GCC Press Review 22 Mar 2019

Front Page Headlines

Politis

Three-tier employees and the weakest link (CyBC)

‘Researchers’ are being paid to write questions for a television quiz show. We are paying local productions expensively due to the handsome pay of the permanent staff. They did not follow PwC’s advice on layoffs while executives’ annual salaries reach €861,000.

  • Aphrodite (gas field): Let the companies figure it out
  • They maintain the… prospect: They disagree but have set a new meeting for April – (Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut) Cavusoglu says guarantees are necessary.
  • Trilateral + 1: The aftermath of the summit
  • Euroelections: We got stuck with the obligatory (vote)

Phileleftheros

They once again found a gap (in positions)

The Cyprus-related agenda on energy and security a thorny issue between the FMs of Greece and Turkey. (Greek Foreign Minister Giorgos) Katrougalos-Cavusoglu meeting on April 12.

  • Everyone, except AKEL, positive on the trilateral in Israel
  • Occupied Famagusta: Two more cultural monuments opened their gates

Haravgi

Journey of despair for kidney patients

Patients in need of dialysis are in despair. They change three buses to get to the hospital. Lease of a minibus as temporary solution.

  • Consultations ahead of (UN envoy Jane Holl) Lute’s report
  • Bicommunal rally against racism

Cyprus Mail

EU wrangles over short Brexit delay

Early text was torn up and rewritten, giving the UK two possible scenarios

  • Greece-Turkey agree to discuss guarantees April 12

Alithia

They disagreed on everything

Katrougalos-Cavusoglu meeting without results. The FMs of Greece and Turkey disagreed from the get-go but agreed to discuss the Cyprus problem on April 12. There seems to be no alignment of views on guarantees on the horizon.

  • (Foreign Minister Nicos) Christodoulides: “Things also take place away from the spotlight”

Main News

Greece-Turkey meeting highlights opposing views on Cyprob

Alithia, Cyprus Mail, Haravgi, Phileleftheros, Politis
Regional/International Relations, Negotiations Process, External Security, Energy

OVERVIEW

The meeting of the Greek and Turkish foreign ministers on Thursday in Antalya to discuss also the Cyprus problem highlighted the gap in opinion between the two sides on guarantees and energy, the papers report.

The two ministers will meet again in Athens on April 12 where Turkey is expected to present its ideas on the system of guarantees and discuss confidence-building measures (CBMs).

Following their meeting, Greek Foreign Minister Giorgos Katrougalos said they have agreed on starting, step by step, to hear the ideas on the mechanism that could be in place after a solution that could replace guarantees, but also set an agenda on the Cyprus problem.

The standing positions of Greece are the abolition of the anachronistic system of guarantees and the withdrawal of troops, Katrougalos said.

His Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu countered that guarantees were not anachronistic due to the unilateral drilling activities of GCs. For that reason, Turkey’s guarantee rights are more necessary than ever, he said.

He added that President Nicos Anastasiades had initially accepted the political equality of TCs, but has been rejecting it since the talks in Crans-Montana. Therefore, he said, it is not realistic to claim guarantees are outdated.

Katrougalos replied that the reason Greece was against guarantees and wanted them replaced was because they give “a unilateral possibility”.

As to the talks, Cavusoglu said that Crans-Montana failed because Anastasiades took a step back over a number of concerns he had and that after an unsuccessful conference, it would be a waste of time and energy to pick up from where things left off. That was out of the question, he added.

Turkey will continue these informal meetings to decide what to discuss and what the framework will be if new talks start, he said.

Katrougalos said there had been progress at Crans-Montana, since the international dimension of the Cyprus problem was put on the table for the first time. Greece, he said, focuses exclusively on the international dimensions of the Cyprus problem, and believes that governance issues should be resolved between the two communities.

On energy, Katrougalos said that the sovereign rights of the exclusive economic zone of the Republic of Cyprus are for both communities and recalled that the Cypriot parliament recently passed a law on the establishment of the Hydrocarbons Fund that will manage proceeds from the exploitation of natural gas. The Fund was a guarantee, he said.

He reiterated that each country has its rights within its EEZ recognised by the international law of the sea and that Greece believes Turkey has rights in all matters concerning itself.

Cavusoglu said he agreed that Turkey should not be excluded, adding that any programme that does not involve his country does not apply. Turkey has rights under international law, he said.

The Turkish minister said that they are not opposed to explorations and drilling by the GCs but the rights of the TCs must be guaranteed.

He added that since Anastasiades accepts that the TCs have rights but they would not be guaranteed, Turkey started its own exploration activities after receiving licence from the breakaway regime and will begin drilling in the near future.

Turkey, he said, has a duty to safeguard the interests of the Turkish Cypriots and this is a responsibility stemming from international agreements and the international law.

Foreign Minister Nicos Christodoulides said later he was briefed by Katrougalos on the outcome of his discussions with Cavusoglu and that the agreement for a meeting in April is an important development.

The April 12 meeting was a step in the right direction, Christodoulides said, adding that certain symbolic CBMs between Greece and Turkey may also help create the right climate.

Alithia reports that Christodoulides said there are developments on the Cyprus problem and that there have been developments backstage, away from the spotlight, in relation with Lute’s efforts, expressing hope there would be good news. 

He said that Lute should be on the island soon as she is to prepare a report for the UN Security Council on the terms of reference (ToR) and efforts for the resumption of talks. With the necessary political will, this goal is not a distant one, he said, adding that the government will have a clearer picture as to prospects concerning the ToR within the first 10 days of April.

Phileleftheros says that the two ministers realised there is a gap between their positions and that the Cyprus agenda concerning energy, security and guarantees is a thorny issue in the dialogue between Greece and Turkey.

Despite their disagreements, the two FMs agreed to set the agenda for the Cyprus issue in their next meeting which, it seems, will not be an easy matter, the daily said.

At the same time, it is clear that Ankara continues to keep the same pace she originally wanted on the Cyprus problem, while there is nothing so far to point to a resumption of the talks the soonest possible, Phileleftheros said.

Alithia said that yesterday’s meeting ended without any substantive talks on the Cyprus problem with the two ministers simply agreeing to discuss the issue in their next meeting in Greece. Cavusoglu’s statements lave no room for optimism for a shift in the standing negative Turkish positions on guarantees, it said.

According to Haravgi, the Turkish FM showed an even harder line on the Cyprus problem. The meeting in Greece will take place a few days before Lute submits her report to the UN Security Council, on April 15, the daily reported.

Politis referred to efforts by Katrougalos to keep the dialogue between Greece and Turkey on the international aspect of the Cyprus problem alive. The prospect remains, the daily said, adding that with the date of Lute’s return to the island still unknown, the Greece-Turkey meetings, aiming to shed light on a very important aspect of the terms of reference, seems helpful.

KEY ACTORS
Katrougalos (Greece)
>>
The anachronistic system of guarantees must be replaced as it gives a unilateral possibility. Also wants withdrawal of troops.
>> There was progress at Crans-Montana, since the international dimension of Cypob was put on the table for the first time.
>> Greece focuses exclusively on the international dimensions of the Cypob and believes that governance issues should be resolved between the two communities.
>>
The sovereign rights of the RoC in its EEZ are for both communities. The Hydrocarbons Fund is a guarantee for the rights of TCs.
>> Each country has its rights within its EEZ recognised by the international law of the sea and Turkey has rights in all matters concerning itself.

Cavusoglu (Turkey)
>> Guarantees are not anachronistic, they are more necessary than ever due to the unilateral drilling activities of GCs and their reluctance to recognise TC political equality.
>> Since the talks in Crans-Montana failed, out of the question for new talks to pick up from where things left off.
>> Turkey should not be excluded from energy plans as it has rights under international law. Any programme that does not involve Turkey does not apply.
>> Turkey is not against explorations and drilling by the GCs but the rights of the TCs must be guaranteed.
>> Turkey has a duty to safeguard the interests of the TCs as per its responsibility stemming from international agreements and the international law.

Christodoulides
>> Symbolic CBMs between Greece and Turkey may help create the right climate.
>> With political will, progress on agreement on ToR possible.


‘Trilateral partnerships not against Turkey’

Cyprus Mail, Haravgi, Phileleftheros, Politis
Regional/International Relations, Energy, Negotiations Process

OVERVIEW

Foreign Minister Nicos Christodoulides said on Thursday the trilateral partnerships are not directed against third parties, including Turkey, or aimed at militarising the region.

Assessing the outcome of Wednesday’s trilateral summit between Cyprus, Greece and Israel and also attended by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Christodoulides said on CyBC radio that it was all about energy security.

The three countries and the US, due to the presence of American energy companies in the region and due to the fact the Eastern Mediterranean has the potential to become an alternative energy corridor for Europe, have an interest in energy developments. It is within this framework that there is a will for cooperation, he said.

He stressed there was no discussion at the summit on the militarisation of the area. The message sent by the four countries was that the prospects in the region are such that they do not allow anyone to prevent the exploitation of these prospects, he added.

The minister also said the trilateral partnerships in the region are not aimed at isolating Turkey, but it is Turkey itself through its own actions in the Mediterranean which has become isolated.

He cited the example of the recent Eastern Mediterranean Gas Forum, where Turkey was the only country absent.

On statements by the AKEL leader that tripartite partnerships should have tangible results, including the Cyprus issue, the minister said they do.

The fact that the US had expressed interest in participating, he said, is a very concrete result for the importance of these tripartite formations. At the same time, he said, they are also helping the ongoing effort to solve the Cyprus problem. The Cyprus problem is the number one priority of Cyprus’ foreign policy and will continue to be until it is solved, he said.

Citing government sources, Politis said the summit was not expected to bring immediate changes to the Cyprus problem. And while it had significant results, since the bar was set very high on a number of issues the expected outcome was not reached, the source said.

According to an assessment by a diplomatic source, the daily said that the reference in the joint declaration of the four countries after the summit to “defend against external malign influences in the Eastern Mediterranean and the broader Middle East,” may have a double reading. Some rushed to declare it is indirectly aimed at Turkey, but there is also the opinion that these “malign influences” are in fact Iran, Russia and China. The reference was the input of the US and Israel, the daily said.

The source said that Pompeo’s presence at the summit was part of his tour in the wider region that also included visits to Lebanon and Kuwait and focused mainly on Iran. The summit was initially going to take place in Crete but it was moved to Jerusalem due to Pompeo’s visit which could be seen as US backing for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ahead of elections in Israel next month, the daily reported.

It was more or less expected there would be no mention of Turkey or the Cyprus problem in the declaration, but Cyprus was expecting that Pompeo would make a reference during statements on television stations. 

The source told Politis the diplomatic route was preferred in the end, due to the meeting of the Greek and Turkish FMs where the Cyprus problem would be a key issue. It will be difficult to see US mediation toward Turkey to ease the tension, the daily said.

KEY ACTORS
Christodoulides
>>
Trilateral partnerships are not aimed at militarising the region or isolating Turkey which is doing that to herself through her behaviour in the region.
>> They are helping in efforts to solve the Cyprus problem, which remains the top priority of Cyprus’ foreign policy until it is solved.


Satisfaction but also caution over trilateral summit results

Alithia, Haravgi, Phileleftheros
Regional/International Relations, Energy, Negotiations Process

OVERVIEW

Political parties, except main opposition AKEL, eye positively the results of the trilateral summit in Jerusalem, dailies report.

Ruling DISY said that the quadrilateral sends out a clear message as to the direction the region must point to which is enhancing stability, security, and peace.

It also reinforces Cyprus’ role in the region he said, and that the European orientation of the country is the only one that ensures security and growth.

AKEL said that though it is in favour of cooperation with states of the region, it is against any action that aims at turning Cyprus into a frontline outpost of the West and defence agreements that could intensify military tension within the Cypriot EEZ and the wider region.

The 10-minute Anastasiades-Pompeo meeting, the party said, yielded nothing new either on the Cyprus problem or energy security.

DIKO saw it a strengthening of the prospects of constructing a pipeline that will contribute as much as any other infrastructure project to regional stability and the EU’s energy security, excluding Turkey, as long as the latter remains outside the bounds of international legitimacy.

EDEK said that if the geostrategic factor is upgraded and utilized properly, it could prove to be a powerful mechanism in solving the Cyprus problem.

The Solidarity Movement, despite seeing a positive result, urged caution as to what the US and Israel will seek to gain in the future from Cyprus in exchange for their current support over its sovereign rights.

The Citizens’ Alliance said that the reference to security is very important in view of Turkish provocation. It also wants to know why there was no mention in the joint declaration on Turkish provocation in Cyprus’ EEZ.

KEY ACTORS
DISY
>>
The summit reinforces Cyprus’ role in the region.
>> The European orientation of the country is the only one that ensures security and growth.

AKEL
>>
In favour of regional cooperation but against actions that turn the island into a frontline outpost of the West or defence agreements that could raise tension in Cyprus’ EEZ.

DIKO
>> Summit enhances prospects of constructing a pipeline that will contribute to regional stability and the EU’s energy security. So long as Turkey does not respect international law, it must be excluded.

EDEK
>> If Cyprus’ geostrategic role is upgraded & utilised properly, it could help solve Cyprob.

Solidarity Movement
>> Urges caution over possible favours asked by the US and Israel in exchange for current support to Cyprus’ sovereign rights.

Citizens’ Alliance
>> Reference to security is very important. Wanted specific mention of Turkish provocations in Cyprus’ EEZ in summit’s joint declaration.


New proposal on Cyprus-Israel dispute over Aphrodite gas reserve

Alithia, Cyprus Mail, Politis
Energy, Regional/International Relations

OVERVIEW

Foreign Minister Nicos Christodoulides said on Thursday there has been progress on the issue of the dispute between Cyprus and Israel over the gas in the Aphrodite reservoir.

The field sits in the economic waters of the two countries.

Christodoulides said that progress was achieved in Jerusalem after Cyprus proposed a new approach to resolving the dispute. This would involve engaging the two governments as well as the concerned energy companies, he said, adding that the Israeli side responded well to the proposal.

He expressed the conviction that there would be a positive outcome soon.

According to Politis, the Aphrodite reserve extends to Israel’s EEZ and to the Ishai block which is being managed by a consortium headed by the Israel Opportunity company.

Citing sources, the daily reported that to end the six-year-old dispute, Cyprus proposed on Wednesday for two negotiation levels; one between the two countries, where they will continue consultations on a wider deal for joint exploitation of reserves that spread between their borders, and the other between the energy consortiums themselves, Noble-Shell-Delek that manages Aphrodite and Israel Opportunity. At this level the Cyprus Hydrocarbons Company will also take part as the representative of the state’s rights on the reserve in question.

Any agreement between the companies will have to be approved by the two governments, the daily reported.


Bicommunal rally against racism

Haravgi
Human Rights, Migration & Citizenship

OVERVIEW

AKEL is organising a mass bicommunal rally on Saturday against racism and fascism on the occasion of the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, observed annually on March 21. 

Τhe party invites all progressive citizens, migrants and refugees living in Cyprus  to join.

The march will start at 11am from the Ochi roundabout in the old part of Nicosia and will pass through Ledra street and end at Phaneromeni Square.