Lavrov in Cyprus: U.S. involvement fuel tension in eastern Mediterranean

Sergey Lavrov

U.S. actions in the eastern Mediterranean “contribute to conflict” instead of helping peaceful solutions, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Tuesday during a visit in Cyprus.

“There are other issues which are a cause of concern to us in relation to the situation in the eastern Mediterranean … There are outside players, such as the USA, who try to draw lines and contribute to conflict instead of peaceful solutions,” Labrov said after a meeting with Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades.

Lavrov’s visit to Cyprus was considered by political analysts as important regarding ties between the eastern Mediterranean island and Russia, as it came after a period of rather strained relations between the two traditionally friendly states.

Lavrov also held talks with his Cypriot counterpart Nikos Christodoulides, during which they signed two agreements, one being the amended double taxation avoidance agreement and the other on issues to be discussed between the two sides.

Issues that came up in the talks included the long standing Cyprus issue and efforts to restart negotiations, stalled since 2017, for a solution reunifying the island, and Turkish actions relating to exploration for natural gas in the eastern Mediterranean, which have led to heightened tensions in the region.

Lavrov said the position of his country is that the Cyprus issue should be solved in line with United Nations resolutions, and expressed hope that the United Nations would be able to restart the negotiations as soon as possible.

“We watch the situation in the eastern Mediterranean regarding your relations with Turkey,” Lavrov told the Cypriot president, adding that compromise and dialogue were the only solutions.

“We are ready to offer any assistance in developing a real dialogue towards mutually accepted solution,” he added.

Lavrov also said that Russia was open to the development of the dialogue “with our Cypriot friends, on the bilateral agenda and international matters.”