Cyprus MFA is looking into the reports for Russian presence in occupied areas

The Cyprus Ministry of Foreign Affairs is looking into reports concerning a possible Russian presence in the Turkish-occupied areas of Cyprus Republic for the provision of consular assistance, the Ministry’s Spokesman, Theodoros Gotsis, has told CNA.

The investigation is being carried out in Nicosia but also by the Embassy of the Republic of Cyprus in Moscow, he added.

Russian news agency TASS reported on Wednesday, quoting a diplomat from the country’s Embassy in the Republic of Cyprus, that they will start providing soon consular services for Russian citizens living in the “northern part of Cyprus”, as it referred to the areas of the Republic of Cyprus which are occupied by the Turkish army since 1974.

The Russian official noted that other countries like the USA, UK, Germany, Italy and France are providing similar consulate services in the non-government controlled areas of the Republic of Cyprus.

TASS also quoted Russian Ambassador to the Republic of Cyprus Murat Zyazikov, saying that the decision “is long overdue; it has no political overtones,” and was “prompted solely by humanitarian considerations.”

Speaking about Russia’s approach to the Cyprus issue, the Ambassador told TASS that “it remains unchanged.” As TASS reports, Zyazikov emphasized that Russia “continues to adhere to a fundamental position, consistently advocating for a comprehensive, viable and fair settlement within the well-known international legal framework enshrined in [the relevant] UN Security Council resolutions.”

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 latest round of negotiations, in July 2017 at the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana ended inconclusively.