MOSCOW

Russia urges relaunch of the talks between Greek and Turkish Cypriots aiming to resolve the Cyprus problem, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Tuesday.

“We believe the early launch of negotiations on a final solution to the Cyprus problem would create the atmosphere necessary to find a compromise, including on the opening of the Varosha Famagusta area [the abandoned town of Maras in the Turkish Cypriot city of Gazimagusa],” the minister said, speaking at a press conference in Lefkosa.

Lavrov said Russia is committed to “a comprehensive, lasting, just, and viable solution” to this problem on the basis of existing UN Security Council resolutions.

The minister assessed the existing system of external guarantee for Cyprus island as “obsolete”, suggesting its replacement with the UN Security Council pledge.

As for the UN peacekeeping mission on the Mediterranean island, Russia does not see a need to adjust its mandate but it will be guided by the opinion of the Greek Cypriot administration when making decisions regarding its further fate in the UN Security Council, he noted.

Cyprus has been divided into a Turkish Cypriot government in the north and Greek Cypriot administration in the south since a 1974 military coup aimed at its annexation by Greece, and Turkey’s subsequent military intervention to end years of persecution and violence against Turkish Cypriots by ultra-nationalist Greek Cypriots.

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