Cyprus seeks to allay Russian concerns over alleged U.S.-backed militarization

Source: Xinhua| 2018-12-06 12:44:19|Editor: Chengcheng
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NICOSIA, Dec. 5 (Xinhua) -- Cyprus sought to allay Russian concerns over a possible militarization of the eastern Mediterranean island after Moscow accused Washington on Wednesday of being active in pursuing "its military presence in Cyprus."

"It was never our goal, nor do we seek now the militarization of Cyprus," said government spokesman Prodromos Prodromou in response to a statement by Maria Zakharova, the spokeswoman of the Russian Foreign Ministry.

According to TASS news agency, Zakharova said that the information coming from different sources showed Washington's active actions to expand its military presence in Cyprus so as to counter "the growing Russian influence in the region."

She warned that the further militarization of Cyprus and "its involvement in the implementation of American and NATO plans will inevitably lead to dangerous and destabilizing consequences for Cyprus itself."

"We will have to take response measures in case of their implementation," she added.

Prodromou said Cyprus, making the most of its geographic position, "provides facilities for operations of a humanitarian nature and only when certain countries submit a relevant request or if there is a relevant agreement or memorandum of understanding in place."

In addition, he disclosed the number of mentioned facilities provided in 2017 and 2018 in Cyprus' airports and ports.

The Cypriot foreign ministry said in a statement that Foreign Minister Nicos Christodoulides had a telephone conversation with his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, on Wednesday afternoon, discussing ways of strengthening bilateral relations and developments in the region.

The statement said they also discussed issues on EU-Russia relations, implying EU sanctions on Russia over Crimea," and in this context they agreed to meet in the next few months."