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EU Leaders Ready to Overcome Tensions With Russia – Cypriot President

© AP Photo / Petros KaradjiasCyprus President Nicos Anastasiades waves
Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades waves - Sputnik International
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The EU leaders are making efforts to overcome existing rifts in relations with Russia, Сypriot President Nicos Anastasiades told Sputnik.

Nicosia City View - The Capital of Cyprus and Northern Part. - Sputnik International
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NICOSIA (Sputnik) – The leaders of the European Union are making efforts to overcome existing rifts in relations with Russia, which deteriorated following the crisis in Ukraine, and have begun to re-engage in a dialogue with Moscow, Сypriot President Nicos Anastasiades told Sputnik.

"I do believe that slowly there are efforts to see how to overcome the problems which have been created after the crisis with Crimea. I just want to mention that Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev is going to meet the new President of France Emmanuel Macron, Italian Prime Minister Gentiloni was recently visiting Moscow, and in the past German Chancellor Angela Merkel has visited Russia. These are signs that everyone is trying to see how, in connection with the Minsk agreements, they can normalize relations with the Russian Federation," Anastasiades said.

Nicosia, as a member of the European Union, urges the bloc to engage in dialogue with Moscow more actively as the sides share a number of mutual concerns, the president added.

"We have made the point at the EU level many times that the EU-Russia relations must be assessed beyond the background of the crisis in Ukraine. We have insisted that the EU should keep the communication channels open with Russia as we need to engage on many issues of mutual interest and jointly address many global challenges," Anastasiades noted.

Flag of the self-declared Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus in the hills above Cyprus' capital Nicosia. - Sputnik International
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Cyprus has been developing ties with Moscow despite the sanctions of the European Union, the country's leader stressed.

"Allow me to say that in February 2015 I was the first European leader to visit Moscow and then I was the only head of state who has participated in the celebrations of Victory Day on May 9 after the sanctions were imposed," Anastasiades said.

The ties between Russia and Cyprus are strengthening despite the European Union's sanctions against Moscow over the latter's alleged involvement in the Ukrainian crisis. Nicosia repeatedly spoke against the sanctions, as the restrictive measures have significant negative impact on the country’s economy.

Moreover, Сypriot President Nicos Anastasiades told Sputnik that he had invited Russian President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev to Cyprus in fall and if they could not find time in their schedule, that he would like to visit Russia.

"I have extended an invitation to President Putin for a visit to Cyprus, and if President Putin is not available, then maybe Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev might have [an opportunity] in accordance with his program to visit Cyprus… In case they could not, I have asked to be received by President Putin and Prime Minister Medvedev. We are talking about autumn," Anastasiades said.

Сyprus' president stressed that the visits of the Russian president and prime minister "will not be just welcomed but an honor for us."

Meanwhile, Investments made by Russian businessmen into a variety of sectors of Cyprus' economy significantly contribute to the process of economic growth in the country, Сypriot President Nicos Anastasiades told Sputnik.

"The most important thing is that the Russian businessmen are investing in Cyprus … We have close relations with these businessmen, and what is very important is that they have actually contributed much to our growth. Especially the trust that they have showed after the crisis of 2013. It was the most important to overcome many of our problems. The trust that they have showed to the banks, the trust that they have showed to the government was of the most positive developments which led us to growth," Anastasiades said.

Cyprus flag - Sputnik International
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The Cypriot president underlined that Russia is Cyprus’ second biggest partner in the tourism sector and Nicosia enjoys "excellent and very close" ties both with the Russian government and businesses.

Currently the Cypriot government is making efforts to attract more investments from other countries as well, according to Anastasiades.

"At this moment attracting foreign investments in the productive sectors of our economy is our most important priority. These investments will stimulate economic activity, create jobs and contribute to the reduction of unemployment. Tourism, port privatization, telecommunications, shipping, real estate, large-scale development projects,, education, health, research and innovation all these sectors offer growth opportunities," the president noted.

The economic ties between Russia and Cyprus are developing despite the European Union's sanctions against Moscow over the latter's alleged involvement in the Ukrainian crisis. Nicosia repeatedly spoke against the sanctions as such restrictive measures have a significant negative impact on the country’s economy. Anastasiades visited Moscow in February 2015 for the last time.

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