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Cyprus

Anastasiades meets Putin, both laud bilateral relations

Russian President Vladimir Putin shakes hands with President Nicos Anastasiades during their meeting at the Second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation (BRF) in Beijing

President Nicos Anastasiades on Friday said during a meeting with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, that the excellent relations between Russia and Turkey could help efforts for the settlement of the Cyprus problem.

The two heads of state had a meeting on Friday on the sidelines of the Belt and Road Forum in taking place in Beijing in China.

Putin said that the Cyprus – Russia relations “are based on mutual respect. We have an amazing dialogue and we are always in contact, we have good economic relations.”

The Russian president said that trade between the two countries had increased by 154 per cent and that there was an intergovernmental committee on the issue.

Stressing the fact that there was considerable investment between the two countries, Putin said that more emphasis should be placed on direct contacts between Cypriot and Russian businessmen.

“We all understand that this is a return of Russian funds, “Putin said, adding: “I do not know other countries that have such investments. Surely our relationships grow positively.”

He said it was a great pleasure meeting Anastasiades.

Anastasiades too said that he was pleased they had the opportunity to meet.

“There is no doubt that Russia, and that is why we are grateful, has supported us over the years either on the political level, either financially or with investment or with the loan at critical times when we needed it,” he said.

He was referring to the €2.5bn loan Russia gave Cyprus in 2013 during the banking crisis. Cyprus tapped the markets successfully this week to raise the €1.6bn balance on the loan.

But equally as important, Anastasiades said, was military assistance “when others refused to sell us some defence systems for the basic defence of the Republic.”

Anastasiades said that the most important thing for him was Russia’s firm stance on the Cyprus problem.

“Knowing the excellent relations that are being forged with Turkey – which we do not mind – I think Turkey’s intervention in the efforts made to solve the Cyprus problem could be more effective,” Anastasiades said.

He also gave reassurances that Cyprus remains a reliable and stable friend of Russia on principled matters, both within the European Union and in any other forums or contacts.

“I attach great importance to close cooperation, particularly to honest cooperation between us,” he said.

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