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    Policy to promote economic equality in Cyprus is important - Yakovenko

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    MOSCOW, July 19 (RIA Novosti) - Closing the economic development gap between the two parts of Cyprus is important, Russian foreign ministry spokesperson Alexander Yakovenko told a news conference Tuesday.

    Cyprus consists of the Republic of Cyprus and the self-proclaimed Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.

    "There is a huge gap in the economic development of the two parts of Cyprus. It is almost threefold. Therefore, there is clearly a need to level-out the development of the two communities - the Greek and the Turkish," Yakovenko said.

    "It is an important component of a comprehensive Cyprus settlement. Russia encourages any projects that promote the reestablishment of a unified economic system in Cyprus and the development of ties, including economic ties, between the two communities," the Russian diplomat said.

    Yakovenko said that this policy could help resolve the political issues surrounding the Cyprus settlement, whereas policies that encouraged further economic disparity could not.

    He added that Russia, as a permanent member of the UN Security Council, continued to participate actively in the international effort aimed at resolving the Cyprus issue.

    He said that Russia had consistently adopted a strong position on the Cypress settlement. "We stand for a lasting, feasible and fair settlement," the Russian diplomat said, before adding that such a settlement would only be possible if both communities reached agreement.

    "We believe that any solution imposed by outside forces will be short-lived," Yakovenko said.

    He said that the UN resolutions adopted in the past few decades and the agreements reached during talks between the leaders of the two communities continued to constitute the legal basis for the Cyprus settlement.

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