GCC Press Review 16 June 2020

Front Page Headlines


Recession changes Aphrodite plans

Overhaul of plans necessary, Noble tells “P”. Remains faithful to commitments, but new situation in world markets needs to be taken into account. “Development plan has to be shaped according to global demand for natural gas” company points out.

  • Occupied areas: Scandal with private jet


Red alert sent to EU

President warned Von der Leyen of possibility of conflict. France: Turkey can’t hold the key to the Eastern Mediterranean.


Uncertainty over tourism and related sectors

Backroom dealing over who will be covered by new plans. Tourism sectors particularly problematic. Meager or zero income for hotel employees.

  • Borrel: Concern over Eastern Mediterranean
  • Berlin chagrined over Washington wanting new sanctions for Nord Stream 2

Cyprus Mail

EU: Cyprus right over Turkish fears

‘Greece and Cyprus have been rightly complaining about Turkish drillings’.


Nothing will change regarding elections

Discussion for… the sake of discussion in Parliament. Regarding survival: Small parties ask for important changes to electoral law aiming to survive the legislative elections. Rejection: No from the big parties. Neither increase of MPs, nor simple proportional representation, not state deputies. From 2026: If something changes, it will apply for the legislative election after next (2026).

  • Uproar continues over arrival of private jet from Turkey without quarantine: “Government” crisis in occupied area – Calls for Turism “miinister” and the “government” to step down
  • Europe to Pompeo: Send messages to Turkey
  • Over ceasefire: Libya tests Russian-Turkish friendship
  • Turks move towards turning Hagia Sophia into a mosque. They ordered a 15,000 square meter carpet

Main News

EU FMs to discuss concerns regarding Turkey’s behaviour next month

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


EU Foreign Ministers will examine the block’s relations with Turkey in the next Foreign Affairs Council on July 13th, the dailies report. The issue was brought up during Monday’s Foreign Affairs Council, during the first part of which included US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, but which focused mainly on China, the Middle East and Ukraine.

Phileleftheros reports that the EU is concerned over the situation in the Eastern Mediterranean, and cites information that French FM Jean-Yves Le Drian pointed out during the meeting that Europe cannot let Turkey have the key to the region.

According to the dailies, High Representative Josep Borrel is expected to visit Cyprus before the next FAC in order to examine the latest developments.

The Cyprus News Agency reports that Borrel expressed the EU’s concerns over recent escalation in the region, making particular reference to the situation in Libya. When asked about the case of Cyprus and Greece, he said that the two countries have rightly complained over Turkish drilling in their EEZs and that Turkey – EU relations will be on the next FAC’s agenda.

In an interview in French newspaper Le Figaro, Greek Foreign Minister Nicos Dendias, who had been in Paris meeting Le Drian, said that he found France understanding the fact that Turkey’s action do not only affect Greece and Cyprus but also all of the EU.

Phileleftheros also reports that Greek prime minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis will be in Israel on Monday and Anastasiades and several ministers will visit the country next week. Israel is expected to ask Greek and Cypriot support for the annexation of Palestinian lands, the newspaper reports citing Israeli sources.

The newspaper cites a report by Jerusalem Post pointing out that the Israeli government expects the two countries to facilitate the dialogue with the EU on the issue, while recognising that Athens and Nicosia are in delicate position on the matter.

Meanwhile, Phileleftheros reports on Sunday’s telephone conversation between President Anastasiades and Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, citing senior diplomatic sources. According to the report, Anastasiades told Von der Leyen that a conflict in the Eastern Mediterranean is not impossible and that the EU must move immediately. He also reportedly pointed out that the case of Cyprus is different from that of Greece due to reduced military capabilities.

Von der Leyen is reported to have told Anastasiades that these issues will be on the agenda of one of the next European Councils. The main focus of discussion of the Anastasiades – Von der Leyen phonecall was the negotiation over the EU’s recovery funds and the 2021-27 Multiannual Financial Framework.

In another development, Phileleftheros reports, citing Turkish state news agency Anadolu, that goveerning AKP spokesperson Omer Celik commented on the RoC’s recent deal with the UK regarding the development of properties in the SBAs. Celik said that no one can ignore T/C rights in the area.

Borrel (EU foreign affairs)
>> EU is concerned over situation in Eastern Mediterranean, particularly regarding Libya
>> Greece and Cyprus rightly complain over Turkish actions
>> The entire spectrum of Turkey – EU relations will be discussed in the next Foreign Affairs Council in July

Noble Energy to adjust “Aphrodite” plans due to global downturn

Energy, Economy, Regional/ International Relations


Representatives from Noble Energy have told Politis that the company remains committed to working with the Republic of Cyprus, but that it needs to readjust its planning regarding the development of “Aphrodite” field due to the global situation as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

The company was responding in writing to a series of questions posed by the newspaper.

Noble Energy pointed out that it has the economic capability to carry out its obligations despite recent cuts in development and operations.

The company points out it will be discussing possible readjustments to its plans with the RoC government and its business partners. These adjustments are understood to be related to the timetable for the implementation of the agreement signed with the government in November 2019, and will depend on the global demand for natural gas.

The newspaper recalls that according to the agreed timeframe, Noble was expected to conduct a second exploratory drilling by November 2021, begin extracting natural gas by 2023 and begin selling by 2025.

Noble Energy
>> The company will honour its obligations deriving from the contract signed with the RoC despite the coronavirus crisis
>> It remains financially capable, despite having to cut down on operational and development costs
>> The company will have to adjust its plans for developing the “Aphrodite” gas field, in consulation with government other companies, depending on global demand for natural gas

Exhibition of 219 paintings found in Famagusta opens in Nicosia



Phileleftheros reports that 219 works of art that had been lost for 46 and were returned to the G/C community during an exchange with the T/Cs, will be exhibited starting Tuesday in Nicosia’s State Gallery of Modern and Contemporary Cypriot Art (SPEL).

Tbe exhibition, titled “Ksanagennisi” (Rebirth) is made up of paintings by Greek Cypriot and Greek artists dating from the turn of the 20th century all the way to the early 1970s. Before the 1974 Turkish invasion, the paintings were hanging in houses and public spaces in Famagusta and had been stored by Turkish Cypriots after the war.

The works were returned to the G/C community in exchange for audiovisual recordings of the work of T/C artists that had been saved in the CyBC’s archives since the 1960s. The exchange was organised and facilitated by the bicommunal Technical Committee on Education.

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