GCC Press Review 31 Oct 2019

Front Page Headlines

Politis

Risk of indefinite postponement on the (import of natural) gas

DEFA (Natural Gas Public Company) retrospectively ruled out the Greek company Aktor. It was deemed that the ban on Helector Cyprus from public projects covers also Aktor. Pressure from competitors and their political crutches for the cancellation of the tender competition.

  • Nicosia is determined – Backstage moves ahead of the trilateral. Akinci’s percentages rise in the occupied areas despite the dispute with Ankara.
  • The ‘government’ acts as a wedge – Apostolides-Orams case.
  • US-Turkey: Two resolutions that caused ire

Phileleftheros

Documents with lots of gas

The energy issue is a point of reference in the multi-page positions by Anastasiades and Akinci. Athens does not favour Turkey’s approach to the five-party meeting.

  • Dasaki tis Achnas tells its tale – Meeting of refugees.
  • Slap by the American parliament to Turkey

Haravgi

Nicos Anastasiades’ guilty silence on the jet

The silence of the president and his associates is an admission of guilt for violating political ethics as he himself had defined in the Charter of Ethics which he had his ministers sign, but which he did not observe… in this case ‘practice what you preach’ is applicable.

  • A 40-minute meeting between Andros (Kyprianou)-Mitsotakis
  • The pseudo-state bought the ‘Orams villa’ in occupied Lapithos
  • Joint GC-TC groups also on climate change

Cyprus Mail

Turkey fury over US genocide vote

Cyprus’ Armenian community lauds US Congress recognition of 1915 genocide.

  • (photo caption) President Nicos Anastasiades (right) with Kyriacos Mitsotakis in Athens on Wednesday where he briefed the Greek prime minister on a document he will send to UN chief Antonio Guterres  All pending investigations into missing in the north

Alithia

A stop to bad payer tenants

The law on rent is changing. An end to the hostage of thousands of owners. A bill proposal by DISY on evictions of bad payer tenants to be tabled to the House plenum on November 22.  The eviction process of strategic bad payers is being made easier.

  • Cyprus problem: The reports by Anastasiades-Akinci to the Security Council
  • The US recognised the Armenian genocide and the Turks are furious

Main News

Leaders sent UN their reports on how to achieve progress on Cyprob

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

OVERVIEW

Both sides announced that the two leaders have submitted to the UN their reports on what have they done and what they suggest as regards achieving progress on the Cyprus problem, the papers report.

The dailies cite Government Spokesman Prodromos Prodromou saying that President Nicos Anastasiades briefed on Wednesday Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis on the document he prepared in response to a request by the UN Security Council.

Prodromou said the president informed Mitsotakis in detail about the document that he had prepared in which he outlines in detail all initiatives undertaken to resume the negotiations and all constructive proposals in addition to everything the GC side proposed to build a climate of trust.

He also included his public positions as expressed at the latest UN General Assembly and all other positions he expressed to UN special envoy Jane Holl Lute and TC leader Mustafa Akinci. He also included the decision to set up a hydrocarbon fund, as well as the confidence-building measures (CBMs) he proposed, Prodromou said.

Prodromou said the document, which has already been submitted to the UN Security Council, clearly indicates the president’s readiness to cooperate with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and the TC leader on November 25, so that a decisive step can be taken for the resumption of substantial negotiations.

The spokesman further underlined that during the Anastasiades-Mitsotakis meeting, there was an exchange of views on the current developments on the Cyprus problem and all issues of common interest as well as a thorough discussion on the Berlin meeting.

Mitsotakis expressed his support for the efforts of the SG to resume the negotiations and the readiness of Greece to contribute.

Phileleftheros, citing sources reported that Greece does not seem to view positively Turkish FM Mevlut Cavusoglu’s approach that refers to the substitution of the two sides (GCs & TCs) by the five-party meeting the way Turkey suggests.

Baris Burcu, Akinci’s spokesman also confirmed on Wednesday that the TC leader’s document had been sent.

According to the dailies Burcu said Akinci’s letter consists of three main aspects including the tangible steps that the TC side has taken since 2015 to-date for a viable and comprehensive solution and explains in detail the CBMs he proposed in the direction of expanding relations between the two communities and his proposal on hydrocarbons aimed at easing tension.

Phileleftheros reports that the energy issue is a point of reference in the long documents each of the two leaders sent to the UN Secretary-General.

Citing information, both Phileleftheros and Politis report that Anastasiades records the actions by the GC side during the last two years following the Crans-Montana shipwreck, by focusing on his proposal for a decentralised federation, which diplomatic circles said paved the way to the two leaders’ August 9 meeting.

The document moves within the bounds of the bi-zonal, bi-communal federation, with more powers to the states and everything else being subject to debate. It also lists the 21 CBMs proposed by the GC side, while references are being made to the GC side’s positions and approaches to the Guterres Framework. Anastasiades also briefs the UN Secretary-General on Turkey’s actions within the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of the Republic of Cyprus, violations in the buffer zone and threats on the closed-off town of Varosha arguing that they are not conducive as regards efforts to restart the talks. He also reminds the UN that hydrocarbons have never been a subject of negotiations.

Politis also reports that a reference is being made on the need for an agreement on the Terms of Reference (ToR)  the soonest possible including the three elements agreed at the August 9 meeting. This point aims at proving that the GC side accepts political equality as recorded in the relevant convergences, the daily reports.

For the GC side, the ToR is the only document that will set the basis for the restart of the talks, Politis reported.

As regards the trilateral, Politis, citing sources within the GC side reports that a large part of the possible success on reaching an agreement on a final text on the ToR will mostly fall on Lute’s shoulders, whose effort would be to find common ground both on the wording but also on the substance of the matter so that it is accepted also by guarantors.

The wish by the Turkish and TC sides on a clear reference to effective participation must be accompanied with some sort of reference on securities and guarantees, diplomatic sources told Politis.

TC sources made clear to Politis that there will not be any progress unless the TC side is convinced that both leaders mean the same thing as regards political equality and TC effective participation.

The same sources recalled a past convergence according to which TCs retain the right to one positive vote at cabinet-level post solution and point out that during their meeting with Antonio Guterres the two sides will need to prove that they do mean what they say on the three points they want to include in the ToR; convergences, the 2014 Joint Declaration and the six parameters of the Guterres Framework. If that doesn’t happen, they do not believe the UNSG will see the expected progress that would make him call for an informal five-party meeting, the sources said, according to Politis.

 The daily also reports that despite the latest tension caused in the north with Ankara Akinci’s percentage rates seem to be rising.

Citing sources close to the TC leader, the daily reports that recent polls that are at the disposal of the ‘presidential palace’, after the dispute with Ankara, Akinci shot up to 38 per cent compared to the 31.8 per cent of last September.

KEY ACTORS
Prodromou
>>
Anastasiades, with his document, clearly indicates his readiness to cooperate with the UNSG and the TC leader during their trilateral meeting so that a decisive step can be taken for the resumption of substantial talks.


Court decision for the demolition of the ‘Orams villa’ still applies

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

OVERVIEW

The dailies report that a court decision ordering the demolition of a villa built by British couple Linda and David Orams in Lapithos on the property of GC refugee Meletis Apostolides still applies.

Apostolides, however, said he has not decided yet whether to pursue further legal actions.

After news that the Orams’ villa was recently bought by the TC authorities to be turned into an elderly home or an orphanage instead of being demolished as per a court decision, Apostolides’ lawyer Constantis Candounas told the Cyprus News Agency that the court decision against the Orams for demolition of the villa continues to apply, the dailies report.

Candounas said it was up to his client to take any legal action.

Apostolides also CNA that the move by the TC authorities was aimed at giving a boost to the real-estate sector in the north and to encourage prospective buyers. “It is a way to bring the so-called ‘TRNC’ back to the spotlight by reassuring foreigners interested in buying property in the occupied areas,” Apostolides said.

Apostolides had sued in 2004 at the Nicosia courts after discovering that the British couple had built on his land and won but the judgement could not be enforced in the north so he took the case to the UK. In  September 2006, the High Court of Justice ruled in favour of the Orams and Apostolides appealed to the British Court of Appeal which referred the case to the European Court of Justice (ECJ) which  ruled in favour of Apostolides and the case was returned to the Court of Appeal in England which in January 2010 unanimously upheld the ruling of the ECJ holding that the ruling of the Cypriot court should be applied in the UK.

Politis reported that the legal dispute did not stop there as Apostolides filed another case in court after the Orams failed to comply with the court ruling and as a result, the British couple was forced to pay more than €1m in legal fees, theirs and Apostolides’. Sources told the daily that despite this, Apostolides deemed that he should not insist on the demolition of the house since this would mean additional procedures and expenses despite that the Orams had abandoned it.

From then on, the pseudo-state took advantage of the fact that the building remained there, Politis said.


Cyprus’ Armenian community welcomes US recognition of 1915-1923 Genocide

Cyprus Mail, Phileleftheros
Human Rights

OVERVIEW

The Cyprus Mail reports that the representative of the Armenian community in Cyprus welcomed the US House of Representatives’ vote to recognise the Armenian Genocide from 1915 to 1923.

 Cyprus’ Parliamentary Representative for the island’s Armenians Vartkes Mahdessian told the daily on Wednesday that this decision by the most powerful country in the world was a big step in getting more recognition for the issue.

He said he hoped more countries would follow suit, including Britain and Israel, who have yet to officially recognise the genocide.

“We don’t want revenge, we just want justice for all those lost,” Mahdessian said according to the daily.

He added that Turkey ought to stop rejecting the genocide and conceded the vote would raise tensions with Turkey as Ankara had tried to lobby against it through its embassy in Washington and lobby groups.

Phileleftheros reports that some political parties in Cyprus welcomed the US’s decision and called for utilising this vote.

DIKO pointed out that the US resolutions on sanctions against Turkey for the Syria invasion and the recognition of the Armenian Genocide was proof that there are ways that could cause cost to Turkey for her expansive policies. The party added that the same message is being sent by the EU on measures against Turkey for her illegal actions in Cyprus’ EEZ but it seems the government is not prepared to make use of this climate.

The Solidarity movement said the US decision goes to show that a people’s persistence in having their rights recognised in the end pays off. The party said that the Greek and Cypriot governments needed to draw examples and call for the recognition also of the Genocides of the Pontus Greeks and of the Asia Minor Greeks and the persecution the Greeks of Eastern Thrace, Istanbul and Cyprus suffered from.

The Greens drew parallels with the Turkish provocations in the Cypriot EEZ and the Syria invasion arguing that harsher measures are in order against Turkey by the US, the EU and the UN.

KEY ACTORS
DIKO
>>
 US resolutions on sanctions against Turkey for the Syria invasion and the recognition of the Armenian Genocide was proof that there are ways that could cause cost to Turkey for her expansive policies but the government seems reluctant in seizing the momentum after the EU’s willingness to impose measures on Turkey for her illegal actions in Cyprus’ EEZ.

Solidarity Movement
>>
Greece and Cyprus must draw examples from the struggles of the Armenians for the recognition of the genocide & call for the recognition also of the Genocides of the Pontus and  Asia Minor Greeks and the persecution the Greeks of Eastern Thrace, Istanbul and Cyprus suffered from.

Greens
>>
Call for harsher measures against Turkey by the US, EU & UN for the Turkish provocations in the Cypriot EEZ and the Syria invasion.


Parties across the divide call for joint action on climate change

Alithia, Cyprus Mail, Haravgi, Phileleftheros, Politis
Governance & Power Sharing, Negotiations Process, Human Rights

OVERVIEW

Political parties from both sides of the divide call for setting up a bi-communal technical committee or workgroups on climate change, the papers report.

The papers, citing the joint communique by GC and TC parties whose representatives met at Ledra Palace on Wednesday as part of the regular meetings held by the Slovak embassy, report that the parties agreed on the need for environmental legislation to be introduced and strictly adhered to across the island to combat climate change. The also called for horizontal agreement on mitigation measures and their enforcement across the island if there is a chance of saving it from impending ruin.
 
The party leaders agreed that climate change is a problem that already affects Cyprus, with extreme weather conditions with the danger of desertification “already occurring in our common land.”

During Wednesday’s meeting, the parties discussed the issue “How urgent is the need to combat climate change?” proposed by the hosting party, the GC Greens.
 
They also stressed the need to commit to the targets set by the EU for the year 2020 and the upcoming agreements on the targets for 2030, as well as embed the 17 UN sustainability targets for 2030 in all policy decisions.

The parties stressed that these targets could become the focus of joint task forces or of a joint technical committee that could initiate efforts towards preparing the island as a whole to mitigate the consequences of climate change and ensure that the aforementioned targets are adhered to by all parties concerned.
 
They also said that the solution of the Cyprus problem aiming at the reunification of GCs’ and TCs’  common homeland was a prerequisite for unifying the country’ s natural environment.  Therefore, they call upon the two leaders to resume the negotiations, according to UN resolutions under the auspices of the UN Secretary-General.

KEY ACTORS
GC & TC parties
>>
Call for a bi-communal technical committee or working groups to push for meeting EU & UN climate targets & the need for environmental legislation to be introduced and strictly adhered to across the island to combat climate change.
>> Call on the two leaders to resume talks since the solution of the Cyprob would reunify the island but also the country’ s natural environment. 


Arrests of suspected members of human smuggling ring

Politis
Internal Security, Migration & Citizenship

OVERVIEW

According to the paper, police believe they are on the tracks of a human smuggling ring that helps foreign nationals enter the government-controlled areas illegally after arresting four men last Tuesday evening.

Two of the men, one from Bangladesh the other from Egypt, were caught after picking up two other men from Bangladesh that crossed through the occupied areas to the industrial area in Kaimakli. The latter told police they had paid the one €3,500, the other €5.000 in their country so that they would be smuggled into Europe.

They said they paid the money to people they did not know which arranged for their arrival in the north through the illegal Tymbou airport and from there they were given instructions where to meet the person who would take them to the first suspect, their compatriot whom they each paid €50 and led them to the Egyptian man’s taxi. The taxi with the four men was stopped by the police in Kaimakli near the buffer zone.

The first suspect told police he had done that four other times in the past and used the services of the same taxi driver twice before. He said the driver knew the two men had crossed illegally and was usually charging between €50 and €60 for his rides to keep quiet.

The driver, however, said he had no idea they were irregular migrants and was merely asked to drive them downtown to the Solomos Square.

All four were remanded for eight days.


‘Souvenir note with Dr Kucuk’s portrait is not a Euro note’

Alithia, Cyprus Mail, Haravgi
Human Rights

OVERVIEW

The dailies, citing reports in the north report that a special euro note bearing the portrait of Dr Fazil Kucuk, the first TC  Vice President of the Republic of Cyprus has been printed in honour of his memory after permission from the European Central Bank.

The European Central Bank, however, told the Cyprus Mail and the Cyprus News Agency that the banknote in question was not a euro note.

“The only banknotes recognised by the ECB as legal tender are euro banknotes issued by the Eurosystem. The production of the souvenir’ note in question is not regulated or approved by the ECB. If banknote manufacturers produce them, they must comply with ECB rules of reproduction to make sure that the banknotes cannot be mistaken as genuine,” the ECB spokesperson said, the dailies report.