GCC Press Review 01 Dec 2019

Front Page Headlines

Sunday Mail

Final touches to key reform

Hopes for an end to long fight for sweeping changes to local government.

  • Coffeeshop: A perfectly scripted Cyprob pantomime (opinion piece)
  • Syria Symposium: The Cyprus Mail launches its 75th-anniversary celebrations

Simerini

They tossed three 20-year-olds in elderly people’s homes!

A decision by the social welfare office for girls suffering from light forms of disabilities.

  • Position: The fairytale on the cost… (editorial on the government’s narrative on Turkey bearing the cost is she exhibits intransigence at the talks process)
  • Poll: Citizens do not see a restart of the talks
  • What do the Turkey-Libya Memorandums mean

Politis

Haggling for Dilian’s return to Cyprusrets

Investigations for the van’s activities continue. The Israeli says he wants to cooperate but sets as term his non-arrest should he return to Cyprus. Which violations has the police substantiated against him so far. What instructions independent investigator Elias Stefanou gave to the police.

  • FM Nikos Christodoulides to Politis: “The trilaterals have shielded our EEZ – “I believe that what Turkey claims on the non-continuation of the procedure, for now, are excuses. Why shouldn’t Akinci and the British government be asked on the matter?”
  • Israeli Ambassador Sammy Revel: “Cyprus is a stable friend”
  • Chronicle: The chronicle of the illegal trafficking of antiquities (Free supplement given with Sunday’s Politis)
  • Turkey: Strong message through Libya

Phileleftheros

Bullying for a solution package

Ankara heightens tension and is machinating a comprehensive negotiation: Energy, Cyprob, Aegean. In Berlin, Ankara was… present.

  • The new EU Commission is shooting blanks on the sanctions against Turkey – Lifting of suspension of the high-level political dialogue. The Greek EC Vice-President Schinas and the new Swedish Commissioner Johansson are packing their bags for Ankara.  
  • In search of a strategic agreement on the Cyprus problem
  • Constantinos Petrides: Cyprus is sending out an SOS on the asylum seekers
  • Savvas Angelides: Preconditions for a defence industry
  • Strolling around Old Famagusta with Anna Marangou
  • Anthos Rodinis and his hometown, Morphou
  • Ankaras hostages: The NATO funfair set to take place in London
  • Stefanos Constantinides: After Berlin (opinion piece)
  • Michalis Ignatiou: Insistence in dialogue for everyone (opinion piece)
  • Yiannis Spanos: Alarming memories (opinion piece)

Kathimerini

Israeli ‘eyes’ at the Green Line

The electronic surveillance system will be installed during the second half of 2020.

  • Main article: The Key (editorial on the UN and Cyprus problem)
  • Cyprus problem: Long way until spring
  • Giorgos Vasiliou: There cannot be a confederation as long as we are in the EU
  • Mehmet Ali Talat: We want a president who can establish the BBF (bizonal, bicommunal federation)
  • Turkey-Libya Memorandum: A maelstrom of tensions in the East Med
  • Games with fire in the EEZs: Moves to shun Greece from the East Med

Haravgi

Social policies to the stand

The government’s philosophy on the way the social welfare services (YKE) operate has gone bankrupt, AKEL said and through its leader Andros Kyprianou points out the need for their support with appropriate measures and the right decisions. AKEL submits proposals for the upgrading of the YKE and stresses at the same time that restricting expenditure on social programmes contradicts the much advertised “success story”.

  • Turkey: Erdogan has no other choice than escalate tensions

Alithia

What Guterres asked and what he got

Analysis: The results of the Berlin meeting. Return to the point before the Crans-Montana shipwreck. The two sides also accepted the Guterres Framework. What’s left to negotiate is the final mile. The three years of stillness was the greatest for the Cyprus problem. Is the derailed train is back on track? Under the shaped conditions during the wasting away of 28 months, it has not been possible to confirm how the two sides will negotiate the final mile and reach an agreement. The risk of Mustafa Akinci’s non-reelection is the greatest fear. If a new Rauf Denktash or Dervish Eroglou is elected in the leadership of the TCs the Cyprus problem will certainly be led to dangerous dead ends.

  • The substance of what has been agreed so far on political equality (opinion piece)
  • Alecos Markides: The federation must get rid of (some) powers
  • Meeting between Mitsotakis-Trump on Turkish aggression – Erdogan hurls threats.

Main News

Christodoulides: Disagreements on political equality can be overcome

Politis
Negotiations Process, Energy, Regional/International Relations, EU Matters

OVERVIEW

Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides told Politis in an interview he believes the results of the August 9 meeting of the two leaders and the statement after the Berlin trilateral have opened a window of opportunity for the solution of the Cyprus problem.

“What is needed now is a coordinated intervention by the international community, the UN Security Council, the Secretary-General, the EU to Turkey for the procedure, that in essence started in August, to continue immediately to achieve the soonest the substantive restart of the talks from where they left off in Crans-Montana,” he said according to Politis.

He also said that he believes that Turkey’s claims on the non-continuation of the procedure, for now, by putting forth the elections in the UK and the north, are just excuses.

He said that TC leader Mustafa Akinci and the UK government ought to be asked how they feel on the matter since none of them has said the procedure could not carry on due to the forthcoming elections.

Christodoulides also said there is no other form of solution other than the BBF for the GC side.

On the agreement between Turkey and Libya on the delineation of their EEZs, the daily also reports that the minister said that Turkey was trying to gain legal footing in the East Med by distorting the rules of the Law of the Sea, forging geography and taking advantage of the crisis in Libya.

The memorandum of understanding between the two countries has no legal backing and does not produce any legal results, he said, adding that Cyprus’ energy plans continue as planned despite the serious provocations by Turkey.

He added Turkey’s latest action was a message to all Eastern Mediterranean countries which Cyprus is in constant contact for a collective reaction.

As regards the issue of political equality, Christodoulides said the main disagreement between the two sides is insistence by the TCs on a positive vote on all decisions at federal level. This, he said, would create problems to the functionality of the state and possible friction between the two communities.

While there has been progress on that issue during the Mont-Pelerin talks between the negotiating teams the TC side went back on it later, which proved that President Nicos Anastasiades did not just bring the issue up after Crans-Montana as he has been accused by some since this was one of the main disagreements, he said.

He said he believes this disagreement can be overcome.

On that Anastasiades seems to be against TC positive at cabinet level, Christodoulides explained that there are three levels for decision making in the central government; issues decided by the president and vice-president, cabinet decisions and decisions by other federal services and organs.

A convergence needed to be reached for all three levels, he said, including the resolution mechanism in cases of dead ends.

The demand by the TC side for a positive vote in all these categories did not allow for a convergence to be reached on this issue, the minister said. He added there has been significant progress in all three but no convergence.

As regards the Guterres Framework, Christodoulides said it is only one and it is that presented by the UNSG on June 30, 2017. He argued that this was a success of the GC side since for the first time, positive references were included on issues which the GC side has been arguing since 1976 they were the substance of the Cyprus problem but never discussed.

He explained that the GC side’s insistence on the July 4 Framework was due to that the written version the then Special Advisor Espen Barth Eide had sent the two sides based on what Guterres had said on June 30, did not quite match what the Secretary-General had said. After objections from both sides and consultations with Guterres, Eide made clarifications to the two sides which confirmed what the GC side thought Guterres had said on June 30. He also said that Eide has presented to them initially a five-point Framework, while the Guterres Framework has six points.

On the arrest warrants the Republic of Cyprus issued against individuals involved in Turkey’s illegal activities in the Cypriot EEZ, the minister said they led to four international companies that had decided to cooperate with Turkey to change their mind. The warrants also prompted other companies in the field not to respond positively to the lucrative contracts Turkey was offering for cooperation on activities within Cyprus’ sea area.

On that he is believed by some of negatively influencing Anastasiades against a solution, he said these claims were insulting and did not reflect the president’s personality. He said such claims aim at serving expediencies pointing out he does believe in the solution and the reunification of Cypriots and would continue to work towards that direction.

Christodoulides said he has reasons to believe Cypriots can be optimistic for the future of their country.

KEY ACTORS
Christodoulides
>>
Believes the results of the August 9 meeting & the Berlin trilateral have opened a window of opportunity for the solution of the Cyprob based on a BBF but now the international community must launch a coordinated intervention for Turkey for the procedure to carry on.
>> Believes Turkey’s claims that elections in the UK & the north do not allow for continuation of the procedure, for now, are excuses. Akinci and the UK ought to be asked if they agree.
>> Turkey, through her agreement with Libya which has no legal backing, is trying to gain legal footing in the East Med but this will not deter the RoC’s energy plans.
>> Believes insistence by the TCs on a positive vote on all decisions at federal level would create problems to the functionality of the state but there can be agreement on the matter.
>> There is only one GF that presented by Guterres himself on June 30, 2017.
>> Finds insulting claims that he is negatively affecting Anastasiades on the Cyprob which do not even reflect the president’s personality.
>> Believes in the solution and reunification of Cypriots & pledges to continue to work towards that direction.
>> Has reasons to believe Cypriots can be optimistic for the future of their country.


Pessimism over prospects of relaunch of talks

Simerini
Negotiations Process

OVERVIEW

The daily reports that according to a poll carried out by the University of Nicosia on its behalf, there are low expectations among the public as regards the relaunch of the talks or reaching a comprehensive solution following the Berlin meeting.

The poll was carried out by IMR/University of Nicosia between November 27 and 28. In total 500 people over 18 were canvassed from urban and rural areas through telephone interviews.

According to the findings, 79% of respondents said they have very low expectations on the course of the Cyprus problem. More specific, 45% said they feel the sides are not that close to the restart of substantive talks, and 34% said they were not close at all.

At the same time, only 53% said they monitor closely or at satisfactory level developments on the Cyprus problem after the trilateral in Berlin while 47% said they either did not monitor or monitor very little the developments.

As regards assessment of the trilateral and whether there is hope for a solution, 30% said they believe there is no hope anymore, while 50% feel the result will depend on the talks. Only 18% said they feel that the trilateral created some hope, the daily reported.

As regards the trilateral’s results and the acceptance by the GC side of the UN positions,  25% said the result was a positive one, 14% that it was negative and 59% said they did not find it either positive or negative.

Assessing the overall result of the meeting, 38% of respondents said they believe no side won, while 37% believe that only Turkey won.

The majority, 66%, believe that the reaffirmation of the bizonal, bicommunal federation as the form of the sought solution was the right move, while 90% said they completely agree or somewhat agree with the conviction of President Nicos Anastasiades that for the talks to resume, beyond an agreement on the Terms of Reference, Turkey must end her illegal activities in the Cypriot EEZ, Famagusta and the buffer zone.

Sixty-seven per cent said that in the case the EU will be absent from the negotiations table even as an observer, based on Guterres’ statement, this would be a disadvantage for the GC side.

The majority, 87%, believe that Anastasiades was right to accept Guterres’ invitation to attend the trilateral. As regards TC leader Mustafa Akinci, 83% said they do not believe he will be in a position to reach an agreement on the internal aspects of the Cyprus problem without Turkey’s consent.

At the same time, 69% of respondents said they feel that UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has been, so far, keeping an equidistant position as regards efforts for the solution of the Cyprus problem, the daily reports.


Government to install a surveillance system along buffer zone

Kathimerini
Internal Security, CBMs

OVERVIEW

According to the daily, the government is to install a state-of-the-art surveillance system along the Green Line to secure all blind spots.

Citing sources, the daily reports that one of the measures the government has decided aimed at curbing the uncontrolled arrival of irregular migrants, two-thirds of which arrive through non-legal crossing points, is to install a surveillance system along the buffer zone, from Kato Pyrgos to Dherynia.

The defence ministry is in consultations with Israeli companies with a decision on the contractor expected to be taken by January, the daily reported. The system is expected to be installed in the second half of 2020.