GCC Press Review | 6 Mar 2019 |

Front Page Headlines

Politis

100 more artworks to be returned from occupied areas

This concerns portraits by GC artists from the Kyrenia district. Umit Inatci: “Returning GC artwork is not a matter of goodwill but a moral matter.” The son of Xanthos Hadjisoteriou is coming from China to receive his father’s work.

  • Myrtou church bell: They stole it for scrap metal
  • Germany’s Defence Minister: Solidarity to Cyprus
  • Brexit: What will happen to British bases
  • Briefing of House energy committee: Block 10 hasn’t revealed all its secrets yet
  • European Elections: 49 candidates take battle positions

Phileleftheros

Britain also not interested

London has given reassurances that it does not wish to retain its Cyprus guarantor power role. Brexit not an obstacle to resumption of Cyprus problem talks.

  • Ayios Panteleimonas in Myrtou: They blame Roma for the church bell theft
  • Cooperation talks: Message to Turkey from Germany’s Defence Minister
  • Aftermath of Glafcos drilling: They also want Blocks named ‘Spyros’ and ‘Ezekias’

Haravgi

We are paying high rents due to the towers

Central Bank warns over real estate.  Warning for new rent increase. Increase in household borrowing cost.

  • The European Commission refutes government over halloumi
  • Joint decisionon proceeds from Aphrodite: Political parties will be briefed

Cyprus Mail

Seeking stability and prosperity

Germany, Cyprus to step up defence cooperation say two ministers.

  • MPs ponder how thieves stole 300kg bell from nine metre tower in occupied monastery
  • May reiterates UK not interested in being guarantor

Alithia

Bomb under GESY (National Health Scheme)

(Sir David) Nicholson walks out. Just a few weeks before the major reform in the health sector rolls out, the chairman of OKYPY (State Health Services Organisation), fed up with attacks against himself and his wife by parties and the Auditor-general on issues of conflict of interest, has informed the health minister he will leave his post.

  • Akinci: “Presenting as new, ideas that were prepared and done with in the past”
  • YesandNo’ to citizenships to children of TCs from mixed marriages – Government’s reply to the persistent demand of TCs. What does the law stipulate. We say ‘yes’ to children from mixed marriages of TCs that took place abroad, and ‘No’ to children from marriages of TCs with Turkish settlers.
  • May to Anastasiades: “Britain is not interested in the guarantor’s role”

Main News

Cyprus reassured Brexit will not delay Cyprob talks

Alithia, Cyprus Mail, Haravgi, Phileleftheros
Negotiations Process, Regional/International Relations

OVERVIEW

Britain reiterated on Tuesday it is not interested in continuing its role as a guarantor power for Cyprus, and gave reassurances that Brexit will not be an obstacle to the resumption of talks.

President Nicos Anastasiades said on Tuesday after his meeting in London with British Prime Minister Theresa May that the latter reiterated Britain’s unchanging position, namely the support for a solution based on UN resolutions, as well as on EU principles and values.

“Most importantly, however, she reiterated the position that Britain would not wish to continue its role as a guarantor power,” he was quoted as saying by the Cyprus Mail.

Anastasiades said their meeting focused on matters concerning the Cyprus problem, bilateral relations and Brexit.

According to Phileleftheros, Nicosia also received reassurances that Brexit would not be an obstacle as regards the resumption of talks for a settlement to the Cyprus problem. Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides received this reassurance by his British counterpart Jeremy Hunt during their meeting on Tuesday. This was a response to Turkey’s excuses that the talks cannot resume before June also due to Brexit, the daily said.

The two ministers also discussed issues concerning UNFICYP.

Anastasiades’ visit as a guest of the UK government concludes on Wednesday with a meeting with the Queen.

KEY ACTORS
Anastasiades
>>
May reiterated the position that Britain would not wish to continue its role as a guarantor power.
>>
Britain supports a solution based on UN resolutions, as well as on EU principles and values.


Germany pledges solidarity to Cyprus as EU defence cooperation deepens

Cyprus Mail, Phileleftheros, Politis
Regional/International Relations, External Security, Energy

OVERVIEW

German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen on Tuesday pledged her country’s solidarity to Cyprus and sent out clear messages against Turkish provocation through her references on respect to international law, Politis and Phileleftheros report.

The German official was on the island for a meeting with her Cypriot counterpart Savvas Angelides to discuss cooperation concerning projects in the framework of the EU’s Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) and bilateral relations. The ministers underlined their willingness to strengthen relations in the fields of security and defence.

Both during her meeting with Angelides and later at a conference organised by DISY, von der Leyen made clear that her country and the EU recognise the sovereign rights of the Republic of Cyprus and express their solidarity against Turkish provocation, Politis said.

The minister said that Cyprus and Germany are committed as European nations to respect international law. “It is important to show solidarity in asking all countries to abide by the rule of international law. This is important to keep peace and stability in the region and therefore Germany as a member of the EU is showing the same solidarity as all other countries do,” she said.

The German minister said after her meeting with Angelides that Cyprus is a valuable partner for Berlin and a very active country in PESCO. She also pointed out Cyprus’ unique geostrategic location, according to the Cyprus Mail.

Angelides said Cyprus aspires to see the Eastern Mediterranean transformed from an area of instability and geopolitical uncertainty into a region of stability and prosperity.

Taking into account that conditions of stability, growth and prosperity in the wider region are directly linked to the security of EU member states, Cyprus is choosing to be actively present in this new security and defence architecture of Europe, Angelides said.

Politis reports that later in the day, during the DISY conference on geopolitical challenges and opportunities in European and Eastern Mediterranean security, Angelides referred to the gunboat diplomacy of Turkey and its role in the region. He said that Cyprus enjoys friendly relations with all the counties in the region, except Turkey for obvious reasons.

The German minister during the same event expressed her support and solidarity to Cyprus and the struggle to reunite the island as well as the solidarity of her country and of the other member states to Cyprus’ sovereign right to explore and exploit its natural resources in its exclusive economic zone.

 She also said there are many similarities between Cyprus and Germany as Germany was a divided country.
“As a German I can tell you that we have great sympathy for Cyprus that suffers from division and we Germans know how you feel,” she said, expressing hope that one day there will be peace on the island, Phileleftheros reports.
 
Asked about Turkish provocations, she said there are internationally agreed laws and that these rules are not there to place limits but put a peaceful cooperation and coexistence which gives all those who abide by them the prospect for a better future.
She said that all EU member states show solidarity to Cyprus and are by its side, adding that what matters to them is that the rules signed, were being respected.

KEY ACTORS
Angelides
>> Cyprus aspires to see the Eastern Mediterranean transformed from an area of instability and geopolitical uncertainty into a region of stability and prosperity.
>> Cyprus chooses to be actively present in this new security and defence architecture of Europe.
>> Cyprus enjoys friendly relations with all counties in the region, except Turkey.

Von der Leyen (Germany)
>> Important to show solidarity (to Cyprus) by asking all countries to abide by the rule of international law. This is important to keep peace and stability in the region.
>> All EU member states show solidarity to Cyprus & are by its side. What matters is that agreed rules are being respected.
>> Internationally agreed laws are not meant to place limits but promote peaceful cooperation and coexistence. Those who abide by these laws create prospects for a better future.   
>> Cyprus is a valuable partner for Berlin, with a unique geostrategic location. It is a very active country in PESCO.
>> Germans, who know what it feels like living in a divided country, have great sympathy for Cyprus that suffers from division


Satisfaction over Cyprus’ hydrocarbon prospects

Alithia, Cyprus Mail, Haravgi, Phileleftheros, Politis
Energy

OVERVIEW

MPs on Tuesday expressed satisfaction over ExxonMobil’s recent discovery of natural gas in Cyprus’ offshore Block 10 following a behind-closed-doors briefing by Energy Minister Giorgos Lakkotrypis and head of ExxonMobil Cyprus Varnavas Theodosiou.

Head of the House energy committee Andreas Kyprianou said after the meeting that the briefing confirmed the very important results, especially optimistic for Cyprus both in terms of energy and geopolitics.

The committee heard that ExxonMobil is considering further drilling in Cyprus’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ) within Block 10 and possibly in other licensed blocks.

DIKO MP Angelos Votsis said that the signs were encouraging and that the recent discovery boosts prospects of having an LNG plant in Cyprus, although this would take years and depended on additional gas discoveries.

AKEL’s Costas Costa welcomed the discovery but said that at the same time the government ought to develop a coherent and consistent energy policy.

Haravgi reports that Costa also asked the energy minister for an update on the talks between Cyprus and Israel regarding the commercial development of the Aphrodite gas reservoir in Block 12 as a small part of the reservoir is said to lie within Israel’s EEZ. The two governments have yet to reach an agreement on this issue, the daily said.

Citing information, the daily said that the energy ministry is determined to proceed with the exploitation of the deposit, and if it turns out the companies exploiting the adjacent parts of Israel are entitled to part of the natural gas they will not be denied their share.

Costa also asked the energy minister about the state of play in the talks between the government and the companies holding the concession on the Aphrodite field (Noble, Delek and Shell). The companies are seeking to amend the production-sharing contract they signed with the government Haravgi reports.

It reports that consultations are expected to conclude within the coming days and the government will ask political leaders their input for a joint decision on the matter. AKEL is against a decision of the government that could set a bad precedent, Haravgi said.

According to Politis, what pleased MPs most was reassurances that there are prospects for further discoveries within Block 10, as the US company intends on carrying out drillings in other targets there. The daily reports that ExxonMobil plans on drilling in three to four targets near Glafcos.

MPs, however, said jokingly during the meeting that, after the well in Block 10 was named Glafcos, which is the first name of the late former President Clerides,  they would like to see other targets named Spyros or Ezekias, after former President (and DIKO leader) Spyros Kyprianou and former AKEL leader Ezekias Papaioannou. Varnava explained that the well in question was named after the Greek mythology sea creature Glafcos, Phileleftheros reports.


Akinci: Reheated ideas should not be put on the negotiations table

Alithia
Negotiations Process

OVERVIEW

TC leader Mustafa Akinci warned on Tuesday against labelling as ‘new’, ideas that have already been discussed and passed over, and bringing them to the negotiations table.

Akinci said that it would be a mistake for the two sides to do such a thing as well as unnecessary.

One ought to be cautious on such matters and consider their steps carefully, he said.

Akinci also said the GC side was playing a game with the aim of continuing the status quo.

He made the comments after a meeting with Speaker of the Turkish Grand National Assembly Mustafa Sentop who was in the north on a visit.

Sentorp said that that new ideas were needed for the solution of the Cyprus Problem, and that it was not fair for the TCs to waste time on a process that would not produce any results.

He welcomed the confidence-building measures agreed by the two leaders last week. Sentorp said that what is most important is for GCs to accept political equality and the creation of a cooperation based on equality.

KEY ACTORS
Akinci
>>
It would be a mistake to bring to the table as ‘new’, old ideas that have already been passed over.
>> The GCs are playing a game with the aim of continuing the status quo.

Sentorp

>> New ideas must be put on the table for the solution of the Cyprus Problem.
>> It is not fair for the TCs to waste time on a process that would not produce any results.
>> GCs need to accept TC political equality.


Answers sought over theft of Myrtou church bell

Alithia, Cyprus Mail, Haravgi, Phileleftheros, Politis
Internal Security

OVERVIEW

The House refugee committee on Tuesday said they expect the findings of a probe by authorities in the north on the theft of a 300-kilo church bell from the nine-metre tower of the 17th century Ayios Panteleimonas monastery complex in occupied Myrtou.

Chief negotiator Andreas Mavroyiannis told MPs that President Nicos Anastasiades referred to the issue in a written note he gave TC leader Mustafa Akinci during their meeting last week.

The Technical Committee on Crime is to hear the results of investigations into the disappearance of the bell in a scheduled meeting next week but also vandalism on the monastery complex that was restored two years ago by the Technical Committee on Cultural Heritage.

The church bell was reported as stolen last November after a TC visitor to the monastery noticed it was missing. TC daily Kibris Postasi reported at the time that the monastery and church had also been vandalised. Perpetrators had broken the doors of the monastery, and written slogans on the walls, the daily had reported. A bicommunal clean-up operation in January was organised to repair some of the damage.

Phileleftheros and Politis report that MPs were told that there are suspicions that the bell was stolen by wandering Roma people to be sold as scrap metal.


Government does not confirm citizenship reports in TC media

Alithia, Cyprus Mail, Haravgi, Phileleftheros, Politis
Migration and Citizenship

OVERVIEW

The interior ministry did not confirm or deny reports in TC media that in total 529 TCs who are children of mixed marriages whose parents’ wedding took place abroad are to be granted citizenship by the Republic, Alithia reports.

Citing sources, the daily said that the ministry does not adopt the data reported by Kibris on Tuesday. The source told Alithia that the ministry applies the law that stipulates that RoC citizenships can only be granted to children of mixed marriages only if the wedding took place abroad. It is forbidden by law to grant citizenship to those born in the north but whose one parent came illegally to Cyprus (settler), the daily said, quoting the source.

Phileleftheros also reports that a government source said there have been no developments as regards the matter.

All the other dailies reported that head of the TC teachers’ trade union (KTOS), Sener Elcil, announced that after a year of struggle by his union and secondary teachers’ union (KTOEOS), the Republic would grant citizenship to these 529 people. Positive results were forthcoming, Elcil said, after a meeting last August with Minister of Interior Constantinos Petrides.

After that a unit was established in the ministry to deal with the issue, he said. Elcil told the daily they had also met Foreign Minister Nicos Christodoulides, who told them that he would offer any help needed.


More paintings of GCs to be handed over

Politis
CBMs

OVERVIEW

TC artist Umit Inatci said that 100 more artworks, this time found mainly in Kyrenia, are to also be returned to their GC owners, Politis reports.

Inatci, who had been pressing for the return of the artwork to their rightful owners since 2000, told the daily that it was first and foremost, a moral issue to him and not a matter of goodwill.

The artist has been asked to help identify some of the artworks that have no signatures on them since he knows the work of his GC colleagues well.

He said he hoped the decision for the return of these paintings in addition to the some 200 initially agreed by the two leaders last week, would encourage TCs who have in their possession such artwork do the same.

Inatci was able to convince in the past a TC who was trying to sell a painting by the renowned artist Xanthos Hadjisoteriou from Famagusta, to return it to its creator’s family, Politis reported.

The TC artist said he posted on his Facebook profile the photo of the painting on February 28 asking for help locating its owner, and Hadjisoteriou’s son who lives in China contacted him. Paris Hadjisoteriou is to travel to Cyprus in the summer to get the painting his father had made in 1964. The artist died in 2002.


DISY rushes to do damage control after ‘Turkish spawn’ comment

Alithia, Cyprus Mail, Politis
Human Rights

OVERVIEW

DISY leader Averof Neophytou on Tuesday said he would ask for the removal of his party’s Larnaca municipal councillor Georgios Lakkotrypis, who called Paphos citizens on social media “spawn of the Turks”.

Lakkotrypis, in a Facebook post, called Paphians “the only true Turks” as “Turkish Cypriots were Paphians who changed faith to save their properties. In other words, spawn of the Turks”.

Commenting under an article by Pafos Press, which referred to the comment as highly insulting, Lakkotrypis explained that his comment was referring to the Ottoman period in Cyprus, when “Turkish Cypriots were born”, after Paphos residents converted to Islam and “became Ottomans to save their properties”.

Following multiple calls to position himself on the matter, Neophytou initially characterised the comment as “unacceptable, but one for which he has apologised”.

Later, Averof tweeted that “the position of G. Lakkotrypis has no place in the political discourse of DISY. Different views are respected but racist speech cannot be tolerated,” adding that on Wednesday, he will request the party’s executive office to remove Lakkotrypis from the council.


Technical Committee on Gender Equality relaunches activities

Alithia
CBMs

OVERVIEW

Co-chairs of the bicommunal Technical Committee on Gender Equality, Xenia Loizidou and Mine Yucel, announced on Monday that the Committee would relaunch its activities.

The announcement was made during an event organised at the Home for Cooperation by the PRIO Cyprus Centre and the Embassy of Ireland in Nicosia, to launch the report, ‘The Role of Civil Society and Gender in Reconciliation: Lessons from the Good Friday Agreement’. 

The Committee will focus on the issue of climate change. The Committee co-chairs said that women and the environment are the ones most affected by war and violence, noting at the same time that gender equality and climate change are two issues on which the UN are currently focusing. Climate change is therefore a problem of our times that concerns issues that can unite us, they said. In this framework, the Committee will pursue cooperation with the Technical Committees on the Environment and Education, and will hold contacts with the UNSG’s Special Representative in Cyprus, Elizabeth Spehar.
 
Spehar attended and addressed the event.