Rus­sia again by our side

Financial Mirror (Cyprus) - - FRONT PAGE -

The state­ments by the Rus­sian Deputy For­eign Min­is­ter Alexey Meshkov and the Spokesman of the Min­istry Alexan­der Luka­she­vich con­cern­ing Turkey’s stated in­ten­tion to carry out seis­mic stud­ies in the Cyprus Ex­clu­sive Eco­nomic Zone (EEZ) were the ob­ject of dif­fer­ent in­ter­pre­ta­tions and com­ments.

Some of them were neg­a­tive, for in­stance the al­lu­sion to “uni­lat­eral ac­tions” as re­fer­ring to the Repub­lic of Cyprus, non-recog­ni­tion of the right of the Repub­lic of Cyprus to ex­ploit the nat­u­ral re­sources of its EEZ, non-ref­er­ence to Turkey by name, etc.

If we look at the texts through le­gal and diplo­matic lenses and not those of po­lit­i­cal or party ex­pe­di­en­cies we will un­der­stand their real mean­ing.

In the first place, the “uni­lat­eral ac­tions and show of force” which are con­sid­ered un­ac­cept­able re­fer to Turkey. We eas­ily reach this con­clu­sion from the ref­er­ence in Luka­she­vich’s state­ment to “the sit­u­a­tion around the EEZ of the Repub­lic of Cyprus”.

This EEZ of the Repub­lic of Cyprus is recog­nised by the 1982 UN Con­ven­tion on the Law of the Sea, which pro­vides that a coastal state has sov­er­eign rights in its EEZ to ex­plore, de­velop and pre­serve the nat­u­ral re­sources, whether liv­ing or non-liv­ing, of the wa­ters su­per­ja­cent to the seabed and of the seabed and its sub­soil (Ar­ti­cle 65, sub­para­graph 1a). Cyprus’s right, there­fore, to ex­ploit its nat­u­ral re­sources in its EEZ is not ques­tioned by the Rus­sian state­ments.

Fi­nally the non-ref­er­ence to Turkey by name falls within the frame­work of the diplo­matic prac­tice, ac­cord­ing to which you do not put somebody in the cor­ner if you want to in­flu­ence him.

So much for the state­ments. More­over, Rus­sia took a tougher step by mak­ing a de­marche to the For­eign Min­istry in Ankara. As a mat­ter of fact, a de­marche is stronger than a state­ment, since in diplo­matic prac­tice it is con­sid­ered as an up­graded ac­tion.

At the Turk­ish For­eign Min­istry, the Rus­sian Am­bas­sador re­peated the known po­si­tion of Rus­sia, as stated in Au­gust 2011 by the same Alexan­der Luka­she­vich. Re­ply­ing to a ques­tion con­cern­ing Turkey’s chal­lenges of the right of the Repub­lic of Cyprus to ex­ploit the nat­u­ral re­sources of its EEZ, Mr Luka­she­vich then stressed that “such ac­tiv­i­ties are con­sis­tent with in­ter­na­tional law and the scope of sov­er­eign rights avail­able to the Repub­lic of Cyprus in ac­cor­dance with the UN Con­ven­tion on the Law of the Sea”.

In view of the above, who can deny that Rus­sia stood by our side?

It augers well that Pres­i­dent Anas­tasi­ades ex­pressed sat­is­fac­tion at Rus­sia’s re­ac­tion and in an in­ter­view pub­lished in the news­pa­per “Simerini” on Oc­to­ber 12 stressed that “the op­tion of closer re­la­tions with the United States is not taken at the ex­pense of our tra­di­tional and friendly re­la­tions with Rus­sia. On the con­trary, and at the Euro­pean Coun­cil we try with re­al­ism to warn about the prob­lems and the con­se­quences which will af­fect not only Rus­sia”.

Even in the present cli­mate of sanc­tions, Rus­sia proved to be a real friend.

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