Church lauds Russia support for Mid-East Christians
ARCHBISHOP Chrysostomos said the Church of Cyprus supported the position of Russia in its strikes against the Islamic State in Syria.
In statements after meeting Sergei Lavrov, Chrysostomos said he had thanked the Russian Foreign Minister for his country’s support on the Cyprus problem but also for its support for Christians in the Middle East.
“We love Muslims, have lived with them for centuries and want to continue but we condemn extremism and do not wish for the extremists to prevail,” he said. “I explained to him that we, the Christians, were the indigenous inhabitants of the Middle East. The Arabs came seven centuries later and it is unacceptable for the real inhabitants to leave and for the Muslims to stay,” he added.
“We support the position of the Russian government, because alas if the extremists prevail, minorities in the Middle East, in particular Christians will not be able to stay in the land of their fathers,” he added.
Lavrov was ready to meet Akinci
DURING statements at the foreign ministry, Sergei Lavrov was accused by a Turkish Cypriot journalist of only hearing a one side’s view Lavrov responded saying: “I can assure you that we are well aware of the positions of both communities and in New York in the framework of the UNSC we communicate with both of them.”
The Russian foreign minister had declined to cross to the north to meet Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci who had refused to meet him for a lunch with President Nicos Anastasiades in the buffer zone because Lavrov would not meet him in the north even though he would be having a meeting Anastasiades at the presidential palace. In the wake of the revelation last week, the Turkish Cypriot side said the Russians were not following the “principles of equality”. Lavrov said on Wednesday: “Unfortunately it [the meeting] was not arranged but we were ready to arrange such a meeting`.
Parties welcomes Russia’s Cyprob stance
POLITICAL parties all welcomed the visit of Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and expressed satisfaction with his statements on the Cyprus issue.
Communist AKEL, the main opposition party, said it would like to see Russia more involved in the Cyprus settlement efforts. Lavrov’s visit and that of US Secretary of State of State John Kerry on Thursday appeared to show increased movement on the Cyprus issue, the party said.
“Russia is a country that historically bases its position on principles and we believe that it can act as a safety valve in the discussions for a solution,” the party said.
The rejectionist parties all spoke about Russia’s “principled stance” on the Cyprus issue and said the government should pursue relations with Russia as a more reliable partner than the “Anglo-American axis” and its NATO friends “that are allies of Turkey”. Lavrov had also shown a principled stance on not crossing to the north to meet Akinci, they said.