GCC Press Review | 12 Mar 2019 |

Front Page Headlines

Politis

Getting closer to a deal with Noble on Aphrodite

The March 7 meeting bridged even more differences. Everything points to getting a positive result as the consortium assesses and submits the new contract. The government refutes claims that the proceeds will be only 100 million per year for a 15-year-period.

  • (Baris) Burcu: Anastasiades changes discourse

Phileleftheros

(Nicosia) wants a minimum agreement 

Nicosia’s aim is to reach an agreement at least on the terms of reference. First meeting between Greek foreign minister and Turkey tomorrow.

  • Attraction for foreign companies: Cyprus overcame obstacles on EEZ
  • European Parliament: Trench warfare over Turkey

Haravgi

The ‘best of the best’ of the Central Cooperative Bank (CCB) also got bonus benefits

The purchase of a limousine for Hadjiyiannis was ‘unnecessary’. Unnecessary spending while the CCB was under state support. Company credit cards were used to pay trips and restaurant meals.

  • (Anastasiades): “The TCs will have a positive vote there and where…”
  • Burcu: “There are no new ideas for solution. Anastasiades causes confusion to society”
  • Consensus among GCs and TCs on opportunities and programmes for social integration of migrants

Cyprus Mail

May seeks a deal as Brexit crunch looms

Northern Ireland backstop a thorny issue, PM faces defeat today, say Brexiteers

Alithia

Change of agenda

The rekindling of the Co-op issue creates new environment for the Euro elections. The low-key election campaign, which was lacking ‘heavy’ political issues, is now on fire and overturns party plans.

  • Baris Burcu: “Increased risk due to natural gas” – “There are no new ideas on the Cyprus problem, just old ones that bounced on the wall and came back.”

Main News

Two sides offer different interpretations of political equality

Alithia, Haravgi
Negotiations Process

OVERVIEW

The non-encroachment rule as agreed in the 2014 Joint Declaration regulates the TC positive vote, President Nicos Anastasiades has said, Haravgi reports.

In an interview with Haravgi, Anastasiades reiterated that he did not abandon the idea of a bizonal bicommunal federal solution and that his proposal on a decentralised federation was aimed at achieving that goal.

When pressed on giving a list of the issues where the TC positive vote would apply, Anastasiades referred to the February 2014 Joint Declaration he had signed with former TC leader Dervish Eroglu. 

The TCs will have a positive vote when and where a decision could harm either the TC community or the TC constituent state, he said.

“Among those agreed at the Joint Declaration with Mr Eroglu was the non-encroachment rule, regarding the federal government and the affairs of one or the other constituent state or by one constituent state into the other’s issues,” he said. “The only mechanism that could deter that is the TC positive vote in cases where there could possibly be intervention of the central government in the affairs of one or the other state.”

He added that the dialogue must resume from where it left off in Crans-Montana and that any refusal to do so was either by Turkey or the TCs. When he met with Akinci in April 2018, the latter had said that a resumption of dialogue was out of the question.

He reiterated that he would not accept just any demands by Turkey to move out of the standstill.

The reason of no progress during the past 45 years has been Turkey’s insistence on maintaining its intervention and guarantor rights and the presence of its troops on the island.

“Is it my fault that TCs want such a mechanism in place where one community will define, in essence, the other one’s decisions?” he asked.

As regards the rights of TCs on natural gas, Anastasiades said that it is a given that the two communities would jointly decide on the management of the natural wealth, since this power will remain with the central government.

He said that it was his government that tabled the bill on the hydrocarbons fund and insisted on it being passed into law the soonest possible.

“We never thought of usurping the TCs’ rights,” he said.

Meanwhile, the TC leader’s spokesman, Barish Burcu, criticised Anastasiades of wreaking confusion through his statements on political equality.

Speaking to Kibris TV, Burcu said that after Crans-Montana, Anastasiades has been making inconsistent statements that create confusion.

He said that withdrawing political equality from the basis of the solution would be a diversion from the goal of a federal solution. Political equality, he said, is one of the main parameters of the talks and cannot be put up for debate since it has already been accepted. Despite that, Anastasiades is trying to reject it.

According to Alithia, Burcu said Anastasiades is trying to present the right to veto as being akin to the TC positive vote and political equality.

The TC positive vote, he said, is the application of political equality and defines effective participation in the decision-making process while a veto is something that concerns the phase after a decision has been made. A veto has nothing to do with effective participation, Burcu said.

Alithia reports that Burcu said the stance of Anastasiades as regards natural wealth increases the risk and reduces the opportunity of natural gas becoming a field of cooperation.

The hydrocarbons fund was a decision taken by the GCs without TC participation, he said, according to Alithia.

He also said that those who talk of new ideas have bit Anastasiades’ bait.

There are no new ideas, just old ones that have bounced off the wall and come back, he said.

KEY ACTORS
Anastasiades

>> The non-encroachment rule as stipulated in the 2014 Joint Declaration regulates TC positive vote which would apply in cases where there might be possible intervention of the central government in the affairs of constituent states.
>> TheTC positive vote demand will mean one community defining the other one’s decisions.
>>  Turkey’s insistence on maintaining intervention & guarantor rights and on presence of troops on the island is the reason for no Cyprob progress in the past 45 years.
>>  The two communities will co-decide on the management of natural gas wealth post-solution. GCs don’t plan on usurping TCs’ rights.

Burcu
>> Anastasiades has been creating confusion through his statements on political equality.
>> Political equality is a main parameter of the talks. Cannot be discussed since it has already been accepted. Withdrawing political equality diverts from goal of federal solution.
>> Anastasiades is trying to equate a veto right with the TC positive vote and political equality. Veto has nothing to do with effective participation.
>> Hydrocarbons fund was a decision taken by the GCs without TC participation.
>> There are no new ideas on the Cyprus problem, just old ones that have been served up again.


Nicosia seeks deal on terms of reference

Phileleftheros
Negotiations Process

OVERVIEW

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu announced on Monday that he has met with UN envoy Jane Holl Lute.

Cavusoglu tweeted that he emphasised at his meeting with Lute, “that all options are on the table for a permanent solution in Cyprus; yet, in any case, political equality of the Turkish Cypriots is a must!,” Phileleftheros online reports.

The newspaper cited sources saying that the GC side seeks to reach an agreement on the terms of reference for the resumption of talks, even without a convergence on talks resuming in the near future.

But is seems that agreeing on the terms of reference will not be possible, either due to Turkey’s stalling as regards setting up a meeting with  Lute, or to the interpretation by TC leader Mustafa Akinci of the term political equality, the daily said.

The way the TC leader approaches the matter does not leave any margin for reaching an agreement on the terms of reference , the daily said. Apart from causing problems in reaching an agreement on the terms of reference, Akinci’s stance also provides cover for Turkey’s refusal to make any moves  that contribute to the resumption of talks.

But the way things currently stand, as regards the Cyprus problem, has facilitated Nicosia in focusing on its energy goals. President Anastasiades’ focus at the moment is on the trilateral summit that will take place on March 20 in Jerusalem in which the US Secretary of State, Michael Pompeo, will attend.

The Anastasiades-Pompeo meeting is deemed as crucial and will send out many messages, the daily said.

Phileleftheros also reported that the new Greek Foreign Minister, Giorgos Katrougalos, will meet on Wednesday for the first time with his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu in Brussels. The two ministers are expected to discuss the Cyprus problem. Katrougalos was to put forth the issue of guarantees and their abolition, that Turkey should not insist on launching the talks in June, and that Ankara had yet to set up a meeting with Lute.

KEY ACTORS
Cavusoglu
>>
All options are on the table for a Cyprob solution. But TC political equality is a must.


GCs, TCs share similar convictions on refugees

Haravgi
Migration & Citizenship, Human rights

OVERVIEW

Both communities share the same convictions concerning immigrants arriving on the island, according to an opinion poll by the University of Cyprus commissioned by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Cyprus, Haravgi reports.

According to the findings, around eight in 10 GCs recognise the needs of refugees for support in various aspects of life – including finding work, financial support, support for social networking and access to health structures.

Around seven in 10 TCs recognise the needs of refugees but the assessment of TC respondents as to the needs of refugees was statistically lower than that of the GCs.

This could be attributed to the fact that the majority of respondents in the GC community have rather neutral to positive feelings about refugees, but this is not the case for respondents in the TC  community, the daily said, citing the survey.

When analysing the TC respondents’ response, it appears that most agree that refugees in Cyprus need opportunities to participate in programmes that facilitate their integration into society, legal assistance and medical treatment, the daily said. The majority of TCs, however, said they disagreed with the idea that refugees in Cyprus needed financial support, support for housing, or for finding jobs, added the paper.


Cyprus and energy partners seek international support

Phileleftheros
Energy, Regional/International Relations

OVERVIEW

The energy ministers of Cyprus, Greece, Egypt and Israel will have the opportunity to meet at the upcoming energy conference organised annually in Houston, Texas where a forum will be set up between the gas producing countries of the region. The four ministers will seek support for the joint efforts of the countries in the region in the energy sector, Phileleftheros reports.

According to the daily, Cyprus was able to ward off so far the threats and not so diplomatic efforts of Turkey to discourage countries and companies from participating in exploratory activities for hydrocarbons within the island’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ).  

Cyprus was able to overcome obstacles and attract Noble, and energy giants such as French Total, Italian ENI and American ExxonMobil, but other countries in the region, like Israel, have not been as successful, Phileleftheros said.

Total recently told the Financial Times that it was not interested in Israel’s energy deposits while the latter has now turned again to US companies in a bid to attract interest in its next bid for licences.

The problem is that energy companies do not want to risk losing their billion dollar deals with Arab countries to work with Israel, the daily said, whereas Cyprus has been lucky as Turkey has not been as successful in putting pressure on foreign companies not to bid in licensing rounds for the island’s offshore blocks.