Russia FM in Cyprus as East Med crisis simmers

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Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will pay an official visit to Cyprus at a time of heated confrontation in the eastern Mediterranean while Washington pulls Nicosia closer.

Cyprus Foreign Ministers Nikos Christodoulides and Lavrov are expected to discuss bilateral relations, the Cyprus problem, the situation in the Eastern Mediterranean, relations between EU and Russia and other regional matters during their meeting on Tuesday, in Nicosia.

His visit comes after Washington partially lifted a 33-year arms embargo on Cyprus as part of its East Med Act which also calls on Nicosia not to facilitate Russian navy vessels at its ports.

Moscow argues that the US is trying to harm relations between Russia and Cyprus.

Tensions are also heated over Turkey’s energy search in the region where it has sent military ship inside Greece and Cyprus designated maritime borders.

Lavrov will be in Cyprus to mark 60 years since the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

He will also be received by Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades and House of Representatives speaker Demetris Syllouris.

During his visit, a consultations programme between the two Foreign Affairs Ministries for 2021 -2022 will be signed as well as a protocol amending the agreement on the avoidance of double taxation between Cyprus Finance Minister Constantinos Petrides and Russia’s Deputy Finance Minister Alexey Sazanov.

Christodoulides and Lavrov will have a tête-à-tête meeting followed by consultations with the participation of delegations from the two ministries.

“In the context of their consultations, the two Ministers are expected to review the full spectrum of Cyprus-Russia bilateral relations and exchange views, among other things, on the Cyprus problem, the situation in the Eastern Mediterranean in view of recent developments, EU-Russia relations, as well as regional matters,” a Foreign Ministry statement said.