By Jean Christou
Draconian security measures are being taken by the police for separate visits this week by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and his US counterpart John Kerry.
In an announcement on Monday police said increased security would be taken as of Tuesday both in Nicosia and Larnaca for the Lavrov visit, warning that some roads would be closed off. Details of the routes have not been released for security reasons but police called on the public to follow the instructions of officers on the streets, and urged patience.
Citing police sources, the Cyprus News Agency said all security services were being mobilised for the visits of both foreign officials and a special coordination centre would operate while they were on the island.
Lavrov will be holding meetings on Wednesday and Kerry on Thursday. Cyprus has already upped security after the Paris attacks two weeks ago with a more visible presence of armed officers on the streets.
Lavrov will be received by both the president and the foreign minister. He will also meet the House president, and Archbishop Chrysostomos. As already announced, he will not be meeting the Turkish Cypriot leader who refused to attend a lunch in the buffer zone because Lavrov had declined to cross to the north.
Lavrov’s discussions in Cyprus are to focus on relations between Russia and the EU, the Cyprus issue, and the situation in Syria and the Middle East. In an interview with the CNA on Monday, Lavrov expressed the hope that the two communities in Cyprus would 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,” Lavrov said.
The Russian foreign minister said he was looking forward to a series of constructive meetings and expressed certainty that the outcome of the meetings would contribute to the further development of bilateral relations and to the strengthening of trust.
Kerry arrives on Thursday. According to an announcement from the US state department he “will meet with senior Cypriot officials. He will also meet with Greek and Turkish Cypriot leaders.” On December 4 Kerry travels on to Athens.
By Jean Christou