MOSCOW, October 21. /TASS/. Moscow favors the solution of the Eastern Mediterranean problem based on international law, in accordance with the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told a news conference following talks with his Cypriot counterpart, Nikos Christodoulides, in Moscow on Thursday.
"[We] exchanged opinions over the situation in the Eastern Mediterranean. Moscow calls for the solution of existing problems there based on international law, particularly on the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea 1982," the minister said.
He stressed that he has discussed with Christodoulides the Cyprus settlement extensively. "We have heard a very important assessment of partners and in turn, [we] confirmed Moscow’s principled stand in favor of achieving a fair, viable and comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus dispute within the existing international legal framework. We don’t see any prospects to restart the intercommunal negotiation process as soon as possible, which would allow rebuilding a climate of confidence between Greeks and Turkish Cypriots, and [we] regard as inadmissible and counterproductive the unilateral steps towards the closed Varosha territory of the city of Famagusta," Lavrov pointed out.
Cyprus has been divided between the Greek and Turkish communities since the armed Turkish invasion in 1974. In 1983, the self-proclaimed Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) was formed, which only Ankara recognized in the world community. Numerous attempts by the sides to resolve the Cyprus dispute have been ineffective so far. On October 8, 2020, the self-proclaimed TRNC authorities opened tourist access to the seaside part of Varosha in the city of Famagusta which according to the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1984 should remain intact before returning of Greek-Cypriot descendants expelled in 1974. On July 22, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova stated that Moscow doesn’t support the unilateral status changes of this part of the closed-off area.