İrem UZUN -TDO- Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told on Tuesday that Moscow was ready to help mediate in any talks with Turkey over energy exploration in the east Mediterranean Sea. “As far as your relations with Turkey are concerned, we are ready to promote dialogue, pragmatically based on mutual interests and in search of decisions, which will be fair and based on international law,” Lavrov said at a meeting with Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades in Nicosia.
Greece and Turkey have faced off against each other in recent weeks as Turkish survey vessels and drill ships continue to prospect for gas in waters where Greece and Cyprus claim exclusive economic rights. EU members Greece and Cyprus accuse Turkey of violating international law and of “gunboat diplomacy.” Turkey insists it’s defending its rights and those of the breakaway Turkish Cypriots on ethnically split Cyprus to their rightful share of the area’s potential gas deposits.
Lavrov was in Nicosia and met Anastasiades to mark 60 years of Cyprus' independence and bilateral relations with Russia. "Russia considers that any further escalation would be unacceptable and calls on all parties to settle all conflicts exclusively through dialogue and on the basis of International law... We are ready to provide assistance to set up this dialogue if asked by the parties," he said about the rise of tension in Mediterranean.
Lavrov also used the occasion to take a swipe at U.S. influence in the region, calling it an "outside player”. "There are other issues of concern to us about the situation in the Eastern Mediterranean ... such as the United States which is trying to create dividing lines and contribute to conflicts rather than peaceful solutions," Lavrov said. Although Lavrov did not elaborate, his comments come after Washington partially lifted a 33-year arms embargo on Cyprus as a part of a wider partnership to promote closer energy and security ties between Washington and Cyprus, Greece and Israel, The Moscow Times reported.