This is not the time for “business as usual with Russia”, Marie Harf, the Deputy Spokesperson for the US Department of State has said, when asked to comment on the recent visit of President Nicos Anastasiades to Russia.
An almost identical comment was made by a British Foreign Office spokesman on Friday.
In her statement, Harf said the US had stressed to their European allies and partners the importance of unity and of pressing Russia to stop fueling the conflict in eastern Ukraine.
“That’s certainly something we feel very strongly about” she added.
Harf also commented on a controversial tweet by US Ambassador in Nicosia John Koenig whose posting on the Russia trip was perceived in Cyprus to link Anastasiades visit with the assassination of opposition Russian politician Boris Nemstov. The tweet caused a furore in Cyprus.
Koenig said his tweet had been misunderstood.
Commenting, Harf said: “The US embassy in Nicosia has clarified that the tweets were not meant to link two separate events”.
Asked why the US does not fire accusations at Turkey over the 1974 invasion in Cyprus, when they come down on Russia over Crimea, Harf added that the two should not be linked. “We obviously have been very clear about different kinds of events, and I’m not going to try and link them,” she said.
Earlier on Monday, Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides met Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland in Washington on Monday. A State Department official said that they discussed several issues of shared interest, including increased bilateral economic cooperation, support for Ukrainian sovereignty, and Coalition efforts to defeat ISIL.
Nuland also expressed the United States’ continued support for the Cyprus settlement process, conducted under the auspices of the UN, to reunify the island as a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation. (CNA)