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Russian navy vessels in Cyprus – Putin says don’t worry

26 February 2015

President Anastasiades has signed eight agreements with Russia, one of which will allow Russian navy vessels to dock in South Cyprus ports.

At a joint news conference with Anastasiades, held at his house in Moscow, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that those vessels would be there as part of international attempts to counter terrorism and piracy.

Putin made it absolutely clear that the agreement signed by the two countries was not aimed at any other party. “I don’t think this should worry anyone,” said Putin.

The Russian President also thanked Cyprus for its stance against sanctions imposed on Russia by the EU over the crisis in Ukraine.

Anastasiades said Cyprus has been in favour of a diplomatic solution on the issue from the start.

“Diplomacy should provide the answer to the problem, not military might. At the same time, it has always been our position – in spite of the fact that we are forced to follow a common policy- that any sanctions against Russia would have an impact on member-states of the EU, including my little country that depends a lot on the Russian Federation, whether it was the economy, services, tourism, defence or the Cyprus problem,” said Anastasiades. “It is becoming gradually clear to all that sanctions against a country as large as Russia will have a negative impact not only for Cyprus but also other EU countries, the big industrial one’s not excluded.”

Responding to the same question, Putin remarked that sanctions and counter sanctions “hurt us and our partners and as EU experts have pointed out, the eurozone has suffered tens of billions in damage.”

“Decisions have to be made based on national interest and not based on general ideas. Countries like Cyprus, that defended their position, are defending the interests of the whole EU community,” he added.

Asked what Cyprus could do to improve the EU-Russia relationship, Putin noted that Cyprus might be a small island but it was an equal member of the EU and its voice mattered in the same way as the voice of other EU states.

“This is why Cyprus’ openly declared position on a series of fundamental issues begets our gratitude,” he said.

The Greek Cypriot president promised that Cyprus would make efforts to re-establish strategic cooperation between the EU and Russia.

During the joint press conference, Putin noted that Russian investments on the island exceeded $33 billion, “which is over 80 per cent of all foreign investment on the island.”

Source Cyprus Mail

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