Russia favors a just, viable, and comprehensive settlement to the Cyprus issue that complies with international law, Moscow said Thursday.
"We reaffirmed Russia's principled position in favor of achieving a just, viable, and comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem within the existing international legal framework," Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told reporters in Moscow after a meeting with Nikos Christodoulides, the foreign minister of the Greek Cypriot administration.
On the recent partial reopening of the once-abandoned city of Varosha (Maraş) by the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), Lavrov said Russia saw these steps as "unilateral" and "unacceptable."
He underlined that there was no alternative but to resume negotiations to restore an atmosphere of trust between the two communities on the island.
Addressing the situation in the Eastern Mediterranean, Lavrov stressed that all disagreements must be dealt with on the basis of international law.
For his part, Christodoulides said the Greek Cypriot administration appreciated Russia's open position on the Cyprus issue and its approach to resolving it.
Urging Moscow to play a greater role in the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) for the resumption of talks on Cyprus, he accused Turkey of "provocative actions" on Varosha and the Eastern Mediterranean.
Varosha was partially reopened to the public last year after being a "ghost town" since 1974, followed by additional steps last week.
It had been abandoned after a 1984 UNSC resolution saying that only its original inhabitants could resettle the town.
Entry into the town located in Northern Cyprus was forbidden except for Turkish army personnel stationed in the TRNC.
Cyprus has been mired in a decadeslong dispute between Greek and Turkish Cypriots, despite a series of diplomatic efforts by the U.N. to achieve a comprehensive settlement.
Ethnic attacks starting in the early 1960s forced Turkish Cypriots to withdraw into enclaves for their safety.
In 1974, a Greek Cypriot coup aimed at Greece's annexation led to Turkey's military intervention as a guarantor power to protect Turkish Cypriots from persecution and violence. As a result, the TRNC was founded in 1983.
It has seen an on-and-off peace process in recent years, including a failed 2017 initiative in Switzerland under the auspices of guarantor countries Turkey, Greece, and the United Kingdom.
The Greek Cypriot administration entered the EU in 2004, the same year Greek Cypriots thwarted the U.N.-led Annan plan to end the longstanding dispute.
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