GCC Press Review 5 Sep 2019

Front Page Headlines


Charity for those who lost money in the haircut on bank deposits to buy coffee

They will receive 5 to 6 cents for every euro they lost at (the now-defunct) Laiki bank. Tender competition by the Central Bank to find a liquidator. Distribution to the depositors of the Bank of Cyprus’ shares package is to be looked into.

  • They are looking for the formula in the right words – Insistence by Lute for clarity of the Terms of Reference. Thorny issues in the way to achieving an agreement on the text.
  • Initiative: Cross-party ‘Decision for Peace’


The message has arrived from Ankara

Turkish obstacles make things hard for the text on the Terms of Reference. Today will be a decisive day for Lute’s mission.

  • ‘Decision for Peace’ and pressure for a BBF solution
  • War of nerves by Ankara – New Navtex messages for Paphos-Rhodes.
  • Euroasia Interconnector under strict surveillance


Zero sentences for corruption cases

Cypriot authorities have not yet issued rulings on three cases sent to them by the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF). They have ruled on two cases and have dismissed two more with zero sentences. In the meantime, according to reports by the International Observatory the president did not give an answer yesterday either and the issue is being referred to parliament.

  • Consultations continue on the Terms of Reference
  • Group ‘Decision for Peace’ and reunification – They are informing the citizens on the BBF solution.
  • Temporary solutions on halloumi – The lawsuits on the trademark are being withdrawn.
  • Israel is conducting an election campaign in Cyprus

Cyprus Mail

Ambitious plan for 70,000 trees

Massive tree-planting drive to combat climate change.


Difference in philosophy?

Guterres is asking from the two sides Terms of Reference that would lead to a new Conference (on Cyprus) and not to new negotiations. The UN do not want ambiguities and gaps to be renegotiated in the final text, which may have caused the difficulties experienced in recent hours. A new meeting between the president and Lute today at 11.30 am. President Anastasiades: We seek conditions for resuming a creative dialogue.

  • ‘Decision for Peace’: They join forces to support a BBF solution
  • Land registry files: The interior ministry confirms the disciplinary probe

Main News

Lute continues effort on ToR

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


Consultations between UN special envoy Jane Holl Lute and the two leaders will continue for the fifth day in a row, after the procedure hit a snag on Wednesday. According to Thursday’s press reports, the TC side raised the issue of inserting clarifications in the text on the matter of effective participation which was not accepted by the GC side.

According to Politis, just when the GC side thought all issues have been agreed on, an issue arose on the wording and the content of the Terms of Reference (ToR).

Citing diplomatic sources, the paper reported that the basic core has been agreed on but on Tuesday the TC side raised an issue as regards clarifications in the text on TC effective participation which was not accepted by the GC side since it was not part of the agreement framework reached between the two leaders in their informal meeting of August 9.

Lute had informed the sides last Sunday that she would stay on the island for as long as it takes until both sides reach an agreement, Politis reported.

According to Alithia, President Nicos Anastasiades, refraining from commenting on whether there are problems in the procedure, said on Wednesday evening that the aim is to reach an agreement on the ToR to allow the resumption of a creative dialogue.

The daily reports that the reason Lute extended her stay is because the UN want an airtight text that would not leave room for renegotiation of any of its points.

Citing information, the paper reported that Lute has been instructed by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to stick to paving the way for a new Conference on Cyprus and not a new process of negotiations on the whole of the Cyprus problem. Guterres expects that the ToR on which the two leaders will agree on will not open a new circle of negotiations on issues that have already been discussed and on which there are agreements, but one which will close all pending issues, Alithia reported.

Phileleftheros reports that Ankara and Akinci are putting obstacles to the procedure by attempting to include in the text points which, according to the initial understanding, were not to be included.

Akinci is attempting to include in the wording a reference on the issue of political equality and effective participation arguing that it is nothing more than the relevant provisions of UN decisions, the daily reports.

This development occurred after Akinci’s telephone communication with Ankara to inform the Turkish government that they are close to an agreement. After this contact, it seems Ankara made their own suggestions to Akinci, changing the situation and overturning the final text on which the two sides seemed to initially agree; a simpler form with references to the 2014 Joint Declaration, convergences, and the June 30 Guterres Framework, Phileleftheros reported.

According to the paper Lute will decide after Thursday’s meetings if she will leave Cyprus with or without the ToR since, according to the impression Nicosia has, these will be her last two meetings with the leaders, the paper said.

‘Solution still possible’, says new initiative pushing for BBF

Alithia, Cyprus Mail, Haravgi, Phileleftheros, Politis
Human Rights


The papers report that the new initiative ‘Decision for Peace’ which officially launched its operations on Wednesday, wants to push for a bizonal bicommunal federal (BBF) solution by giving proper information on what exactly this governance system is.

The group said during a press conference there is still a positive prospect for a settlement and that it wants to help promote the reunification of the island based on a BBF through contacts on both sides of the divide.

They said they aim to enrich the public debate with a number of common findings formulated through extensive and constructive dialogue between active citizens, party executives and politicians who come from different backgrounds and maintain different political and ideological approaches.

Former MP and attorney-general Alecos Markides, who is a member of the initiative said it was clear that there is no proper information on the workings of the BBF, a system of governance the two sides agreed on in 1977.

The initiative’s members also argued that the solution of the Cyprus problem will mark the beginning of a new era of peace and cooperation.

The group said the escalating provocations by Turkey should not be an excuse for cementing the status quo and that a BBF is the most suitable basis for negotiations since it would allow the two communities to cooperate at a federal level.

The cross-party group includes former foreign minister and DISY MP Ioannis Kasoulides and AKEL MP and ex-finance minister Kikis Kazamias. Former Limassol Mayor Andreas Christou is also a member of the initiative. The other members are Yiannis Panayiotou, Yiannos Ioannou, Giorgos Mesaritis, Gregory Konyalian, Irene Papayiannis, Themos Demetriou, Theano Kalavana, Nikos Mesaritis, Xenia Constantinou, Panayiotis Stavrinides and Haris Psaltis.

Concerns by Cyprus-Israel over fate of EuroAsia Interconnector

Energy, Regional/International Relations


The daily reports that a high-ranking Israeli security official is in Cyprus for consultations as regards the serious problems that have arisen and pose even the threat of cancellation of the EuroAsia Interconnector project.

The project concerns an underwater cable to connect Israel’s electricity grid to that of Cyprus and Greece via Crete and through Greece to the European electricity grid.

The problem lies in Greece’s decision to carry on with its own cable outside the EuroAsia Interconnector and with different technical characteristics. The Greek government is expected to make a final decision next month.

Government sources told the daily if the project is cancelled, not only Israel but Cyprus too would be isolated since the country’s energy security would increase significantly through the underwater cable that would connect it to Europe.

Possible cancellation of plans means the perpetuity of electricity isolation since Cyprus’ closer border is with Turkey. Israel too is surrounded by countries with which it cannot cooperate in the field of electricity, hence the meeting between the two countries on the matter, the daily reported.

Phileleftheros also reported, citing sources, that Turkey is closely monitoring developments on the EuroAsia Interconnector as well as the pseudo-government since they are promoting their own project, an electrical connection between Akkuyu and the occupied village of Klepini through a 94 km long electricity cable. For that reason, a team has been set up in the office of ‘prime minister’ Ersin Tatar promoting the issue of the electricity interconnection and is constantly collecting information on developments in relation with the EuroAsia Interconnector.

A failure of the European power line would strengthen the chances of the financial viability of their own project, since now that the free and the occupied areas’ electricity grids are fully interconnected, any power cut in the free areas would mean drawing electricity from the occupied areas through the Turkish cable, the paper reported.

MEPs seek EU funding for CMP & Cultural Heritage

Alithia, Phileleftheros, Politis
CBMs, Human Rights, EU Matters


According to the dailies, the six Cypriot MEPs have successfully pushed for an increase in EU financial aid to the Committee on Missing Persons (CMP) and the Technical Committee on Cultural Heritage.

The Cypriot MEPs have jointly tabled an amendment which the European Parliament’s Committee on Foreign Affairs approved, on increasing by €3m the EU budget for 2020 to support the work of the CMP and the Cultural Heritage Committee. Their proposal will now have to be approved by the EP’s Committee on Budgets.

The six Cypriot MEPs said in an announcement that the increase of the budget would enable the two bodies to carry on with their work unhindered.

Cooperation to bust bicommunal hunting dog theft ring

CBMs, Internal Security


The daily reports that a bi-communal group seems to be behind the theft of hunting dogs from the government-controlled areas which are later sold to hunters.

According to the paper, police sought the help of the Technical Committee on Crime after it transpired that a stolen car found in Peyia carrying six hunting dogs belonged to an 82-year-old TC man.

Police officers had tried to stop the car early on Wednesday in Peyia for a check but the driver sped off and escaped. The vehicle was later found parked in a banana orchard in the area. It is believed two young men were the driver and passenger of the vehicle.

The car’s licence plates were found to be fake ones, but after finding inside the vehicle TC licence plates, it emerged the car belongs to an 82-year-old TC man, against whom an arrest warrant was issued. Police believe they are on the tracks of a bi-communal dog theft ring that operates on both sides of the divide, the paper reported. It added that just before the start of hunting seasons, a large number of dog thefts are being reported. The stolen dogs are sold to hunters in other areas for large sums of money.

‘Famagusta Land registry probe not related with properties in north’

Property, Human Rights


The daily reported that while the interior ministry confirms there was a probe as regards a civil servant who moved files of the Famagusta land registry, the case does not concern GC properties in the occupied areas.

In response to reports in Phileleftheros and Alithia on Wednesday on the issue, the interior ministry said in an announcement that the probe against a land registry official did take place but that the moving of the files had to do with the reaction by some employees to the decision to move the offices of the Famagusta land registry from Larnaca to Paralimni.

The ministry also said that the case does not seem to have anything to do with issues concerning the occupied areas, the paper reported.

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