GCC Press Review 27 Sep 2019

Front Page Headlines

Politis

Will Antonio Guterres make the move?

Today’s meeting with Anastasiades will make the picture clearer. Commitment by the GC side for continuation of the procedure on the Cyprus problem. Information says the UN Secretary-General is willing for active involvement.

Phileleftheros

Guterres will handle the hot potato

The UN Secretary-General decides on the next steps on the Cyprus problem. Response by Anastasiades to Erdogan and those exerting criticism.

  • Akinci repeats himself
  • (Famagustians) They asked for return to their town
  • The cowardly murder of Elias Pelavas by EOKA B

Haravgi

The president should act with consistency

President Anastasiades, speaking before the UN General Assembly, referred to the BBF (bizonal, bicommunal federation) with political equality expressing readiness to respond to the UN Secretary-General’s new effort. He is advised though to show consistency and continuity. He must agree to the Terms of Reference for the resumption of substantive talks on the basis demanded by Mr. Guterres with whom he will have today a very crucial meeting.

  • Peaceful mass rally by Famagustians

Cyprus Mail

‘We won’t talk under duress’

Anastasiades decries ‘gunboat diplomacy’ by Turkey in speech to UN assembly.

Alithia

Anastasiades settling the score before the international community

The President of the Republic stressed his will and full commitment to the effort by the UN Secretary-General for the relaunch of the talks from where they left off in Crans-Montana for the solution of the Cyprus problem for political equality. The road is being paved for a trilateral meeting between Guterres, Anastasiades and Akinci.

Main News

Anastasiades: GCs accepted political equality as defined by UNSG

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

OVERVIEW

All papers on Friday report on President Nicos Anastasiades’ speech at the UN General Assembly where he stressed his commitment to a bizonal, bicommunal federal solution and responded to criticism earlier in the week by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on the stance of the GCs on the Cyprus problem.

Anastasiades said the new effort for a solution provided a glimmer of hope, stressing that the UN and the Secretary-General’s Good Offices Mission “is the only way forward for us.”

He also highlighted his support to this new effort by the UN Secretary-General to resume the process from where it left off in Crans-Montana. As regards the Terms of Reference (ToR) he said there is an understanding by the leaders of the two communities that they should comprise the 2014 Joint Declaration by the two leaders, the convergences achieved up to the talks in Crans-Montana, and the six-point framework of the UN Secretary-General on security and guarantees, troops, effective participation, territorial adjustments, property and equitable treatment, as presented on June 30, 2017 at Crans-Montana.

He reiterated that the aim was for the evolution of the Republic of Cyprus into a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation (BBF) with political equality, as set out in the relevant Security Council Resolutions and the High Level Agreements, with a single sovereignty, a single international legal personality and a single citizenship.

He said however that whilst the efforts of resuming the negotiating process are underway, recent actions by Turkey not only violate international law but severely undermine the aim of having a conducive environment for meaningful negotiations.

He added that while it was not his intention to embark on a blame game he was not allowed to accept the gunboat diplomacy, blackmail tactics and the attempts to force the GC side to negotiate under duress.

He wondered whether it was possible for the efforts of the UN Secretary-General to succeed while Turkey was violating the sovereign rights of the Republic of Cyprus in its internationally recognised exclusive economic zone (EEZ) and continental shelf. Or when Turkey threatens Cyprus, neighbouring states and energy companies, as regards the Republic’s energy programme.

As regards Varosha, he stressed that its distinct status was recognised in all reports of the Secretary-General and the UN operations in Cyprus, while the framework for the resettlement of the closed-off town by its lawful inhabitants under UN auspices was set as a priority both by the 1979 High-Level agreement between the leaders of the two communities and the UN Security Council Resolutions 550 and 789.

Anastasiades also said the Republic of Cyprus was confronted with an increasingly aggressive positioning of the Turkish military and an escalation of violations in the buffer zone arguing that all these developments make the role of the UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus and the fulfilment of its mandate more necessary than ever.

As regards statements from the same forum earlier in the week by Erdogan, Anastasiades said the Turkish president had “embarked on misleading allegations.”

On Erdogan’s reference that those who claim to solve the Cyprus Problem under the condition of ‘zero security, zero guarantees’ have ill-intentions from the beginning, he wondered if it was uncompromising and an ill-intention to aspire to establishing an independent and sovereign state, free from the presence of occupation troops and to terminating an anachronistic Treaty of Guarantees and establishing a robust system of security, based on the UN Charter and EU Treaties. The same was true on aspiring to establish a normal state in which all decisions will only be taken by Cypriots, free from foreign dependencies, he said.

As regards Erdogan’s allegations that the GC side refuses to share political power and prosperity with the TCs, Anastasiades said the GCs have accepted political equality as defined by the Secretary-General and upheld by Security Council Resolutions. He added that the two communities had reached as part of the talks an agreement on the issue of natural resources, in line with the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.

Anastasiades also referred to the GCs’ readiness to set up an escrow account to deposit the TC community’s share of revenues accrued from the exploitation of hydrocarbons.

 He also questioned Erdogan’s claims that Turkey had a reasonable approach on the issue of energy resources and that they will protect the legitimate rights of the TCs until the very end.

He wondered whose interests was Turkey protecting when its claims limit for its own benefit Cyprus’ EEZ by 44 per cent, at the expense of the rights and interests of both Greek and Turkish Cypriots.

Concluding, he said he fully ascribed to Erdogan’s emotional concluding remarks, as they encapsulate the essence of what Cypriots were trying to achieve: “Freedom, peace, prosperity, justice and a peaceful and safe future for all.”

Politis reported that Anastasiades had adopted in his speech a milder wording on political equality while the points he mentioned on the ToR refer to the initial text drafted by Lute.

Anastasiades’ clear reference to political equality is important as it is at the forefront of the allegations by the TC and Turkish side on the absence of, as they say, progress in the process of resuming substantive negotiations, the daily said.

According to Politis, Cavusoglu and Erdogan have been claiming in New York that Anastasiades had  proposed in the past alternative solutions such as confederation and two states, while Mustafa Akinci and the entire Turkish side claim that it is the GC side which does not accept political equality and a positive vote.

The daily also reported that through Anastasiades’ statements one can draw the conclusion that he wished to extend a hand of reconciliation to the TC side and Akinci since he hardly turned his arrows to that direction.

Phileleftheros reports that Anastasiades’ speech was addressed to Turkey, Akinci and all those who accuse him about his intentions on the Cyprus problem.

Alithia, Haravgi
 and Phileleftheros also reported that TC leader Mustafa Akinci reiterated during a session of the presidency of the Socialist International organisation in New York, that political equality was a must but that the GC side does not accept equality and effective participation in decision making.

Akinci, who attended the session on the invitation of former Greek Prime Minister and chairman of Socialist International Giorgos Papandreou, said that in the case there is no federal solution based on political equality, the risk of partition is visible.

He also said there cannot be another open-ended procedure on the Cyprus problem.

Haravgi reports that Akinci is accusing Anastasiades of double talk, going back on convergences and distorting facts.

KEY ACTORS
Anastasiades

>> For the GC side the only way forward is a procedure within UN parameters which will resume from where it left off in Crans-Montana aiming at turning the RoC into a BBF with political equality based on the UNSC resolutions and the High-Level Agreements.
>> The two leaders have reached an understanding that the ToR should include the 2014 Joint Declaration, the convergences achieved up to the talks in Crans-Montana, and the Guterres Framework as presented on June 30, 2017.
>> Turkey’s actions violate international law & severely undermine the conducive environment for meaningful negotiations.
>> Will not accept to negotiate under duress, questioning whether the UNSG’s efforts will succeed while Turkey violates the RoC’s sovereign rights in its internationally recognised EEZ & continental shelf & hurls threats at Cyprus, neighbouring states and energy companies on the RoC’s energy programme.
>> The Turkish military is increasingly & aggressively advancing in the buffer zone & escalates violations.
>> The current situation in Cyprus makes the role of UNFICYP & the fulfillment of its mandate more necessary than ever.
>> Erdogan had made misleading allegations on the GCs. Is it ill-intended to aspire to establish an independent and sovereign state, free from occupation troops and the anachronistic Treaty of Guarantee & establish a robust system of security, based on the UN Charter and EU Treaties?
>> The GCs have accepted political equality as defined by the UNSG & upheld by SC resolutions.
>> The two sides have already reached an agreement as part the talks on the issue of natural resources, in line with UNCLOS while the GCs are willing to set up an escrow account to deposit the TC community’s share of revenues from the exploitation of hydrocarbons.
>> How can Turkey claim she is protecting TCs’ interests when its own claims over Cyprus’ EEZ take 44 per cent of it at the expense of the rights and interests of all Cypriots?
>> Echoes Erdogan’s remarks for freedom, peace, prosperity, justice and a peaceful & safe future for all arguing this is what Cypriots were trying to achieve.

Akinci
>>
Political equality is a must for TCs but GCs refuse to accept it.
>>  Warns that failure to reach a federal solution based on political equality brings the risk of partition closer.
>> No to another open-ended procedure.


Anticipating Guterres’ next moves

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

OVERVIEW

According to the papers, Friday will be a crucial day as during Anastasiades’ meeting with the UN Secretary-General, the GC side is expected to learn about Turkey’s intentions on the Cyprus problem and what Guterres will do next.

Anastasiades and Guterres had an unexpected brief exchange as the UN Secretary-General was walking to the podium to deliver his address to the General Assembly on Thursday.

The papers, citing government sources, report that Anastasiades told Guterres: “We wish to continue, to support your efforts,” to which Guterres replied: “Yes, and as you know I am always optimistic.”

Anastasiades was briefed by Greek Prime Minister Kyriacos Mitsotakis on what he discussed with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Guterres during separate meetings on Wednesday.

Phileleftheros, citing diplomatic sources, reported that Guterres made clear during his meeting with Mitsotakis that for him to engage again in the Cyprus problem, the proper preparation needs to take place within the agreed framework.

He was said to mention that he would not go again to a conference just like last time if there is no agreed framework, the daily reported.

Government sources told the daily that they expect to find out about Guterres’ plans during the meeting with Anastasiades.

As regards his meeting with Erdogan, Mitsotakis told Anastasiades they did not talk in length about the Cyprus problem but the Turkish president claimed that the GC side is seeking to rob the TCs on energy issues. Mitsotakis told Erdogan there are already convergences on this issue and that Greece supports Anastasiades’ proposal on natural gas.

Erdogan also said they ought to discuss what type of solution would be sought, prompting Mitsotakis to reply that both Greece and the GCs remain committed to the framework of UN decisions and resolutions, Phileleftheros reported.

Given what Guterres told Anastasiades during their brief exchange, it seems Guterres will attempt to proceed to a trilateral meeting with the two leaders in October, Phileleftheros reported, adding that Lute is not expected to visit the island in the foreseeable future.

The dailies also report that after his address to the UN General Assembly, Anastasiades had a meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, who, according to sources, communicated Russia’s desire to hold future discussions with Cyprus on cooperation on both the bilateral and regional levels.

On the natural gas dispute between Cyprus and Turkey, the Russian foreign minister welcomed Anastasiades’ proposal that a portion of the proceeds from hydrocarbons be diverted to the TCs.

Anastasiades also asked for Moscow to exercise its influence on Ankara on the Cyprus issue and told Lavrov Turkey was hampering the agreement on Terms of Reference. The Cypriot president also briefed Lavrov on the issue of Famagusta, which he said he knew very well, stressing that the relevant UN resolutions must be respected, noting, however the need for proper preparation and careful steps.

Lavrov, according to Phileleftheros, also expressed his reservations on the effectiveness of EU sanctions against Turkey pointing out that they did not work in Russia’s case either.

In the evening Anastasiades addressed the 2019 Annual Testimonial Dinner of the Federation of Cypriot American Organisations.


Famagusta refugees call on Guterres to intervene on Varosha

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

OVERVIEW

Scores of refugees from Famagusta gathered on Thursday afternoon outside the UNFICYP checkpoint outside the old Nicosia airport, urging the UN not to deviate from Security Council resolutions 550 and 789 calling for the town’s return to its lawful inhabitants.

The rally took place just after Anastasiades delivered his speech at the UN General Assembly.

Famagusta Mayor Simos Ioannou said they would send Guterres a letter expressing their satisfaction with his efforts for the solution of the Cyprus problem and will call on him to put pressure on Turkey to adhere to these resolutions and realise that the only ones that can return to the closed-off town of Varosha are its legal residents.

He added they would peacefully protest on the streets, to embassies, the EU and UN. During the rally, the refugees delivered to UN staff their letter addressed to Guterres.

Present at the rally were also party representatives and members of the House refugee committee. The head of the committee, AKEL MP Skevi Koukouma, said they were backing the efforts by the Famagusta municipality against the intentions and threats by the occupation force.

Some of the participants told Politis they were very disappointed by the actions of TC ‘foreign minister’ Kudret Ozersay.

Andreas Vrahimis told the daily that Ozersay, as a Cypriot, ought to be more careful as regards the opening of Varosha because of the Famagustians’ pain.

“They cannot play with our souls,” he said, adding that many people are dying with grief for not being able to return to their homes despite the UN resolutions stipulating that the town must be returned only to Famagustians.

Mrs Maria too said that Ozersay was playing a nasty game at their expense and ought to stop, Politis reported.


‘Russia against unilateral actions on Varosha’

Phileleftheros
Regional/International Relations, Negotiations Problem, Energy

OVERVIEW

The daily reports that Russian Ambassador in Cyprus, Stanislav Osadchiy, gave reassurances of his country’s firm and consistent positions on the Cyprus problem.

Osadchiy said in an article on the priorities of Russian policy, written by him and published in Phileleftheros, that Russia is convinced that the violation of the sovereignty of Cyprus cannot help create conditions for a stable, sustainable and just solution to the Cyprus problem that would allow for the solution of many of the problems that exist today.

We are against unilateral actions with regard to Varosha, he said, adding that any attempt to open the city must be carried out with strict observance of the relevant UN resolutions.

Osadchiy also said Russia welcomes the efforts by UN envoy Jane Holl Lute as well as the leaders of the two communities for the resumption of the bicommunal dialogue for the solution of the Cyprus problem, with the aim of finding ways based on the well-known UN resolutions.

As a permanent member of the Security Council, Russia will fully support similar efforts, he said.

He also gave reassurances on concerns on the Akkuyu nuclear power station in Turkey, noting that experts have taken into account all possible risks when the decision for its construction was taken.

We would like to reaffirm that state-of-the-art technology systems are used for the construction of the Akkuyu station while the most modern solutions are applied to prevent any incidents, which excludes the probability of an accident, he said.

He also expressed the hope that the Cypriot foreign policy, which is traditionally aligned with the development of partnerships with all countries will not be directed to the logic of the politics of controversy and will not find itself before delusional and false choices between Russia or the West.

KEY ACTORS
Osadchiy (Russia)
>>
Russia welcomes and is willing to support efforts by Lute & two leaders for the resumption of dialogue for solution of Cyprob & feels the violation of the sovereignty of Cyprus cannot help create conditions for a stable, sustainable and just solution.
>> Russia is against any unilateral actions on Varosha. Any attempts to open the closed-off town must be in line with UN resolutions.
>> Russia hopes Cyprus’s foreign policy will not be directed by delusional and false choices between Russia or the West.


Bicommunal chamber orchestra promotes peace

Phileleftheros
Human Rights

OVERVIEW

The daily hosts Natalie Neophytou, co-founder of the bicommunal Cyprus Chamber Orchestra (CCO) in its segment ‘Five minutes with…’

Neophytou said they will perform their autumn concert in cooperation with the London-based soloist Benjamin Grosvenor on Monday at the Pallas theatre.

She said that in addition to a magical night of high-level music, the concert has another special purpose; to send out the message that music unites people regardless of colour, ethnicity and social class.

According to Neophytou the orchestra continues to promote peace in Cyprus.

The CCO is a non-profit organisation bringing together TC and GC musicians aiming to produce high-quality music and perform in Cyprus and abroad, promoting the message of peace in Cyprus through the power of music, she said.