Ka­soulides: Cyprus al­ways op­posed Rus­sia sanc­tions

Financial Mirror (Cyprus) - - FRONT PAGE -

The Euro­pean Union is chang­ing its ap­proach to the sanc­tions against Rus­sia which Cyprus has al­ways de­ci­sively op­posed, For­eign Min­is­ter Ioan­nis Ka­soulides said in an in­ter­view with TASS.

“Cyprus was al­ways very care­ful and re­luc­tant of the use of the sanc­tions. We have never been happy with this pol­icy and we have said it so — it is wrong. Per­haps we are pay­ing now the price, as you know Ukraine has threat­ened to can­cel the dou­ble tax­a­tion agree­ment we have with them,” Ka­soulides said.

“The sanc­tions do not hurt only Rus­sia, they hurt our­selves. That has al­ways been our po­si­tion,” Ka­soulides said.

“A con­sen­sus has al­ways been reached (in the EU) after our con­tri­bu­tion in re­strain­ing the sanc­tions.

For in­stance, it is after our own in­sis­tence that sub­sidiaries of big state banks in Rus­sia within the Euro­pean Union coun­tries should be ex­cluded and they have been ex­cluded,” he said.

Speak­ing on Rus­sia’s plans to cre­ate a gas hub on the Turk­ish-Greek bor­der, Ka­soulides said Nicosia does not view re­la­tions be­tween the coun­tries as “a zero sum game.”

“The decision of Pres­i­dent Putin to aban­don the South Stream is un­der­stand­able for us. The in­ten­tion to bring a pipe­line through Turkey is fully re­spected and doesn’t con­cern us be­cause we don’t get pro­vi­sions for gas or oil through Turkey,” he said.

The new gas dis­tribut­ing hub will re­place the South Stream project, which Rus­sia scrapped ear­lier last month cit­ing the EU’s un­con­struc­tive ap­proach. Un­der the new project,

Turkey may be­come a ma­jor in­ter­me­di­ary sup­ply­ing the Rus­sian nat­u­ral gas. The con­struc­tion will make it pos­si­ble to nul­lify risks re­lated to tran­sit of the Rus­sian gas via Ukraine, Gazprom’s CEO Alexey Miller said.

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