GCC Press Review 25 Feb 2020

Front Page Headlines

Politis

MP code of conduct like… statement of assets

Code promising a lot with everyone self regulating. Verbal reprimand, public apology, return of gifts among the “penalties” for violations. Minutes of meetings will be brought to the light in the case of inappropriate behaviour by MPs.

  • Wait-and-see aprroach by UNSG : “Elections” and then we’ll see

Phileleftheros

UNSG ready for continuation

Determined to move ahead with unofficial five party conference after the “elections”. Guterres – Christodoulides meeting and letters by President to five leaders.

  • Akinci: We implemented more CBMs
  • Proposal to buy milk at an increased price
  • Turkish Navtex cancels half a Cypriot Navtex

Haravgi

Groundbreaking move in sports

21 proposals by AKEL for unified sports legislation. Transparency, rooting out of corruption and nepotism. Who will tell us if Ionas was informed or not.

  • We run after the fact for Famagusta

Cyprus Mail

North Italy goes into quarantine

As seventh Italian dies, WHO says China’s actions prevented thousands of cases.

Alithia

Coronavirus: The fear has started touching us

Rapid increase of instances of this deadly disease outside China, especially in our neighborhood (Italy) has started causing not only worries and concern, but also fear. It is expected that the coronavirus will also appear on our island – Effects on economy have started appearing, mainly at the investor programme – Students return from Milan. WHO called on world to prepare for “possible pandemic”.

  • Guterres: Ready to move ahead after the “elections” in the occupied areas
  • Occupied areas: “Presidential” candidates up the rhythm
  • Legislation changes so that those of 1963 – 1967 are also considered missing

Main News

Guterres reportedly ready to proceed after elections for T/C leader

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

OVERVIEW

The dailies report that Foreign Minister Nicos Christodoulides met with Antonio Guterres on Monday, and all agree – citing statements by Christodoulides – that the United Nations Secretary General said he is willing to proceed with the negotiations process after the elections for T/C leader.

Cyprus Mail reports that Guterres and Christodoulides met in Geneva, Switzerland, on the sidelines of the 43rd sesson of the UN Human Rights Council. They discussed Turkey’s activities in the Cypriot EEZ and Turkey’s plans to open up the fenced-off area of Varosha, as well as the Turkish – Libyan MoU and the regional refugee situation.

Christodoulides said that Guterres expressed his willingness and commitment to proceed with the negotiations process right after the elections in the occupied areas. The UNSG also expressed his satisfaction at the results of his meeting last November with the two leaders in Berlin, Christodoulides said.

The Cypriot FM added that what is clear from his discussion with the UNSG is that “the process must take place in a favourable environment that will enhance the effort” to achieve a positive outcome.

Phileftheros reports that the government’s reading of this meeting is that the UNSG won’t move before the elections in the occupied areas, that he is determined to make a move, that he is ready to bring up the responsibilites of all involved and that he also believes that negative moves don’t help in creating the necessary climate.

The dailies also point out that Christodoulides is expected to meet Russian FM Sergei Lavrov on Tuesday. He is also expected to have further meetings with UN officials dealing with human rights and refugee issues.

KEY ACTORS
Christodoulides
>> UNSG Guterres expressed willingness to proceed with negotiations right after elections for T/C leader
>> What is clear from discussion with Guterres is that process must take place in favourable environment to enhance effort for positive outcome


Parties react to President’s proposal to freeze EU funds over Varosha

Alithia, Haravgi, Phileleftheros, Politis
Negotiations Process, Regional/ International Relations, EU Matters, Territory, Property

OVERVIEW

Deputy government spokesperson Panayiotis Sentonas reiterated the government’s position on the proposal made by President Anastasiades in Brussels regarding the possibility of freezing EU funds to the Turkish Cypriot Community, the dailies report.

Sentonas said that during his talks with EU officials, Anastasiades said financial assistance must be terminated if T/Cs go ahead with the opening of Varosha. According to Sentonas, Anastasiades stressed that “he does not oppose the allocation of funds, he could even discuss their increase, provided they served towards the country’s reunification”.

Sentonas also referred to the letters sent by Anastasiades to the leaders of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, the leaders of the EU institutions and the leaders of all the other member states.

The head of the President’s Press Office, Victoras Papadopoulos, told Poitis 107,6 radio that the other members of the European Council were positive to Anastasiades’ proposal, Politis reports. “T/C politicians that intend to violate resolutions and decisions must know that there will be consequences” he added.

Politis reports that AKEL criticised the President’s proposals. Opposition party spokesperson Yiorgos Loukaidis said that such a move would amount to “shooting ourselves in the foot and bringing the opposite results”. He also accused the government of not acting on time and that it now acts in ways that do not send the right messages to the other side.

He added that the government should be boosting the forces that work for peace and not contributing to their marginalisation. According to Loukaidis, T/C leader Akinci, CTP and other citizen and political movements disagree with Turkey’s actions, but they are cornered due to the President’s proposals for measures that target the T/C community in its entirety.

DIKO says in a statement that recent developments are a result of failed policies in the past and of a lack of action. The party accuses the government of not realising the danger in time to take action. The party also recalled a proposal made in 2004 by then President Papadopoulos for the return of Varosha and the opening of the Famagusta port under EU supervision, demilitarisation of the area and the opening of the Dherynia checkpoint.

In another development, Phileleftheros reports – citing government sources – that Defence Ministers of Greece and France Nikos Panagiotopoulos and Florence Parly had a meeting in Athens during which they found that they fully agreed in condemning Turkish actions in the Eastern Mediterranean.

Accordingn to the newspaper, Parly repeated in a statement that the EU and France condemned the Turkish – Libyan MoU. She added that French presence in the area works to prevent unilateral Turkish moves in maritime zones that are not recognised as belonging to Turkey.

KEY ACTORS
Panagiotis Sentonas (deputy gov. spokesp.)
>> President told European Council that he does not oppose allocation of funds and would in fact discuss their increase, provided they serve country’s reunification

Victoras Papadopoulos (Presidency’s Press Office)
>> T/C politicians that intend to to violate resolutions must know there will be consequences

Yiorgos Loukaides (AKEL)
>> Freezing funds would amount to shooting ourselves in the foot and bringing opposite results
>> G/C side should be boosting those in the T/C community that disagree with Turkey and not contribute to their marginalisation by suggesting proposals that target T/Cs in their entirety

DIKO
>> Today’s situation is a result of inaction and failed policies
>> The government did not realise the danger on time
>> Recalls a proposal by then President Papadopoulos to return Varosha in return for opening Famagusta port under EU supervision


Turkey issues Navtex for area where EuroAfrica cable is to be laid

Phileleftheros
Energy, Regional/ International Relations, External Security, EU Matters

OVERVIEW

Phileleftheros reports that a Navtex by Turkey could impede research to be conducted in perparation for the future laying of the cable that will connect the electricity grids of Egypt, Cyprus and Greece as part of the EuroAfrica Interconnector.

The newspaper points out that the Republic of Cyprus recently issued a Navtex informing all vessels that research ship “Odin Finder” will be conducting geological research in the RoC’s search and rescue jurisdiction from Febrary 26th to March 25th.

Phileleftheros notes that the ship conducts research regarding the future placement of cables for both the EuroAsia Interconnector project and the EuroAfrica Interconnector project. The ship left the port of Alexandria, Egypt, on Sunday.

In its own Navtex, Turkey informs all vessels that a part of the area mentioned in the Cypriot Navtex is part of Turkish jurisdiction and asks for all research ships to coordinate with Turkish authorities.


Amendment on property law to expand definition of missing to 1963 – 67

Alithia
CBMs, Human Rights, Property

OVERVIEW

Alithia reports that the government has submitted a proposal in Parliament for updating the definition of missing persons (in relation to legislation regarding their properties) to include persons missing since the period of 1963 – 67.

In an explanatory report submitted along with its proposal to amend the 2003 Law on the Regulation of Certain Issues related to Property of Missing Persons, the Ministry of Finance notes that the law has helped solve problems faced by relatives of the missing of the 1974 invasion in their entirety.

Hence, the Ministry adds, it would be only fair to apply the legislatin for the cases of people missing since 1963-67. It is noted that the Committee of Relatives of Missing from 1963-67 had been requesting for this change.


Ayia Marina Church in Dherynia buffer zone to be open for Green Monday

Cyprus Mail, Haravgi, Politis
CBMs, Human Rights

OVERVIEW

Cyprus Mail reports that the church of Ayia Marina, which falls inside the buffer zone close to Dherynia in Famagusta, will be accessible for the Christian Orthodox holiday of Green Monday, which this year is celebrated on March 2nd.

According to an announcement by Dherynia Municipality, the church will be open for worship. The UN also accepted the municipality’s request that private cars be allowed to access the area. The municipality notes that many visitors are expected as the nearby dam is overflowing.

The newspaper notes that the chapel has also been open for services on special occasions in the past.