GCC Press Review 27 July 2019

Front Page Headlines

Politis

Dowry of those affected by deposits’ haircut suffered a 37 % ‘haircut’

The assets of the solidarity fund were reduced by €43m. The value of property given to the fund estimated at €118m dropped to €75m. How the land registry explains the ‘dive’ in government real estate values.

  • Russian promises in Antalya – Russia-Turkey alliance in the Eastern Mediterranean. Moscow suggests presence in the Cypriot EEZ through Turkey.
  • And now a meeting on August 9
  • Fireworks: Everyone gives up

Phileleftheros

They are planting mines around the effort

Moves by the Turkish side are aimed at the non-start of the talks. Messages by the US, Russia at the Security Council.

  • We’ve been hit by the West Nile virus – Pay attention to mosquitoes.
  • Stella (Kyriakides) officially nominated (as the new EU Commissioner)

Haravgi

Launch of Estia to support banks

The Estia scheme which is being put in effect excludes those who will be deemed by the banks as non-viable. Those whose income is not enough for the banks to agree to include them in the scheme will be faced with foreclosures of their properties.

  • Bargains behind Stella’s appointment
  • Cooperation of Russian companies with Turkey in the Eastern Mediterranean
  • Varosha: Violation of the status quo while the government is watching
  • Cases of West Nile virus in Cyprus

Cyprus Mail

‘It sheds light on the truth’

Documentary on doping depicts an ‘unflattering image’ of football in Cyprus, Pasp says.

  • Man with West Nile virus dies in the north, health advisory issued in the south
  • Varosha move a ‘PR stunt’ expert says

Alithia

(Russia) is planting mines around the solution

Russia suggests guarantees by the Security Council but also the approval of a possible agreement by herself through the Security Council. Russia’s representative to the UN voted, as all other Security Council members, on the resolution for the renewal of UNFICYP’s mandate but hinted that his country wants the role of ‘observer’ and ‘controller’ of a possible agreement on the Cyprus problem. Nicosia welcomes with satisfaction the UNSC’s resolution, Ozersay is dissatisfied and disturbed.

  • Christos (Stylianides) departs Europe, Stella is headed there – The president has decided.
  • Varosha: Turkish moves will be brought before Akinci on August 9

Main News

Nicosia satisfied with UNFICYP renewal, weary of Turkish intentions

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

OVERVIEW

The government welcomed the renewal of UNFICYP’s mandate while the UN Security Council’s (UNSC) resolution was interpreted differently by the sides, the papers report.

In the meantime, TC moves on Famagusta are aimed at sabotaging efforts for the resumption of talks rather than the actual opening of the closed-off town, some of the papers report. President Nicos Anastasiades will raise the issue of Varosha during his meeting with TC leader Mustafa Akinci on August 9.

According to the dailies, the foreign ministry expressed satisfaction with the renewal of UNFICYP’s mandate, making note of the military infringements taking place in the buffer zone such as the issues in Strovilia.

Cyprus’ UN Permanent Representative Andreas Mavroyiannis also said on Thursday night, after the UN Security Council approved the relevant resolution that the mandate’s renewal was necessary as long as the irregular situation on the ground continues since it is necessary to have the presence of the peacekeeping force.

Following the Security Council meeting, the US representative Rodney Hunter said that Washington believed the renewal of UNFICYP’s mandate sent a message to the two leaders to “work with a sense of urgency for the resumption of the Cyprus talks.”

Hunter said that the US was disappointed by the lack of progress since the conference on Cyprus in 2017 at Crans Montana.

“The United States believes this new mandate sends an important message from the Security Council to the sides and relevant parties: that the leaders of the communities must work with a sense of urgency to resume full-fledged negotiations that will fulfil the hopes of the Cypriot people to reunify Cyprus as a bizonal, bicommunal federation with political equality, as set out in relevant Security Council resolutions,” he said.

The Russian representative, Dmitry Polyanskiy said that the time “has long become ripe” to increase the UN Security Council profile in the Cyprus reunification process.

Polyanskiy expressed Russia’s conviction that the mission “plays a key role by strengthening stability that is the necessary prerequisite for a direct dialogue between the Cypriot communities.”

He added, “We cannot but be concerned about the fact that after the termination of the international conference in Crans-Montana, the ‘period of reflection’ that the Secretary-General referred to in one of his reports, became protracted.”

He said that the current guarantee system that involves three foreign states does not contribute to Cypriots searching for an independent solution, adding that the existing system of security guarantees has to a large extent become anachronistic.

He expressed the view that “the most effective measures to ensure independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of unified Cyprus would be those made by the Security Council.”

“In the long term, it is the Council that will have to endorse the final agreements the sides will have come to,” he pointed out.

Polyanskiy also warned those who seek to drag Cyprus into geopolitical meddling that goes along with attempts to oust the traditional actors from the Eastern Mediterranean, “to stop doing this.”
“Such a tactic might entail dangerous escalation of tension in this rather sensitive region, and it by no means can promote a settlement in Cyprus,” he said.

Alithia, in its main article, said that Russia is trying to sabotage efforts for talks. Although Russia supported the renewal of UNFICYP’s mandate, its deputy Permanent Representative Polyanskiy sent through his statements some messages about the way his country views the Cyprus problem, repeating familiar but extremely worrying positions of Russia.

The paper said that Russia, which never exhibited any rush for a solution to the Cyprus problem, will now not hesitate to take advantage of its position as a permanent member of the UNSC to blow up the effort if the solution does not serve Moscow’s interests. The paper said Polyanskiy brings back the idea of the UNSC guaranteeing a possible solution to the Cyprus problem, which Turkey categorically rejects, but which also contradicts the GC position that a modern European state does not need guarantees.

At the same time he suggested that the UNSC must approve the final agreements, the daily said, arguing that Russia wants to have a say, under the cloak of the Security Council, on the solution.

Politis reports that if anything, what can be seen in the resolution is the insistence of the Security Council for further strengthening direct contact and cooperation between the sides as well as a clear expectation for engaging in negotiations.

The daily reports that TC ‘foreign minister’ Kudret Ozersay chose to focus mainly on the call by the UN Security Council to strengthen cooperation and mechanisms between the two sides. He even interprets the call as an opportunity for the sides to cooperate in an attempt to differentiate the status quo and mentions that cooperation before the solution, without waiting for an agreement, is necessary, the daily reported.

Phileleftheros also reports that the government and the occupation regime, through statements, each expect the other to show proof of willingness on the Cyprus problem while it is obvious they have a different approach as to the August 9 meeting between the two leaders.

Government spokesman Prodromos Prodromou said that it remains to be seen in the immediate future if Turkey has the will and means what she says regards the relaunch of talks. He said Nicosia expects to see actions so that the UNSG is able to play his role in September, as he expressed a willingness to do.

Prodromou also said that the Security Council resolution includes a clear reference to the solution framework and has given answers to the Turkish side.

Ozersay believes it is a shame the references made on the Cyprus problem in the UNSG’s report are not clear, the paper reported. He also said it was a waste of time entering negotiations without first making sure if there is a common vision for the future of the island.

On the issue of Varosha, some of the papers cite a source that told the Cyprus News Agency the government was closely following developments and that Anastasiades would raise the matter during his informal meeting with Akinci on August 9.

Phileleftheros also reports that Nicosia has reservations as to the true intentions of the Turkish side as regards the relaunch of the talks.

Citing diplomatic sources, the daily reports that moves on Famagusta do not concern the closed-off town per se, but relate to causing problems in the talks efforts.

Cyprus Mail quotes the head of the Council for Reconstruction and Resettlement, Nicos Mesaritis, saying the whole thing was nothing more than a PR stunt by Ozersay. He accused Ozersay of adopting a “Hitler approach”, not taking into consideration the pain of people who lost their lives there, and wanting to pass off as a leader who can even open Varosha.

Mesaritis said, judging by the photos, that a very small group visited Varosha and did not even carry pen and paper to take notes. He added that the group did not consist entirely of engineers who could carry out a proper recording of the buildings by priority, taking into consideration their condition and repair needs.

Resettlement costs for the entire closed-off town are estimated between €4bn and €5bn, he said, adding that the reconstruction of Famagusta was of great international interest since it was something unique worldwide, the paper reported.

KEY ACTORS
Foreign Ministry
>>
Nicosia satisfied with the renewal of UNFICYP’s mandate and the Security Council’s references to the military infringements taking place in the buffer zone in Strovilia by the Turkish army.

Mavroyiannis (Cyprus’ UN Permanent Representative)
>>
As long as the irregular situation in Cyprus continues it is necessary to have the presence of UNFICYP.

Hunter (US representative to UN)
>>
The US was disappointed by the lack of progress in Cyprus talks since Crans Montana & backs the UNSC’s call to the two leaders to work with a sense of urgency to resume full-fledged negotiations to reach a BBF with political equality.

Polyanskiy (Russian deputy representative to UN)
>>
The time is right for more involvement by the UNSC in the Cyprob process.
>> UNFICYP plays a key role by strengthening stability which is necessary prerequisite for a direct dialogue between the two communities.
>> Russia is concerned by the protracted ‘period of reflection’ since the Crans-Montana talks.
>> The existing system of guarantees on Cyprus involving three foreign states is outdated and does not contribute to Cypriots searching for an independent solution whereas UNSC’s measures would be more effective in ensuring independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of a unified Cyprus.
>> It is the UNSC that will have to endorse the final agreements between the sides.
>> Warns those seeking to drag Cyprus into geopolitical meddling paired with attempts to oust Russia who is a traditional actor from the East Med, to stop since it could lead to dangerous escalation of tension while it does not promote a Cyprob solution.

Ozersay
>>
Calls on cooperation between the two sides without waiting for an agreement to change the status quo.
>> Believes it is a shame the references made on the Cyprob in the UNSG’s report are not clear.
>> Believes it is a waste of time entering negotiations without first making sure if there is a common vision for the future of the island.

Prodromou
>>
It remains to be seen in the immediate future if Turkey has the will to act on her words as regards relaunch of the talks.
>> Nicosia expects to see actions from the Turkish side so that the UNSG is able to play his role in September as he expressed willingness to do so.
>> The UNSC’s resolution includes clear reference to solution framework & gives answers to Turkish side.


Russia-Turkey energy cooperation possible if formula found to benefit all

Haravgi, Politis
Energy, Regional/International Relations

OVERVIEW

The dailies report that Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak did not rule out cooperation of Russian companies with Turkey in the Eastern Mediterranean.

According to Haravgi, Novak told Anadolu news agency that in the case programmes are developed to benefit all sides in the Eastern Mediterranean, then Russian companies may decide to cooperate with Turkey in the region.

The minister said that Russian companies participate in successful energy programmes, arguing that in such cooperation initiatives economic interests determine priorities.

If programmes are developed for the commercial benefit of all sides in the East Mediterranean, then Russian companies may decide on cooperation with Turkey, he said, according to the daily.

Politis reports that Russia rushed to take advantage of the clear position of Brussels in favour of Nicosia in its tug-of-war with Turkey as regards the exploitation of natural resources in the Cypriot EEZ by announcing through its minister that cooperation of Russian companies in the research Turkey is illegally carrying out around Cyprus is not ruled out.

The daily reported that while Novak was in Antalya to participate in the joint committee for the financial cooperation between the two countries, he made unprecedented promises.

The paper said Moscow looks to the expansion of Russian involvement in energy matters in the  Eastern Mediterranean through Turkey as long as it is commercially viable and to the benefit of all sides. Politis recalled that Russian Rosneft is already involved in the development of Egypt’s Zohr gas field.

KEY ACTORS
Novak (Russian Energy Minister)
>>
Russian companies could decide to cooperate with Turkey in the East Med if commercially viable programmes are developed to benefit all sides.