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US Department of State to Cyprus: Not the Time for Business with Russia


US Department of State Deputy spokeswoman Marie Harf, asked to comment on the bilateral relations of Cyprus and Russia and the agreements the two countries have recently signed during President Nicos Anastasiades’ official visit to Moscow, said this is not the time for “business as usual with Russia.” As she highlighted, Washington has repeatedly stressed to its European allies and partners the importance of unity and of pressing Russia to stop being involved in the Ukrainian Crisis. “That is certainly something we feel very strongly about,” she stated.

Regarding the tweet of US ambassador in Nicosia John Koenig, linking Anastasiades’ visit to the Russian capital with the assassination of opposition politician Boris Nemstov, Harf noted that it was not linked to the Cyprus-Russia ties. The Ambassador has irritated Nicosia after tweeting “What do people in Cyprus think about the week in Russia as seen from here? Anastasiades visit and statements, Nemtsov assassination?” As she explained, “the US embassy in Nicosia has clarified that the tweet was not meant to link two separate events.”

Moreover, asked why Washington does not accuse Turkey over the 1974 military invasion in Cyprus, when they accuse Russia about Crimea, Harf explained that the two should not be linked. “We have obviously been very clear about different kinds of events, and I am not going to try to link them,” she said.

Finally, concerning the meeting of Cypriot Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides with Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland at the US Department of State on Monday, a State Department official said that they discussed several issues of common interest, including bilateral economic cooperation, support for Ukrainian sovereignty and efforts to defeat ISIS in the Middle East.

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