Interview with Russia's Ambassador to Nicosia, Stanislav Osadchy
by Esra Aygin
How does Russia view the current negotiations process aimed at reunifying Cyprus? Are you witnessing the “chemistry” said to exist between the two leaders and their determination?
Osadchy: Our country, the Russian Federation, has welcomed the resumption of inter-communal talks. We are in constant contact with representatives of both communities. In early July, I met with Mr. Mustafa Akinci and the leader of the Turkish Cypriot negotiating team Ozdil Nami. We hope that the two communities of the island under the leadership of their leaders Nicos Anastasiades and Mustafa Akinci will try to do everything possible to achieve a sustainable agreement. As far as we can see, there is a significant progress at the negotiation table while both leaders demonstrate the will to achieve a comprehensive settlement as soon as possible. A positive atmosphere which has developed on a personal level between leaders which sometimes called, as you correctly noted, - "chemistry”, - contributes to that process in a large degree. Still it is obvious that both sides need willingness to compromise in order to achieve further development.
Which issues are you specifically talking about? And do you think the current process in fact gives more hope than the previous processes?
Osadchy: We hear very optimistic projections about the negotiation process, in particular from the UN Secretary General's Special Adviser on Cyprus
E.-B.Eide. However, the parties will have to do more work to harmonize positions on important issues such as property and territorial adjustment. The issue of “Guarantees” and some aspects of the “Governance and Power Sharing” are also to be examined yet. In particular, the idea of rotational presidency is still an open question. In this aspect as far as we can understand the position of parties diverges. It is very important that the Cypriots themselves could find a solution that would allow Cyprus to become a modern independent state not being under foreign tutelage.
You have recently stated that a future federal Cyprus should be without specific guarantees? Does this mean that Russia would not support the solution in Cyprus at the UN Security Council if the solution includes some kind of a guarantee system?
Osadchy: This is absolutely not true. Russia will agree to any solution that will be approved by the two communities of the island on separate referendums. This particular question of continuation or cancellation of the guarantee system is related to the external aspects of the Cyprus problem and therefore shall be solved with the participation of countries directly involved in this issue. Anyway, in our view, any eventual agreements which will be worked out by the Cypriot communities during negotiations should be respected.
Would Russia accept NATO’s guarantees in Cyprus?
Osadchy: It is impossible to accept NATO’s guarantee due to the aggressive and hostile nature of its approach towards our country.
The new Turkish Cypriot 'foreign minister' Emine Colak has recently called on Russia to play an active role in the Cyprus peace process. What do you think Russia's role is in this process?
Osadchy: Russia's position on the Cyprus settlement is consistent. As a permanent member of the UN Security Council we see one of our main tasks to ensure favorable external conditions for communities to achieve a just and lasting solution to the problem of the island on the basis of UN Security Council resolutions on Cyprus and inter-Cypriot High-Level Agreements of 1977 and 1979. We hope to closely cooperate on this issue with our partners, especially in the "five" of the UN Security Council.
Our role is to help the parties to find an acceptable solution for their common future; we try to ensure that the principle of non-intervention into the process and the conformity of the settlement to the relevant resolutions of the United Nations are respected. We hold a neutral position with respect to both communities in the negotiations and call on other parties to refrain from attempts to impose to one or another side any conditions from outside.
You always underline that the solution should be found at the negotiation table by the Cypriots themselves. Do you think that the current process is a Cypriot-led process?
Osadchy: For now we have no reason to doubt it. The current round of negotiations, which began in May, is supported by most Cypriots in the south and in the north of the island. In any case, these are the Cypriots themselves – Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots – who will give their assessment of the proposals that will be developed by the parties during the negotiations on a referendum.