria, continue their operation, which aims to clear the Syrian ground from ISIS terrorists and other terrorist groups.
“No attempt to terminate this process, including stabs in the back – and by that I mean the attack of the Turkish air force against the Russian fighter plane in Syrian airspace on November 24th – will force us to abandon this basic principle, which we consider to be as the only correct and necessary one”, he said.
The Russian Foreign Minister said that it is indicative that the `planned Turkish provocation` took place at the very moment we saw the ability to create a broad international coalition to combat ISIS and other terrorist groups in Syria, and the destruction of the relations of terrorists with their external accomplices and supporters.