NICOSIA, July 11 (Itar-Tass) - Russia is not negotiating possible deployment of its military base in Cyprus, Russian Ambassador to Cyprus Vyacheslav Shumsky said in an interview with local television company Sigma on Wednesday.
According to the Russian diplomat, the mass media are distorting the essence of the talks and agreements between Russia and Cyprus. Moscow is not seeking to get military bases on the island, he stressed and added that Cyprus’ Defence Minister Fotis Fotiou has recently explained the situation.
On June 23, the Cypriot minister said that during his latest meeting in Moscow with Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu they raised the issues of allowing Russian warships to call at the port of Limassol and of allowing Russian planes to use the Andreas Papandreou base. This subject was also discussed by the two countries’ Foreign Ministers, Sergei Lavrov of Russia and Ioannis Kasoulidis, in St. Petersburg. “I would like to stress that the issue of a Russian permanent base in Cyprus has not been raised,” Fotiou then said.
Commenting on the situation, the Russian ambassador said that the whole thing is not about allowing to use the bases but about the simplification of the procedure of Russian ships’ stay in Cyprus’ ports.” “Now, we have to ask permission for each such visit, but as soon as we sign an agreement, it will be a notification procedure,” Shumsky said. “Such an agreement is only being drafted and so far it only provides for warship visits.”
“As concerns planes, it might be a next stage,” he went on to say. “We have not yet begun it. But in principle, the Cypriots are ready to look at it as well.”
The Russian diplomat also touched upon the issue of the presence of Russian businesses in Cyprus. He noted that Russian businessmen were keeping a close eye on the situation in that country following the European Union’s March decisions to cut deposits and impose control over the movement of capital.
“Naturally, people have lost their money but there is no panic,” Shumsky noted. “The general attitude is to stay.” In his words, all Russian big companies plan to stay in Cyprus.