GCC Press Review 29 June 2020

Front Page Headlines

Politis

High expectations from Law Office duo

The State and the people expect substantial work from Savvides – Angelides. The “hot potato” of the Ministry of Defence and the challenges for Ch. Petrides. Today the official premiere also for Emily Yiolitis at Ministry of Justice.

  • Drilling programme also officially frozen for a year: They stay, but with a 12 month extension – Cabinet approved extensions for ENI-Total’s contracts and obligations regarding 7 plots
  • Parties rush because of Aglandjia: Elections last thing they needed…
  • (Hungarian FM interview) “EU hypocrisy over Turkey”
  • Greens go with Theopemptou
  • Hoegh’s math

Phileleftheros

Ankara rejects dialogue

Says they’re ready to discuss only with the “new state” after a potential solution. Borrell proposal rejected at the outset.

Haravgi

Private jet trips in the midst of quarantine

28 flights with 153 passengers conducted. Trips also with private ships through the marinas. Transport Ministry does not know whether they went into self-isolation.

  • Turkey: “EEZ delineation only after the solution”
  • They sent pregnant women and HIV-positive women to “Pournara” – Commissioner (for children) gave 15 days deadline to relevant ministries – Nouris slapped down for speaking of “allegedly underage”
  • Most coronavirus cases coming from abroad are asymptomatic

Alithia

Cliques run things

At Paphos General Hospital. Intrigues: Management decisions have been tangled with party, personal, even emotional concerns. Politicians support specific persons in the hospital so that they can carry out rusfet for them, thus perpetuating a rotten situation. F. Faidonos confirms reports about cliques but also points out hospital is inadequate since it is the oldest in Cyprus.

  • Migration: Cyprus tests its endurance – Article by Loukas Fourlas
  • Cyprus: First in asylum applications in Europe in 2019
  • Ankara: Not a serious proposal: Will not discuss a Cavusoglu – Christodoulides meeting

Main News

Turkey rejects proposal of EEZ negotiation with RoC before a solution

Alithia, Haravgi, Phileleftheros, Politis
External Security, Energy, Regional/ International Relations, EU Matters, Negotiations Process

OVERVIEW

The Turkish Foreign Ministry issued an announcement rejecting the possibility of holding direct talks with the Republic of Cyprus regarding EEZ delineation, as a reaction to EU High Representative Josep Borrell’s statement that Europe supports the Cypriot initiative, the dailies report.

Phileleftheros reports that the date for Borrell’s visit to Ankara has not yet been set, but that the EU official intends to fly to Turkey before the next meeting of the Foreign Affairs Council on July 13th. It has already been decided that during that meeting the EU’s Foreign Minister will discuss EU – Turkish relations, as requested by a number of countries, including France.

In its statement, the Turkish Foreign Ministry says that Borrell’s statements lack seriousness since he made no reference to the rights of the T/C community to the island’s natural resources. The Turkish Foreign Ministry also reiterates that the Cypriot Foreign Minister Nicos Christodoulides’s counterpart is not Turkish FM Mevlut Cavusoglu, but T/C “foreign minister” Kudret Ozersay.

Turkey repeats that the delimitation of maritime areas west of Cyprus can only happen after the solution of the Cyprus Problem, and recalled that the T/C side has submitted a proposal for a cooperation mechanism on natural gas before the solution.

Phileleftheros reports that the government draws three conclusions from the Turkish statement: that Turkey will only negotiate with a post-solution state that will also represents the T/Cs, that Turkey expects its agreement with the T/Cs over EEZ delineation north of Cyprus to be respected and that it is ready to negotiate regarding the EEZ west of the island.

Meanwhile, Phileleftheros reports on a story published by German magazine Spiegel regarding the resumption of contacts and negotiations between Greece and Turkey. According to the report, Greek prime minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and Turkish President Tayip Erdogan did not discuss “high politics” during their recent phone call, but concentrated on the coronavirus pandemic and issues of tourism. However, it is reported that the two agreed that the countries need to resume communication.

In another development, AKEL has sent a letter to Foreign Minister  Nicos Christodoulides asking him to provide information regarding the Cypriot stance when it comes to Israel’s efforts to annex part of the West Bank. AKEL points out that as far as the opposition is concerned, Turkey and Israel are in the same “axis of evil” when it comes to illegal occupation.

In an interview with Politis, Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijarto said that the EU is being hypocritical when it comes to Turkey, and pointed out that a lot of countries say different things behind closed doors than their expressed public positions.

He pointed out that the European countries needs to be honest about its relations with Turkey, so that if some member states do not want the country to be a part of the EU, then the EU should work for a different strategic relation.

Szijarto also avoided directly condemning Turkey for its illegal drillings in the Cypriot EEZ, and pointed out that the situation in the region is complicated and that EU – Turkish relations are complex and go beyond events in the Eastern Mediterranean.

Regarding migration, Szijarto said that Hungary’s position is that the EU’s external borders need to be protected and called on the EU to give up on policies that encourage people to migrate to Europe. He added that Hungary rejects the idea of EU states having to accept migrants based on obligatory quotas.


ENI – Total contracts officially extended for 12 months due to pandemic

Politis
Energy, Economy, Regional/ International Relations

OVERVIEW

Politis reports that the Cabinet of Ministers has agreed to postpone contracts signed with the ENI – Total consortium for a year, due to the inability of the companies to proceed with drillings as planned due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The newspaper notes that this does not mean that the companies will be cancelling drillings and other activities or that they are changing their medium and long-term plans, but that those plans will have to be rescheduled.

According to information cited by Politis, during last week’s meeting the Cabinet of Ministers accepted the Ministry of Energy’s proposal to extend contracts, and gave instructions to Yiorgos Lakkotrypis and his successor, Natasa Pelides, to draw up new contracts which will then be submitted to the Cabinet for approval. The companies’ requests were also approved by the Hydrocarbons Advisory Committee.

Politis recalls that the Cabinet has the authority to change the length of contracts after the relevant legislation was amended by the House of Representatives. According to the legislation which was proposed by the government and approved last year, the companies have to substantiate any request for extension.

In effect, contracts regarding plots 2, 3 and 9 that were due to expire on 23/1/2021, a contract for plot 11 that was due to expire on 5/2/2021, a contract for plot 6 that was due to expire on 5/4/2022, a contract for plot 7 that was due to expire on 17/9/2022 and a contract for plot 8 that was due to expire on 5/4/2021, will all be extended for exactly one year.

Politis recalls that the companies are obligated to conduct one exploratory drilling each in plots 2, 3, 8, 9 and 11, two exploratory drillings in plot 6 and one exploratory drilling and seismic surveys in plot 7.

The newspaper also recalls that an exploratory drilling by the Exxon Mobil – Qatar Petroleum consortium that was due to take place this summer in plot 10 has been postponed for September 2021.

Politis also reports that Hoegh LNG has submitted the numbers regarding the company’s proposal for providing Cyprus with natural gas through a private FSRU until the date when the country is producing its own hydrocarbons.

According to information cited by Politis, Hoegh’s proposal, which was submitted to natural gas public company DEFA, will mean that Cyprus will save over 100 million euros on energy for every year the country will import natural gas. Politis also reports that the company cites different charges for each year, meaning that charges will be lowered with the passage of time.

The newspaper points out that it is now up to DEFA to respond whether the proposal can be acceptable to Cypriot interests.