Russia To Strengthen Ties with Turkish and Greek Cypriots
Russia will make a bid to strengthen economic ties with both the Greek and Turkish sides of Cyprus, said Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin after talks with his Turkish counterpart Tayyip Erdogan.
"We will make efforts to maintain relations with both parts of Cyprus and develop economic relations, including with the Turkish part," said Mr. Putin, according to RIA Novosti's website.
Mr. Putin was in Turkey to sign an energy agreement whereby Turkey grants the Russian natural gas giant Gazprom use of its territorial waters in the Black Sea, which the company wants to use to route its South Stream pipeline to gas markets in Eastern and Southern Europe. In return, a Russian oil pipeline operator agreed to join a consortium to build a pipeline across the Anatolian Peninsula, from the Black Sea to the Mediterranean, and Gazprom affirmed a commitment to expand an existing Black Sea gas pipeline for possible transshipment across Turkey to Cyprus or Israel.
Turkish-Cypriot spokesman Hasan Ercakica said that "there was no reason for the Greek Cypriot Side to be disturbed by Turkey’s growing influence in the region."
“The Greek Cypriot Side would not be threatened by Turkey’s growing prestige if it cooperated with Ankara in creating a stable Eastern Mediterranean region”.
Yesterday, Cyprus President Demetris Christofias and Turkish-Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat held their last and 40th meeting in the first round of face-to-face reunification negotiations which are set to restart on September 3rd.