Cyprus Mail
Cyprus

Christofias ‘angered and upset’ by Russian move

By Jean Christou
Former President Demetris Christofias was yesterday ‘angered and upset’ that a Russian Federal Council (FC) member had implied that he had blamed Cyprus’ deposits haircut on American interference.

Christofias, through AKEL senior official Stefanos Stefanou, his former government spokesman, was responding to a report carried by Russian news agency ITAR-TASS that the International Affairs Committee of the Russian Federation Council was going to not only boycott relations with the US, but also stop cooperation with a Cyprus parliament working group.

The FC is the upper house of the Federal Assembly of Russia – its parliament.

Citing the Izvestia daily, ITAR-TASS said the FC’s International Affairs Committee had refused to attend a meeting of the US-Russia Business Council due to the sanctions the West imposed on Russia over Ukraine.

The FC members had also proposed suspending active work in EU countries that had “the most aggressive attitude to Moscow and Russians”, the newspaper said.

“The Federation Council members also proposed not creating the working group on parliamentary cooperation with the parliament of Cyprus,” the newspaper said.
Izvestia quotes FC member Igor Morozov as saying: “The Central Bank of Cyprus under American pressure has made an emission of €1 billion on the extremely unfavourable terms for Russian businessmen that switched to it from the collapsed Laiki Bank: instead of 84 per cent, they got 18 per cent. All the steps are unfriendly.”

A week ago, Morozov said, Russian businessmen met with Cyprus’ former president “who explained the actions of official [Cypriot] authorities” on the deposits haircut had been due to US pressure, he added. Although Christofias was not mentioned by name, Cyprus currently only has one other former President: George Vassiliou, and clearly Christofias believed they were referring to him.

Deputies from the two main parties, ruling DISY and opposition AKEL were flummoxed over the article. Stefanou said he was unaware of any such move by the FC against the Cyprus parliament. Later after consulting Christofias, Stefanou told the Cyprus Mail that Christofias was “very upset”. “He said he didn’t meet any Russian businessmen last week or last month,” said Stefanou. “His is very angry because he did not do any such thing”.

DISY spokesman Prodromos Prodromou said: “This is the first time I’m hearing this”, referring to the initial article. He said he would look into the report before responding. House Speaker Yiannakis Omirou could not be reached for comment.

Head of the Institute for Political Studies Sergey Markov told Izvestia that refusing to maintain contact with the US at parliamentary level was the right move. He did not mention Cyprus but added: “Russia should take a break now and hold dialogue only with the countries, with which cooperation is possible.”

Cyprus, like all EU countries, has been affected by Western sanctions on Russia, and Moscow’s retaliatory embargo on goods from the West. However, at a government level, relations appeared fine last week when President Nicos Anastasiades met Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York.

 

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