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Cyprus seeks to elevate relations with Russia to higher stage - Omirou

July 03, 2013, 6:52 UTC+3

Head of Cyprus parliament will visit Russia and meet with local authorities in order to develop further cooperation

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NICOSIA, July 3 (Itar-Tass) - Yiannakis Omirou, President of the House of Representatives (parliament) of the Republic of Cyprus, told Itar-Tass in an interview that he aims to elevate relations between the parliaments of Cyprus and Russia to a higher stage. He gave the interview ahead of his official visit to the RF. He arrives in Moscow on Wednesday at the invitation of Sergei Naryshkin, Speaker of the State Duma lower house of the Russian parliament, at the head of a delegation which represents all the six parliamentary parties of the country. The visit will continue until July 5.

The programme for the visit provides for Cypriot parliamentarians' meetings with Naryshkin, Valentina Matviyenko, Speaker of the Federation Council upper house of the Russian parliament, Vladimir Titov, First Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, and other Russian officials.

Omirou emphasized that while in Moscow he would like to discuss not only the development of relations at parliamentary level but also a broader range of matters regarding bilateral cooperation in the political, economic and military spheres, as well as in the field of energy, considering the heavy consequences of the March decisions taken by the Eurogroup about terms for the provision of an anticrisis aid.

"We intend to explain it to our friends in Russia what happened in actual fact and in what conditions we were put by the Eurogroup," the Cyprus parliament chief said. "We know that many people in Russia suffered losses in view of those tough decisions and we shall seek to do everything to soften their negative consequences and secure that the citizens of Russia continue to trust Cyprus, our economic and judicial systems".

"But, first of all, we would like to express our gratitude to the people and the government of Russia for their invariable solidarity with Cyprus in the past five decades ever since the establishment of an independent Republic of Cyprus in 1960," Omirou stressed. "I refer primarily to support which Russia has been giving within the framework of the UN Security Council in the light of threats on the part of Turkey".

Omirou underlined that the new government of Cyprus that came to power at the beginning of March makes decisions aimed at strengthening contacts with Russia. "The parliament of the Republic fully supports these steps," he stated.

In particular, the President of the Cyprus House of Representatives touched upon the question of giving an opportunity to naval ships and aircraft of Russia to use seaports and airports of the island. "Cyprus has already given a permission to Russian naval ships to call at the port of Limassol," Omirou said. "Our authorities also mull over the possibility of giving assistance to the military aircraft of Russia to use the Andreas Papandreou airbase in Pathos". He expressed confidence that if the question of concluding an appropriate agreement arises, "it will meet with a unanimous approaval in parliament".

Omirou said that during the visit he plans to inform Russian officials of the state of affairs taking shape in the Cyprus issue settlement process, and of prospects for a new round of talks which is expected to begin in October.

"The stand of the Republic of Cyprus is that, owing to the economis crisis that we experience, we are not ready for an immediate start of a new round of talks," the parliament chief said. "Our opinion is that that may happen not earlier than in autumn".

"It is highly important to understand, before a resumption of the talks, on which basis new efforts will be made to settle the Cyprus problem. It is evident to us the Cypriot Greeks that a reunification of Cyprus must come about on the basis of a federation, and not a confederation, as Turkey insists," Omirou added.

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