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Government warns media over anti-Russian comments

Government spokesman Nicos Christodoulides


The government has dismissed recent media reports claiming that Russia was working against a settlement, with President Nicos Anastasiades sending a message to media outlets to refrain from making what was described as false assessments.

In statements to state broadcaster CyBC on Friday night, government spokesman Nicos Christodoulides said that Cyprus maintains good relations with Russia.

A series of articles in the media this week have questioned Russia’s objectives in the ongoing negotiations to reach a settlement to the Cyprus problem which were sparked by a report published last week by Politico Europe. Under the title “Cyprus fears Russia could wreck reunification” the article said that there was “a growing fear that Russia could spoil a deal” for its own geo-political reasons. It also cited an unnamed source “close to the government of Nicos Anastasiades” as saying that the government is “aware of Russian activities and monitoring the situation”

Christodoulides said he had a meeting on Friday with the Russian ambassador to Cyprus, Stanislav Osadchiy, where they discussed these media reports. Politico’s article also mentioned Osadchiy saying that he had been criticised on the island for sending mixed messages about his government’s position on reunification.

The spokesman conveyed Anastasiades’ message to the media warning them to be especially careful when making public statements that “do not correspond to reality”.

He added that Russia and Cyprus maintain good relations.

Christodoulides’ comments follow complaints by the Russian government on Thursday that it was “surprised” by reports in the Cypriot media regarding the ongoing settlement talks.

In back-to-back tweets, Russian foreign ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova appeared to be conveying her government’s dissatisfaction at being left out of the process.

“Anti-Russia insinuations are a smokescreen for the real problems that need to be tackled as part of the Cypriot settlement,” Zakharova had tweeted.

The Politico article had also prompted an angry denial by Russian ambassador to the EU Vladimir Chizhov, who claimed that attempts to shift the blame for the failure of the talks at the Geneva summit were “both unfair and misleading.”

“Anti-Russian hysteria is becoming contagious,” Chizhov wrote.

In his comments to CyBC, Christodoulides also referred to the relations between Cyprus and the new US administration after Donald Trump’s inauguration on Friday.

He said that the US would continue to support the settlement talks, and that following a number of contacts so far, it emerged that the new US government wished to further strengthen bilateral relations with Cyprus at all levels, especially on security issues.

There would be bilateral meetings between Cyprus and the US, both at technocratic and at political level soon, he said.



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