President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr President, colleagues,
President of the Republic of Cyprus Nicos Anastasiades and I have just concluded extensive and substantive talks. There was a detailed exchange of views across the entire range of Russia-Cyprus relations and important international and regional problems. We have outlined ways to further develop our mutually beneficial partnership across various areas.
Our countries are historically linked by close and friendly relations, and Cyprus has become our important and promising partner. We appreciate the aspirations of our Cypriot friends and President Anastasiades, and we appreciate his desire to strengthen our close and multifaceted cooperation.
This cooperation is marked by high intensity at all levels. Russia and Cyprus have signed over 40 intergovernmental and interdepartmental agreements. A number of new important documents were signed today. Among them I will, of course, highlight the Joint Programme of Action for 2018–2020, which outlines a variety of steps to further build up bilateral ties.
We paid particular attention today to the economic aspects of Russia-Cyprus interaction. The unfavourable international situation and external constraints caused by political factors have been marring the trade dynamics in the past three years. However, thanks to our joint efforts, bilateral trade was up 36 percent during the first eight months of this year.
We agreed to promote cooperation in the field of innovation, energy efficiency, medicine and pharmaceuticals, and discussed possible supplies of Russian aircraft and shipbuilding products.
We attach great importance to direct contacts between members of our business community. The island of Cyprus is home to branches of major Russian banks such as VTB, Promsvyazbank, and Gazprombank. Together they perform the full range of investment and financial transactions.
Prospects in the sphere of defence industry cooperation are good as well.
Cultural and humanitarian contacts are traditionally a priority area in Russia-Cyprus relations. The President and I have talked about expanding this cooperation.
I know that Cyprus has always attached great importance to study of the Russian language. I hope that our friends will continue to foster school and college students’ interest in studying Russian in Cyprus.
Cyprus is one of our most popular tourist destinations. Last year, over 800,000 Russian citizens visited the island and in the first nine months of this year, this number already exceeded 700,000.
Naturally, topical issues on the European and global agenda were also addressed during the meeting.
I reaffirmed to the President Russia’s principled position in favour of a comprehensive and just settlement in Cyprus based on UN Security Council resolutions and the agreements between the Cyprus parties. We consider it important that the final decision be made by the Cypriots themselves, without outside interference and the imposition of ready-made prescriptions.
Cyprus is close to the Middle East. I brought the President up to date on our efforts in fighting terrorism in Syria.
We talked about the need to restore the Christian presence in this part of the world. We also discussed the need to restore communities and normal dialogue between them.
I also briefed the President on the situation that is developing within the framework of the Minsk process to achieve a settlement in southeastern Ukraine.
In conclusion, I would like to express my gratitude to you, Mr President, and to all our Cypriot friends for today’s substantive and constructive dialogue.
President of the Republic of Cyprus Nicos Anastasiades (re-translated): I would like to express my special satisfaction with the constructive nature of today's meeting and note that this is my third visit to Moscow and the second meeting at the top level since I have become president. I would like to express special gratitude for the invitation and hospitality extended personally to me and members of my delegation.
Just like last time, in 2015, our discussions today were very constructive and creative. We would like to note that the current contacts prove the importance of Cyprus for Russia and the importance of deepening and expanding our relations across all areas.
There is no need to repeat that Cyprus and Russia are connected by many years of relations based on cooperation and affinity in the cultural and political spheres. Common cultural, religious, spiritual, and civilisational values strengthen our dialogue both in the economy, politics, and trade.
The issues that we discussed today during our candid dialogue included both the Cyprus issue and bilateral relations in their entirety, the relations between the European Union and the Russian Federation, a number of regional and international matters, including Ukraine and the role of the European Union in this matter, as well as a serious issue such as the crisis on the Korean Peninsula and in Syria.
With regard to the Cyprus issue, we have once again expressed the gratitude of the people of Cyprus and the Cypriot leadership for the continued and principled position of support from the Russian Federation, including within the UN Security Council, in favour of reaching a solution to the Cyprus issue. These principles are based on the principles of international law, as well as relevant resolutions adopted by the UN Security Council on the Cyprus issue.
Regarding the Cyprus problem. We noted that we are ready for dialogue on the domestic aspects of this problem. As for guarantees, I pointed out that this requires thorough preparations for relevant meetings both with the participation of the UN Secretary-General and within the framework of the UN Security Council with the participation of all five permanent members of the Security Council. I therefore updated the President on the latest developments on the Cyprus issue.
The signing of five new documents, agreements related to various spheres of our cooperation, will help expand and deepen this cooperation in all these spheres. For your information, I would like to add that 67 various agreements have been signed between our countries, including 19 that were drafted and signed in the past five years.
As stated earlier, the President and I discussed the relations between the European Union and Russia, noting that it is necessary to normalise and advance them for the common good. I would like to stress that in our conversations and discussions with our partners in Brussels, we have always called for a pragmatic approach toward our relations, which is necessary to deal with serious problems such as fighting terrorism, as well as various regional issues.
Regarding international issues, we talked about the need to implement the Minsk agreements and the Normandy format and also addressed such serious problems as Syria, North Korea and denuclearisation, noting that these problems can only be dealt with through dialogue. We also talked about the role of Cyprus and the role that Cyprus can play in the region, taking advantage of its position given the situation prevailing now.
I would like to say that I am particularly pleased with the atmosphere and warmth of the dialogue with President Putin, as well as the understanding that we achieved in addressing various problems. Therefore, Mr President, I would like once again to express my very warm gratitude for the invitation to come to Moscow and for the hospitality that has been accorded to me, my wife and the entire delegation.
I hope that I will have an opportunity to return your hospitality and show warmth on my own behalf and on behalf of the entire people of Cyprus, hosting you in my country, Cyprus.