GCC Press Review 28 Jun 2019

Front Page Headlines


Central Bank and (Finance Minister) Harris (Georgiades) fear consequences

The opposition insists on law changes on foreclosures. The Central Bank sees risk to financial stability. The finance minister is calling for a postponement of the discussion until the implementation of the Estia.

  • Akinci puts hurdles for the time being – ‘Elections’ after the inventory on Varosha. Varosha refugees gather at the Presidential Palace today at 18:00.
  • They are pushing for choosing sides – What is the logic behind the Menendez bill.
  •  USA-Turkey: Optimism for a lift of the deadlock


Plan B through Famagusta

We reveal Anastasiades’ letter to Guterres. He reports Turkish actions. He suggests a technical committee for (the) study (of the Varosha case). Event on Famagusta.

  • Navtex by Cyprus to hinder the Yavuz – Nicosia announced nautical exercises in ‘Soupia’.
  • Akinci strikes back on Famagusta
  • They are preparing the Yavuz for drilling in Karpasia
  • 3,000 migrants arrived through Tymbou during the first trimester of 2019 – (Interior Minister Constantinos) Petrides in Brussels.


The president remembered Guterres

President Anastasiades, after reneging many times and being in a difficult position and in an impasse, felt the need to send a letter to the UN Secretary-General asking for his contribution to end the unlawful actions of Turkey and to resume negotiations. Anastasiades meets today with (UNSG’s Special Representative Elizabeth) Spehar.

  • Famagustians gather outside the Presidential Palace
  • The bicommunal crew of the Committee on Missing Persons (CMP) discovered human remains in a well

Cyprus Mail

MPs told not to mess with repos

Fin Min urges delay in vote to change the foreclosure law pending Estia developments.

  • Former Erdogan allies plan new political party


New real estate values

The land registry completed the general re-evaluation (of real estate), it will be announced next week. Values will be reduced compared to 2013. We will be in a position to know at any moment the true value of our properties.

  • Conflict over Famagusta – What did the TC leader tell Ersin Tatar and Kudret Ozersay. “Decision on Varosi only in consultation with me,” Akinci tells the ‘government’ while EVKAF claims the entire Varosi is its property.
  • What did the president tell the UN Secretary-General on the Cyprob

Main News

US Senate lifts arms restrictions on Cyprus

Cyprus Mail online
External Security, Regional/International Affairs


The US Senate voted on Thursday to lift the decades-old arms restrictions against Cyprus with the adoption of an amendment introduced by Democratic Senator Bob Menendez to the FY20 National Defense Authorization Act, the Cyprus Mail online reported on Friday morning.

The lifting of the embargo involves only US military articles and military services requested by the government of Cyprus and not transfers on Cypriot soil of American made equipment for the Turkish army, the “Turkish Cypriot Forces” or Eldyk.

The amendment passed by the Senate uses identical language to the East-Med Act bill that was approved by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Tuesday, requiring Cyprus to continue reforms on anti-money laundering regulations and continue efforts to deny access to its ports to Russian military vessels. But it allows the President of the US to waive this requirement for one economic year, if it’s to the interest of the US to do so.

In a statement following the adoption of the amendment, Senator Menendez said the Senate has “shown our partners in Cyprus and around the world that the United States is committed to meeting the eastern Mediterranean’s challenges and opportunities.

“With Cyprus seeking to deepen its strategic partnership with the United States, it is in our national security and economic interest to lift this outdated decades-long arms restriction that are no longer helping US security objectives. I look forward to continue working with my colleagues to ensure we usher a new era for an eastern Mediterranean architecture rooted in shared security and prosperity,” he added.

According to the news portal, the legislation also determines that by obtaining S-400 Russian missiles Turkey will not be allowed to receive F-35 fighters or participate in the F-35 production programme. In addition, the bill asks the President of the United States “to fully implement the Countering Russian influence in Europe and Eurasia Act of 2017 by imposing and applying sanctions to any individual or entity determined to have engaged in such significant transaction as if such person were a sanctioned person for purposes of such section.”

The Senate has shown Cyprus and other partners that the US is committed to meeting the East Med ’s challenges and opportunities.
>> Since Cyprus wants to deepen its strategic partnership with the US, it is in the Americans’ national security and economic interest to lift the outdated arms embargo that no longer helping US security objectives.

Turkey has set sail for Plan B, Anastasiades tells Guterres

Alithia, Cyprus Mail, Haravgi, Phileleftheros, Politis
Negotiations Process, Territory


The dailies report on a letter President Nicos Anastasiades sent this month to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on the Cyprus problem, while Phileleftheros has an exclusive article on a second letter the president sent the UN official this week on the issue of Famagusta.

In the meantime, Anastasiades was to meeting on Friday with UN Special Representative, Elizabeth Spehar, who asked to meet him ahead of the discussion on the renewal of the UNFICYP mandate by the UN Security Council next month, the papers report.

According to Cyprus Mail online on Friday morning, the meeting was postponed until on July 8 but no reasons were given for the postponement.

According to Phileleftheros, in a letter to Guterres sent last Wednesday, Anastasiades reports the actions of Turkey and of the TC leadership over Famagusta.

He said that they are now implementing the Plan B announced after the Conference on Cyprus in Crans Montana in 2017 whose one of its main goals was opening the closed-off town of Varosha under Turkish administration.

Guterres had reassured Anastasiades in response to another letter sent in August 2017 that the UN position on Varosha was the same and is defined by the relevant UN resolutions, the paper reported.

In his latest letter Anastasiades said that based on what has been said by the Turkish side on an inventory on Varosha, it is clear that the whole issue is part of Turkey’s Plan B aiming at resettlement of the closed-off town under the military occupation. Such plans are not in line with the relevant UN resolution, he said, according to Phileleftheros.

Such actions are against any efforts for a viable solution to the Cyprus problem and ought to be immediately rejected by the international community, he said, adding that the numerous calls by the Republic of Cyprus for the return and resettlement to Varosha of its legal residents under the UN have been turned down by Turkey.

He also reportedly repeats his proposal on Famagusta he had submitted in writing also to TC leader Mustafa Akinci concerning setting up a bicommunal technical committee for the redevelopment and resettlement of Varosha, allowing foreign and Cypriot experts, including GCs, to carry out technical studies, seek EU funding for the studies and call on the UN to assist in the technical part. He also said that the area ought to be fully demilitarised.

Anastasiades expressed hope the leader of the TC side would respond positively to his proposal which could be a confidence building measure and reiterated his commitment to continue cooperating with the UN to keep the prospects of the resumption of talks alive, Phileleftheros reports.

The other papers report on a letter Anastasiades sent Guterres in June 14 over Turkish provocations in Cyprus’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

Government Spokesman Prodromos Prodromou told the Cyprus News Agency on Thursday that in that letter, Anastasiades has asked Guterres for his support to restore the conditions that could lead to a resumption of negotiations.

According to Prodromou, Anastasiades, responds to Ankara’s claims that its actions in the Eastern Mediterranean are supposedly based on international law. He also underlines that the UN should defend its Law of the Sea, Prodromou said.

He added that Anastasiades said in his letter he was up against Turkey’s aggression which challenges the sovereign rights of the Republic of Cyprus and that , unfortunately, the effort by the UN Secretary-General’s envoy, Jane Holl Lute, did not appear to yield any results on reaching the terms of reference for the resumption of talks.

In view of the fact that there is no agreement on the terms of reference, Anastasiades said in his letter he proposed to Lute a meeting with Akinci in her presence while he agreed to and welcomed Lute’s proposal for a meeting in the same composition as in the Crans-Montana conference. He also  recalled in his letter that during his meeting with Guterres in Beijing earlier in the year, he had proposed that he and Akinci meet with Guterres himself.

Prodromou said the president notes in his letter that he has put forward constructive proposals, such as his proposal regarding the TCs’ request for a positive vote, his proposal for decentralisation of powers and his proposal for a parliamentary system while in response to the call for adoption of more CBMs, he has submitted 21 proposals, the papers report.

Following reports on Thursday in Politis that Anastasiades had sent Guterres a letter and Prodromou’s statements on the content of the letter parties said they would like to be thoroughly briefed of its exact content, some of the papers report.

DIKO called for the National Council to promptly convene to discuss all the critical issues which could define the future of the country and of the people.

If the president truly wants to achieve even a basic form of internal unity, he ought  to provide information and be “willing to discuss, listen and ponder, so that we can reach decisions,” DIKO said in an announcement.

AKEL spokesman Srefanos Stefanou said that Anastasiades ought to brief political forces about the full content of the letter. “We want to know exactly what the president says to the UN Secretary-General on the relaunch of the talks,” he said. He added that from time to time, Anastasiades had raised various terms and conditions for the resumption of negotiations, which basically annulled what the UN Secretary-General is asking for as regards the resumption of negotiations.

Stefanou reiterated his party’s position that the resumption of talks should be on the condition that Turkey terminated its illegal activities in the EEZ.

EDEK said Anastasiades was right to send a letter to the UN Secretary-General. We believe however, that this cannot in itself be a deterrent to ending or hindering Turkey’s provocative actions.

“We call on the government to seriously consider the possibility of appealing to the Security Council as the illegal, condemnable and provocative Turkish behaviour jeopardises peace and stability in the Eastern Mediterranean,” the party said.

Head of the Solidarity Movement Eleni Theocharous said that no matter which of the three ways proposed by the president for the resumption of talks is chosen, things will be led either to another talks shipwreck or acceptance of all Turkish conditions including discussion on the exploitation of hydrocarbons.

She said according to her experience so far on how easily the government gives in, she is not convinced that it will insist on the cessation of the Turkish illegal actions in order to achieve relaunch of the talks.

The fact alone that the government has launched efforts for the resumption of talks while Turkish provocations are at their peak, proves that the entire effort for so-called sanctions by the EU is a lie and a deceit, she said.

Haravgi reported that Anastasiades, forced to react to the risk of new faits accomplis from Turkey to the Cypriot EEZ, has sent Guterres a letter denouncing the illegal, provocative actions of Turkey and asking for help from the UN Secretary-General.

Anastasiades asked Guterres for his support to restore the conditions that could lead to a resumption of negotiations.
>> Anastasiades told Guterres that himself has done a lot to find a way out of the deadlock such as meetings with Akinci and Lute and with the UNSG himself & proposals for more CBMs and to address TC requests for a positive vote.
>> Anastasiades urged the UN to defend Unclos which is its own convention after all.

Wants the National Council to convene to discuss all the critical issues which could define the future of the country and of the people but to do that, Anastasiades must be willing to discuss, listen to the parties’ opinion and ponder on things, if he truly wants unity that is.

Stefanou (AKEL)
Anastasiades must brief parties on the full content of the letter since it would be interesting to know what exactly he told Guterres given that in the past the president had raised terms that annul what the UNSG is asking for the resumption of talks.

 Agrees with Anastasiades’ move to send Guterres a letter but this is not enough to put a stop to Turkey’s actions.
>> Wants the government report Turkey to the UN Security Council over her actions that put peace and stability in the East Med at risk.

Theocharous (Solidarity Movement)
It doesn’t matter which way will help relaunch the talks since they will end up in another disaster anyway or to the GC side accepting all Turkish conditions including discussing exploitation of hydrocarbons.
>> Given how easily the government gives in, not convinced talks would restart only after Turkish illegal actions cease.
>> That Anastasiades is trying to have the talks relaunched while Turkish provocations are at their peak, proves that the government’s efforts to allegedly see sanctions by the EU is a lie and a deceit.

Galanos: Ozersay stabbed Anastasiades to the back

Alithia, Cyprus Mail, Haravgi, Phileleftheros, Politis
Territory, Property, Negotiations Process


Famagusta Mayor Alexis Galanos on Thursday that the announcement made by the TC ‘deputy prime minister and foreign minister’ Kudret Ozersay to open the fenced-off city of Varosha was a stab in the back to Anastasiades with whom he had dinner only days ago.

During a press conference where he called for mass participation in the event organised by his municipality outside the presidential palace today, Galanos also said the TC announcement on Varosha was a blow to efforts to restart the Cyprus talks.

He said that he considered Ozersay the protagonist behind this move and that he expected Akinci to differentiate himself from it.

Galanos also said it was time the government took action. He is to meet with Anastasiades during the protest to hand over a statement about what Famagustians expect him to do. He said they expected the president to make representations to the UN Security Council, the EU and elsewhere and ask for the involvement of the UN Secretary-General to implement UN resolutions and decisions. The municipality itself would make representations to the embassies of the member countries of the UN Security Council, the US, UK, France, China and Russia, and to political parties.

The Famagusta mayor spoke of psychological warfare and a war of nerves that started with the violation of the sovereign rights of the Republic of Cyprus in the EEZ and has now been extended to the issue of Famagusta. It is the promotion of plan B, it is illegal and unfair said Galanos.

He said that they must not allow this to happen.

Haravgi reports that the two Famagustian football clubs, Anorthosis and Nea Salamina have called on their fans to attend the event.

The dailies also report on the statements by Akinci after his meeting on Thursday with Tatar and Ozersay where he was briefed of the ‘cabinet’ decision on Varosha.

Phileleftheros reports that Akinci strikes back. The daily said the TC leader seized the opportunity to make clear that any decision on Famagusta goes through him.

According to Politis, Akinci said that as long as he is ‘president’ any move on Varosha will be in accordance with UN. The daily also reports that Akinci’s statements show that he is keeping the Famagusta issue in the frame of the pre-election campaign in view of the 2020 ‘presidential elections’ while he is not hiding his pessimism about the possibilities of opening the city as a CBM referring to ‘stories of the past’.

Alithia reports that Akinci was in a confrontation with the ‘government’ over Varosha.

Phileleftheros, Alithia and Politis report that EVKAF, in a paid ad in the TC press, insists that it is the biggest property owner in Cyprus and that it lost billions in proceeds but also properties worth billions of euros. The religious foundation also said that it ought to receive billions for its property in Varosha, which belongs to it, the dailies reported.

Galanos (Famagusta Mayor)
Ozersay’s announcement on Varosha was a stab in the back to Anastasiades considering they had dinner only days ago & a blow to efforts to restart the talks.
>> Believes Ozersay is behind the Varosha move & expected Akinci to keep a different stance on the matter.
>> The move is the culmination of psychological warfare that started with the violation of the sovereign rights of the RoC in the EEZ & part of the promotion of Turkey’s plan B which is illegal and unfair and must be prevented.
>> It is about time the government took action. Anastasiades must take the matter with the UN Security Council, the EU & ask for the involvement of Guterres to implement UN resolutions and decisions.

It is he who decides on any moves concerning Famagusta.

Debate on US bill amendment ongoing

Haravgi, Phileleftheros, Politis
External Security, Regional/International Relations


The debate on the last-minute amendments in the US bill calling for a lift in the arms embargo on Cyprus and with the provision that Cyprus must deny docking facilities to Russian military vessels continues, according to the papers’ reports.

Politis said that the main question everyone is discussing is whether the time has come for Cyprus and other countries of the region to pick a side in developments in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East.

Most parties and analysts believe the US, through the bill amendment are attempting to intervene in Cyprus’ choices, the daily said.

Citing diplomatic sources, the daily reports that the bill is deemed as very good by the government if one excludes the amendment in question.

Politis, that asked the opinion of four analysts on the matter, reports that their common assessment is that the amendment is an effort to intervene in the internal matters of a sovereign state such as the Republic of Cyprus.

Phileleftheros and Haravgi report that main opposition AKEL said that the problem is not so much the amendment but the entire bill that is harming the vital interests of the Republic and relations with other states just as important as the US.

Haravgi also reports that AKEL continues to exert pressure on the government to reveal what has agreed with the US behind closed doors.

The party announced that its MP, Giorgos Loukaides, has submitted two parliamentary questions calling on the government and ruling DISY to give explanations on all that is being promoted in connection with the presence of the US on the island.

Loukaides has asked the government to give explanations on the statement of intent on security and defence it signed with the US in November 2018 and whether it is linked with the solution of the Cyprus problem or the bill in question.

He also called on the government to say whether it is aware of works carried out at the British bases for the construction of a massive military infrastructure which will be serving the military needs of the US. If yes, is it part of the government’s agreement with the US and has the government assessed the geopolitical consequences to the goal of a future removal of the British bases? Loukaides asked, according to Haravgi.

Politis reports that even ruling DISY has said through some of its members that the amendment is worrying. At the same time, however, the party says this should not overshadow the positive fact of the existence of the bill and its impact on the improvement of relations with the US and the upgrade of the role of the Republic in the Eastern Mediterranean.

The problem lies with the entire bill that is harming the vital interests of the RoC and its relations with other states just as important as the US.
>> Wants to know what the government has agreed on with the US behind closed doors.
>> Wants to know what the US-Cyprus statement of intent on security and defence entails and if it is linked with the solution of the Cyprob or the bill.
>> Wants to know if the government knows a massive military infrastructure is being built at the bases on behalf of the US and if yes, is it part of the statement of intent and, moreover, how does that affect a possible future withdrawal of the bases from the island?

 Concerned over the amendment but one should not overlook the importance of the bill and how it helps improve relations with the US and upgrade the role of the RoC in the East Med.

RoC issues Navtex in a bid to hinder the Yavuz drillship’s activities in its EEZ

Energy, Regional/International Relations


The paper reports that the Republic has issued a Navtex reserving a large sea area off Cape Greco that covers large part of blocks 3 and part of block 2 for marine exercises on July 1 and on July 10.

The south-eastern edge of the area reserved by the Republic, borders with the ‘Soupia’ drilling target where research drilling was hampered by Turkish warships in February 2018, the paper reports.

It is evident that the Navtex is preventive and responds to Turkish threats of transferring the Yavuz drilling rig to an area of block 3 of the Cypriot EEZ in order to continue to challenge the EEZ, an effort began by hampering drilling in the ‘Soupia’ and to justify the then actions.

It is however striking that Turkey, at least until late yesterday, had not reacted as usual with a so-called anti-Navtex with which it regards the Navtex by the Republic as void, Phileleftheros said.

Although not mentioned, it is very likely that the planned exercise involves a joint exercise involving the navy of another country, the daily said, adding that
French warships have been sailing in recent days south of Cyprus in an area off the coastline between Limassol and Larnaca, while one of them is at the Limassol port.

The daily also reports that it has received a reply by French company Bourbon Offshore to questions it had asked in connection with a collaboration between its vessel, the Bourbon Topaz that provides support on offshore oil drilling, and the Yavuz.

The company said its vessel was indeed anchored in Antalya, but has already left and is on its way to the North Sea. We have no contract for further cooperation with the Yavuz, the company said according to Phileleftheros.

The vessel has arrived in Antalya at the beginning of the week and was transferring equipment to the Yavuz for a few hours on Wednesday, the daily reported.

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