GCC Press Review | 7 Mar 2019 |

Front Page Headlines

Politis

Ruling on Co-op bank demise

The President will fully back the finance minister today. Heavy political responsibilities for Harris Georgiades and possible criminal responsibilities for three others. The (investigation) committee notes decades of mismanagement also before 2013.

  • ExxonMobil: Is it headed to Cronos now?
  • Missing persons: CMP (Committee on Missing Persons) foretells the end

Phileleftheros

Heavy responsibilities for (Finance Minister) Harris (Georgiades)

Political responsibilities and clear findings on criminal and civil cases in the report. Names and data behind the criminal demise of the Co-op. A large number of responsibilities also for (former CEO of the Central Cooperative Bank) Nicolas Hadjiyiannis.

  • Reporting Turkey to the UN for protection of the EEZ
  • Interior minister sends out an SOS on migration
  • The drillship used for Glafcos well left

Haravgi

Responsibilities burden Anastasiades and Harris Georgiades

The President hid the problems due to the elections. Criminal investigation for loan write-offs and Altamira. The sale of the Central Cooperative Bank was orchestrated through threats of a messy dissolution.

  • Paphos mayor acts like the Guardian (of TC properties)
  • The positions of the British, UN and EU on guarantors’ rights have not been utilised
  • AKEL raised issue of conduct at the municipal council over DISY councillor Giorgos Lakkotrypis

Cyprus Mail

Co-op: finance minister blamed

Harris Georgiades should have sacked ‘incompetent CEO’. Inquiry singles out finance minister. Political parties also held responsible for decades-long bad management.

  • Racist DISY councillor expelled from party

Alithia

Collapse of the Co-op bank: The findings put the blame on many!

Responsibilities across the board, including parties, successive governments, parliament, Co-op officials and President Anastasiades. ‘Biggest culprit’ is Harris Georgiades who refutes accusations. DISY shields the finance minister.

  • Natural gas: Glafcos opens roads
  • Shocking interview: Psychologist for relatives of missing persons

Main News

Government optimism over prospects of natural gas find

Alithia, Cyprus Mail, Haravgi, Phileleftheros
Energy, Regional/International Relations

OVERVIEW

Energy Minister Giorgos Lakkotrypis said on Wednesday that the natural gas find in the Glafcos well in Block 10 of the island’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) is expected to yield large revenues.

Speaking at the Sixth Eastern Mediterranean Gas Conference in Nicosia, Lakkotrypis said that in the coming weeks further work will be necessary to confirm the ExxonMobil discovery, which was announced on 28 February to be between 5-8 trillion cubic feet (tcf).

Further discoveries in the Calypso well in Block 6 and in the Aphrodite well in Block 12 serve to paint an overall picture of the potential within the Cyprus EEZ, he said.

Around five more drillings are expected to take place in the coming period with energy companies ENI and Total to confirm the natural gas deposits of the Calypso well and a reassessment of the capacity of Block 10. Lakkotrypis added that discussions regarding the licensing of Block 7 with ENI and Total will begin in the coming days.

Regarding the utilisation of the gas finds, he said that an announcement for Aphrodite is expected within weeks concerning the use of Egyptian terminals. The utilisation of the remaining discoveries remains open to all options, including through the EastMed pipeline, the creation of a land or floating liquefaction terminal (LNG) or any other option.

ENI vice-president for South Europe Carlo Vito Russo said that the new discoveries in the Cyprus EEZ fortify the already existing potential of the Eastern Mediterranean, confirming it as a world class hydrocarbon region.

Russo highlighted the importance of cooperation among states and companies in the region, noting that existing infrastructure in Egypt can be used to utilise gas discoveries, especially those of Blocks 10, 6, and 11, which neighbour the Egyptian Zohr gas field.

According to Politis, Cronos is expected to be ExxonMobil’s next drilling target within Block 10 since it is believed to have the same geological characteristics as Glafcos. Cronos seems to intrigue also the ENI-Total consortium since its geological structure stretches between Blocks 10 and 6, the daily said.

The Stena IceMax drillship that carried out the exploratory drillings in Block 10, left the Cypriot EEZ on Tuesday night, according to Phileleftheros.

KEY ACTORS
Lakkotrypis
>>
The gas find in Glafcos is expected to yield large revenues.
>> Discussions on the licensing of Block 7 with ENI and Total will begin in the coming days.
>> Five more drillings expected in the coming period.
>> Announcement on exploiting Aphrodite gas using Egyptian terminals expected in coming weeks.
>> Exploitation of discoveries remains open to all options, including through the EastMed pipeline and the creation of a land or floating liquefaction terminal (LNG).

Russo (ENI)
>> New discoveries in Cypriot EEZ confirm East Med as a world class hydrocarbon region.
>> Existing infrastructure in Egypt can be used to utilise gas discoveries, especially in Blocks 10, 6, and 11, which neighbour Egyptian Zohr field.


Arni: Pain of families of missing persons runs deep

Alithia, Haravgi, Politis
Human Rights

OVERVIEW

The Committee on Missing Persons (CMP)’s third member, Paul-Henri Arni, said that as time goes by the results in identifying remains of missing persons in Cyprus will not be increasing since witnesses pass away. However, the Committee is determined to carry on its mission.

In an interview with the Cyprus News Agency, Arni said that 45 years after the 1974 invasion and 55 years after the events of 1963-1964, the pain of the families of the missing in Cyprus has increased.
He said the CMP recently benefited from the services of a senior psychology specialist from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) who is contacting GC and TC families of missing persons in Cyprus who have not yet received remains of their loved ones and is preparing a report to show the resilience and depth of their suffering. This is the first time something like this is happening, he said, adding, the results will be handed over to the authorities with recommendations.
 
The expert interviewed more than 250 families so far over the last four months on both sides of the divide, covering about 25 per cent of all families concerned. Her report is expected to be ready in April.

The report will be given to the authorities to show them that even 55 years after the first disappearances – in the 60’s – and 45 years after 1974, these families still have psychological needs, he said.

The expert spent four hours with every family in their homes all over the island and brought back echoes of very deep suffering to this day, he said.

Arni said that based on oral presentations given by the psychologist to the CMP, the daily life of these families is very hard and the suffering is deep.
He referred to an 80-year-old man whose mother passed away a few years after the war. Her husband, the old man’s father, went missing but she continued to buy clothes for him, new suits, to carry on her life with him being present.

The man told the psychologist that he had taken his mother to the doctor thinking she was crazy and the doctor overprescribed her drugs. The lady died a few years after this, while he spent his entire life thinking that his mother was crazy. He burst into tears after the psychologist explained to him that his mother was not crazy, and that her behaviour was a coping mechanism. She continued to have rituals where the missing gets new clothing, in case he comes back, refusing the possibility of death.

Arni said the CMP identified and returned the remains of 927 persons, out of 2,002 in 13 years, which is 46 per cent. This is a good result compared to other countries such as Argentina with less than 20 per cent over 35 years and Lebanon where no systematic effort has started in the last 25 years, he said.
 
According to Arni, these results are good, but it was too little too late because between 1981 and 2006, the political will was not strong enough to allow the change of the mandate of the CMP into an operation, like it is today, to be able to locate, exhume, identify and return the remains.

The CMP was allowed to excavate when leaders understood that families needed this closure with ultimate proof the remains, he said.

After 13 years, the CMP is now at a stage in the project where there is a natural decline of results which is hard to understand for those who have not yet received their loved ones, according to Arni.

He also warned that witnesses are in their 80s and 90s, making this the last window of opportunity to find them.

Αs regards the missing persons of Assia, remains of whom were allegedly relocated to a landfill in Dikomo, Arni said that a Portuguese expert was in Cyprus in November for an assessment and completed a report with maps and charts of the landfill which was rehabilitated and transformed into a hill with trees on top.
He said that they hope to be able in a month to take a decision as to when to request the authorities to do the excavation, after they talk to witnesses and if they find the dirt road at the end of which they were told bodies had been buried.

KEY ACTORS
Arni (CMP) 
>>
As time passes, CMP results will not go up, while the pain of families has increased.
>> A joint CMPICRC report is being prepared to show the resilience & depth of families’ suffering and their psychological needs. Recommendations will be made to the authorities.
>> This the last window of opportunity to find witnesses who are now in their 80s and 90s.
>> 46% rate of identification & return in 13 years is a good result, compared to less than 20% over 35 years in Argentina & no systematic effort in Lebanon in last 25 years.


DISY municipal councillor expelled over ‘Turkish spawn’ comment

Alithia, Cyprus Mail, Haravgi
Human Rights

OVERVIEW

DISY expelled Larnaca municipal councillor Georgios Lakkotrypis on Wednesday after racist comments made on social media where he referred to Paphians as “spawn of the Turks”.

The move follows furore on social media on Tuesday after a Facebook comment by Lakkotrypis, who called Paphos citizens “the only true Turks”. “Turkish Cypriots were Paphians who changed faith to save their properties. In other words, spawn of the Turks,” he said. DISY chairman Averof Neophytou responded by requesting the executive office expel Lakkotrypis from the party. His request was unanimously accepted.

Haravgi reports that AKEL’s Larnaca municipal councillors requested that Lakkotrypis’ conduct be discussed by the municipal council and for measures to be taken.

The group said they had condemned similar behaviour by the same person in the past, the daily said.


‘Anastasiades must seize Guterres Framework opportunity for resumption of talks’

Haravgi
Negotiations Process, External Security

OVERVIEW

The GC side has failed to utilise Britain’s position, which is not a new one, that it no longer wishes to be a guarantor power, AKEL spokesman Stefanos Stefanou said on Wednesday.

Stefanou said in an announcement that Britain had said as much during the Demetris Christofias administration, while at Mont Pelerin 3, Britain maintained that the Treaty and Guarantee and any intervention rights must be abolished from the first day of the solution. Britain had the same position also in Crans-Montana, Stefanou said.

The issue is, however, that the GC side has failed to utilise this position of the UK, but also of the UN Secretary-General and EU, he said.

Unfortunately, Anastasiades failed to take advantage of that opportunity, which, according to the UNSG, was historic, leading him to say in his report that all the guarantor powers had been cooperative and that responsibility for the impasse lay with the two leaders, Stefanou said.

Even now, Anastasiades should utilise the Guterres Framework toward resuming the negotiation process, he said, adding that only in this way will Turkey face her responsibilities and either accept the abolition of guarantees and intervention rights, or be left exposed just like the GC side is now.

KEY ACTORS
Stefanou (AKEL)
>>
Britain told Christofias government it no longer wished to be guarantor power, while at Mont Pelerin 3 & Crans-Montana, it took a position in favour of the termination of the Treaty of Guarantee & any intervention rights from day one of a solution.
>> GC side has failed to utilise the UK, UNSG & EU’s positions on this.
>> Anastasiades failed to take this ‘historic’ opportunity, hence Guterres said guarantor powers were cooperative while two leaders were responsible for deadlock.
>> Even now, Anastasiades should utilise Guterres Framework to resume negotiations & force Turkey to face her responsibilities & either accept abolition of guarantees & intervention rights, or be left exposed, like the GC side is today.


‘Paphos mayor unilaterally decides on fate of TC property’

Haravgi, Politis
Property

OVERVIEW

AKEL’s Paphos branch accused on Wednesday Mayor Phedonas Phedonos of taking the place of the interior minister as Guardian of TC properties after arbitrary decisions concerning the management of TC property within his municipality.

The group in an announcement expressed their disagreement with the actions of the mayor in relation with the management of TC property located within the Paphos municipality’s jurisdiction.

They pondered on what ground did Phedonas act as Guardian of TC properties and expressed concerns that municipal crews are demolishing TC property for various reasons.

Such acts ought to be carried out by the service of TC property management, the group said, referring to unilateral actions on behalf of the mayor without first any consultations with the competent municipal committees and without the necessary permits.

AKEL intends on bringing the issue to the attention of the House refugee and watchdog committees, the group said.

It also called on the interior minister to state who sets policies as regards TC property in Paphos, him or the mayor? They also want to know how many TC properties Paphos municipality has requested to use since 2015 and how many of these have been utilised.

The group also asked the minister to look into whether construction and redevelopment work on this property was made after relevant permits were given.