Lavrov discussed with the Foreign Minister of Cyprus the situation in the Eastern Mediterranean

On the initiative of the Cypriot side, a telephone conversation took place between Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Cyprus Nikos Khristodulidis, the Russian Foreign Ministry said.

Lavrov discussed with the Foreign Minister of Cyprus the situation in the Eastern Mediterranean

“A detailed exchange of views took place on the situation in the Eastern Mediterranean. Particular attention was paid to the tasks of promoting a Cyprus settlement, including the role of the UN in this process”, – the Foreign Ministry website said.

In addition, a review of the bilateral agenda was conducted. Joint activities have been outlined in the context of the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the Russian Federation and the Republic of Cyprus this year. Steps to speed up the preparation of a number of bilateral documents were agreed.

Cyprus has de facto remained divided since 1974, when Turkish forces invaded northern Cyprus and occupied 37% of the country’s territory. The pretext for the invasion was an attempted coup in Cyprus on July 15, 1974 with the participation of the Greek military. Despite a number of the UN Security Council resolutions, part of the island remains occupied, and the settlement process has been interrupted several times.

In addition, tensions in Greek-Turkish relations have been growing in recent months. The latest example was the publication in the Turkish government newspaper of the Turkish Petroleum Corporation (TPAO) applications for research in the Greek continental shelf. The Greek National Security Advisor to the Prime Minister of Greece, and then the Greek Minister of National Defense, Nikos Panayotopoulos, have announced in recent days that they are ready, if necessary, to give a military response to Turkey.

At the end of November 2019, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the head of the Government of National Accord (GNA) of Libya, Fayez Sarraj, who controls only part of the country, signed memoranda of cooperation in the military sphere and of mutual understanding regarding maritime zones. Greece believes that Turkey is trying to appropriate a significant part of the Greek Exclusive Economic Zone, and calls these agreements illegal.

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