Ms Marie Harf, the Deputy Spokesperson for the US Department of State, has stated that this is not the time for “business as usual with Russia” when asked to comment on the recent visit of President Nicos Anastasiades to Russia.
In her statement, Ms Harf said the US had stressed to their allies & partners in the EU the importance of unity and requested that Russia stop adding to the conflict in Ukraine. “That’s certainly something we have strong feelings about,” she added.
Ms Harf also commented about a tweet by US Ambassador in Nicosia John Koenig which caused much controversy who posted about the Russia trip was interpreted in Cyprus to associate the Prime Minister’s visit to Russia with the assassination of politician Boris Nemstov. The tweet sparked much debate with people in Cyprus.
The US embassy in Nicosia has clarified that the tweets had been misunderstood and were not meant to link two separate events. Asked about the lack of US support in the 1974 invasion of Cyprus, and why the US had not taken the same view Russia about the actions in Crimea; Ms Harf responded “we have been very clear about these different types of events, and have to stress that the two events should not be linked.”
Earlier on Monday, the Foreign Minister of Cyprus Ioannis Kasoulides met Victoria Nuland (Assistant Secretary of State) in Washington. A State Department official said that they had discussed several issues of shared interest, including increased bilateral economic cooperation, as well as the continued support for the Cyprus settlement process, to reunify the island as a bi-zonal federation.