GCC Press Review 30 Oct 2019

Front Page Headlines

Politis

Increased carbon tax on fuel

Politis reveals the proposal on the green tax reform. The measure is linked with a reduction in income and employment taxes. Green taxation is supplementing the national strategy on climate.

  • CMP: They entered the closed-off town

Phileleftheros

Doctors are on the waiting list

Their mass inclusion in GESY reverses the negative picture. All specialties are now covered. Dozens of applications for registration in the system.

  • The President sent messages to Ankara – From the EU-Arab Summit.
  • They were burying anyone found on their way – They demand approval upon approval for excavations in military areas.
  • The cancellation of the (school) parades continues to divide (public opinion)
  • Refugees have been turned into ping pong balls due to industrial establishments
  • Truce with hard battles between Syrians and Turks

Haravgi

They continue to hide and not respond

Cyprus is being defamed internationally due to actions in which President Nicos Anastasiades is also part of, stressed yesterday AKEL’s general secretary calling on him to give convincing answers on the issue of granting the golden passports and if the plane of the Saudi – whom they naturalised in 2016 – has been used for the President of the Republic’s transportation.

  • Support by AKEL to Famagusta Municipality to avert the settlement of the (closed-off) city

Cyprus Mail

Asylum seekers ‘to exceed 3.5%’

Cyprus faces 100,000 asylum seekers and migrants in five years – minister

  • All pending investigations into missing in the north
  • (Photo caption) Energy Minister Yiorgos Lakkotrypis told the DG Energy Conference in Nicosia on Tuesday that the government is preparing an extensive exploration plan that will take 24 months to complete

Alithia

Citizenships will go through international scrutiny

A reassessment of all (citizenship application) approvals prior to 2018 will take place with the involvement of three international houses.  Those who are found to face criminal charges or sanctions by the EU will be stripped of the citizenship granted to them. “AKEL’s leadership may forget but society does not,” DISY replied to AKEL’s daily criticism on the issue of citizenships.

  • We will carry on with our energy plans – Unequivocal assurance-response to Turkey, by President Anastasiades. Kyriacos Mitsotakis: Turkey should not raise unacceptable claims and not further charge the sensitive East Med region.
  • Missing persons: CMP entered the closed-off city of Famagusta for the first time
  • October 28 (anniversary): Continuation to the confusion with school parades

Main News

Anastasiades: RoC carries on with energy plans without disregarding TCs’ rights

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

OVERVIEW

President Nicos Anastasiades said on Tuesday Cyprus was determined to move ahead with its energy plans and exploit its natural resources giving reassurances the rights of TCs were not disregarded, the papers report on Wednesday. Anastasiades was addressing the 4th EU-Arab summit held in Athens.

According to the papers, Anastasiades said the Republic of Cyprus was determined, despite the latest challenges, to proceed seamlessly with its energy plans and to exploit the reserves of natural gas that were discovered.

He added that Cyprus’ gas resources could be a source of regional cooperation, growth and prosperity.

Anastasiades also said the Cyprus government has never disregarded or denied the interest of TCs with regards to their share of the island’s natural wealth, and the issue had been already tabled pending the resolution of the Cyprus problem.

He added that the goal was a solution that would lead to the evolution of the Republic of Cyprus to a bi-communal, bi-zonal state that safeguards human rights and cooperation prospects between the two communities, without dependence on third countries. “We do not need guarantors and guardians. We can live peacefully among ourselves and co-create for the common good,” he said.

On the trilateral partnerships Cyprus and Greece have created with neighbouring countries in the region, he said both countries believe that only through collective action could peace, stability and economic development be promoted.

He stressed that these partnerships do not go against any third country, on the contrary, the participation of any third country is welcomed, provided, that it adopts the basic principles of international law and good neighbourly relations.

He said the different aspirations and goals of individual states “unfortunately, contribute to the prolonged instability we are experiencing in our region and the unprecedented humanitarian crisis of the millions of people displaced”.

Greek Prime Minister Kyriacos Mitsotakis also addressed Turkey’s violations of Cyprus’ EEZ and its behaviour in the Aegean arguing that it would be good if it did not further charge tensions in the sensitive area of the Eastern Mediterranean, and that it follows the path of international law and good neighbourly relations.

He too said the cooperation forged with countries in the region are open to every state that shares the same principles and values.

KEY ACTORS
Anastasiades
>>
Determined to proceed with its energy plans despite challenges without disregarding the rights of TCs. The issue has already been tabled pending the resolution of the Cyprob.
>> Cyprus’ gas resources could be a source of regional cooperation, growth and prosperity.
>> The goal is a solution that would turn the RoC to a BBF state that safeguards human rights and cooperation prospects between the two communities, without dependence on third countries.
>> Cyprus and Greece believe that peace, stability & economic development in the region can only be promoted through collective action.
>> Cyprus’ & Greece’s trilateral partnerships welcome any third country including Turkey as long as it adopts the basic principles of international law and good neighbourly relations whereas different aspirations and goals of individual states contribute to the prolonged instability currently experienced in the region.

Mitsotakis (Greece)
>>
Turkey must not further escalate tensions in the sensitive area of the East Med & follow the path of international law and good neighbourly relations instead.


Efforts to locate missing persons continue despite Turkey’s lack of cooperation

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

OVERVIEW

MPs, state officials and relatives of missing persons blamed Turkey’s uncooperativeness for lack of progress in finding more remains of missing persons, the papers report. The issue was discussed during a special session at the House refugee committee to mark the Missing Persons Day, marked annually by parliament on October 29.

GC member of the Committee on Missing Persons (CMP) Leonidas Pantelides said that so far this year they located the remains of 24 people, whose identification is pending. So far 695 GC and 265 TC missing persons have been identified, he said.

Pantelides also said that last June the CMP was granted permission to enter 30 military areas but in order to be able to visit these areas they must have a witness on-site so that they can obtain permission again. He also said that they have several testimonies concerning the closed-off area of Famagusta and the CMP was able to secure authorisation and had the first visit last week.

According to Pantelides the GC side was expanding investigations and except cooperation with the TC office it was also trying to develop its own sources in the north.

Pantelides said they were also having difficulties identifying some remains.

Presidency Commissioner Photis Photiou said Turkey, for the past 45 years, has been refusing to cooperate and is not providing information from her archives for mass graves and transfers of remains.

He said the issue of the missing persons is the first issue President Nicos Anastasiades brings up in his meetings with TC leader Mustafa Akinci.

DIKO MP Zacharias Koulias referred to the testimony of a Greek army officer mentioned in the Cyprus File on the events that led to the 1974 coup and invasion. The Greek officer had said that the Turkish commander of Kyrenia in 1974 urged his soldiers to dig up the road and bury everyone, dead or alive and lay asphalt on top, for now, that land would be Turkish.

Koulias said Turkey’s policy remains the same, he said, according to the dailies.

Phileleftheros reports that the head of the Committee of Relatives of the 1963-64 GC Missing Persons, Haris Symeonides, said that he did not expect anything from Turkey on this issue.

He told MPs that while he had offered in the past to give information on the burial site of two Turkish officers killed by GC soldiers in 1974 he was told Turkey did not recognise missing persons GCs or TCs.

He also said that where the remains of his brother and 15 other persons were located in 2011, in Hamit Mandres, now sits a motorway. He wondered who would take the decision in the future to excavate on that road if it is deemed that more missing persons are buried underneath, Phileleftheros reports.

A representative of the foreign ministry said they have received reassurances from the European Commission that it will continue to fund the CMP while a large country has recently expressed interest for information on the funding mechanism.

The serious problems faced by the parents and spouses of missing persons were also discussed since many of them are left without the necessary care while are also facing housing and financial problems. One of the relatives said the labour minister was aware of these problems but ignores them.


Kyprianou: Talks would help stop Turkish provocations

Haravgi, Phileleftheros
Negotiations Process,Property, Human Rights

OVERVIEW

The dailies report that AKEL leader Andros Kyprianou said Turkish provocations in the island’s EEZ and on the issue of Varosha could be dealt with effectively with the restart of the talks aimed at reaching an agreement the soonest possible.

Speaking after a meeting with Famagusta Mayor Simos Ioannou, Kyprianou said the solution agreement ought to be based on the agreed framework and not on any other basis.

 Kyprianou also said he exchanged views with Ioannou on Varosha. “We insist that what must prevail in everyone’s efforts is the implementation of the relevant UN resolutions, of the 550 and 789, that provide for the return of all legal residents under UN administration,” he said.

He also said AKEL would continue to back the municipality’s efforts for a solution to Famagusta’s issue even before the solution of the Cyprus problem knowing however how difficult such a thing would be. He also called for unity arguing that now it was not the time for petty party expediencies.

Ioannou said the municipality was in full agreement with the outline of the solution to the Cyprus problem. “As far as our views on the negotiations are concerned, we think that a full resolution of the Cyprus problem will help, even the start of the talks will be an obstacle to Turkey’s plans for Famagusta’s settlement,” Ioannou said according to the dailies.

KEY ACTORS
Kyprianou (AKEL)
>>
Turkish provocations in the island’s EEZ & Varosha could be dealt with effectively with the restart of the talks aimed at reaching an agreement the soonest possible based only on the agreed framework.
>> Everyone must work toward the implementation of UN resolutions 550 and 789 that provide for the return of all legal residents under UN administration.
>> Backs Famagusta municipality’s efforts for a solution to the Varosha issue even before the solution of the Cyprob despite knowing how difficult such a thing would be.

Ioannou (Famagusta Mayor)
>>
The municipality fully agrees with the outline of the Cyprob solution.
>> Believes the solution but also just starting the talks would hinder Turkey’s plans for the settlement of Varosha.


Lakkotrypis: Based on Turkey’s claims, TCs & GCs would be left with no gas fields

Alithia, Cyprus Mail, Phileleftheros
Energy, Regional/International Relations, EU Matters

OVERVIEW

The dailies report that an EU official called the natural gas discoveries in the region as “a game-changer,” while Energy Minister Giorgos Lakkotrypis said Turkey’s claims on Cyprus’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ) do not benefit TCs or GCs.

During a conference held in Nicosia by the International Association of Oil and Gas Producers titled: From North Sea to Eastern Mediterranean: Collaborating to Maximize the Potential of Hydrocarbon Resources, Lakkotrypis said the government was preparing an extensive exploration plan, which will take approximately 24 months to complete.

“We hope that it would generate even more discoveries than we have so far,” he added. He did not rule out the construction of an LNG plant in Cyprus or a floating LNG plant, while he described the East Med pipeline project, whose feasibility study is funded by the EU, as ambitious.

He also said that Turkey’s claims on Cyprus’ EEZ do not benefit the TCs or the GCs arguing that Ankara’s view of their continental shelf would equate to both communities not having any gas fields. “If we accept this version, Cyprus would be left with 31 per cent of what our EEZ is. It also means that all of the discoveries so far will all fall within different countries,” he said.

According to the dailies, Anne-Charlotte Bournoville, head of the International Relations and Enlargement Unit of the European Commission’s DG Energy said the EU has been a believer in the Eastern Mediterranean’s energy prospects and a strong supporter for many years. Bournoville described the natural gas discoveries in the region as “a game-changer,” adding they create the potential for Cyprus, Israel and Egypt to export part of them.

She said that in the EU 2014 energy security strategy, the Eastern Mediterranean gas was one of the main pillars of the bloc’s diversification strategy, together with the southern gas corridor.

She added that discoveries such as Cyprus’ Aphrodite, Glafkos and Kalypso, as well as Egypt’s Zohr, create opportunities for countries in the region to resolve the energy security needs and a catalyst for regional cooperation since in order to fully benefit from the gas potential they have to cooperate and work together to ensure competitiveness.

Israel’s Ambassador to Cyprus Sammy Revel said that Cyprus was not only his country’s closest neighbour in the EU but also a natural partner in the development of natural gas. Recent discoveries in Cyprus, together with those of Israel, Egypt and other countries could create a reservoir, that would justify big projects in the region, he said, adding that Israel is following with serious concern the recent Turkish actions in the Cypriot EEZ.

KEY ACTORS
Lakkotrypis
>>
 Turkey’s claims on Cyprus’ EEZ do not benefit the TCs or the GCs since according to how Ankara perceives the island’s continental shelf, Cyprus’ EEZ shirks to around one third, and both communities would not have any gas fields with all discoveries made so far falling within different countries.

Revel (Israel)
>>
Feels that recent discoveries in Cyprus, together with those of Israel, Egypt and other countries could create a reservoir, that would justify big projects in the region.


Government plans for the creation of an energy centre affect refugees

Haravgi, Phileleftheros
Property, Human Rights

OVERVIEW

According to the dailies the government’s plans to create an energy centre in the Vasilikos-Mari area has affected several families of refugees who have been forced to relocate since that area was later classed as a heavy industry area.

Phileleftheros reports that several officials told parliament on Tuesday that the issue of Mari, Vasilikos and Zygi has been dealt with by state authorities since 1995 when the decision was taken for the construction of the electricity authority’s (EAC) units while later, when it was decided to turn that area into an energy centre, the town planning zones had been revised .

A representative of the Limassol district administration said Mari residents who were refugees were asked to relocate to the Zygi self-housing area where they could build their residence themselves or buy a house. A €2m budget had been earmarked to be given as state aid to those affected some eight years ago but due to the economic crisis some of the around 56 families that were affected could not take a bank loan so that they could add to the state aid given to them to build their homes, he said.

The dailies also report that refugee farmers had been promised new plots to cultivate in replacement of the TC ones they were using in that area but were later told there is not enough agricultural land for all of them.


Teachers who disobeyed ministry’s orders over parades to face consequences

Alithia, Phileleftheros
Human Rights

OVERVIEW

The dailies report that the education ministry defended its decision to call off all school parades that were scheduled to take place last Monday due to the possibility of lightning activity.

An education Ministry spokesman said the decision was precautionary so as not to expose pupils and attendees to possible extreme weather conditions pointing out that those teachers who disobeyed the orders and joined their students who decided to parade after all, would suffer consequences.

In the meantime, secondary education teachers’ union OELMEK and parents’ associations called for the parades to be rescheduled for the next weekend so that all schools that had been preparing for months, to participate, but also properly mark the anniversary. The ministry said however there would be no such thing, adding that the pupils have already marked the October 28 anniversary last Friday in school.