GCC Press Review 7 September 2020

Front Page Headlines

Politis

Successive discounts for Cypriot passport bargain prices

25.7 million euro investment in 2007 – 2 million euro price in 2020. Financial demands for gaining a Cypriot citizenship are being reduced for 13 years, while the control system is proven to have been full of holes, which resulted in the naturalisation of international crooks. Even after the EU’s recommendations and warnings the party with suspicious naturalisations continued, leaving shadows of corruption over politicians, lawyers, auditors and businesspeople.

  • Naturalisations: AKEL keeps intense rhetoric
  • Migration: Constant flows a headache

Phileleftheros

Moscow says it’s here

Sergey Lavrov: Readiness to contribute to good neighbourly relations between RoC – Cyprus. Exclusive interview by the Russian FM to “Ph”.

  • Cyprus a “bright spot” in energy landscape – Petroleum Analyst (online magazine): With the discovery of reserves it can be turned from a natural import facility to an export facility – The discovery of “Aphrodite” in 2011 created mistaken hopes that Cyprus would have its own natural gas available in a short time period – Markedly reduced international hydrocarbon prices can create negative conditions for Cyprus’s reserves, they will however inversely benefit the Cynergy terminal
  • Political thermometer high: They maintain the naturalisations tussle
  • War climate by Ankara against Greece
  • 33 illegal migrants return to Lebanon

Haravgi

Bitter truths, unanswered questions

In other countries there would be a political earthquake. Whatever the government might say, it is all true. Government sees an undermining of the investment programme.

  • Is the spy van still in use?
  • Is it contravening the Geneva Convention (?)
  • A “hot” agenda for Lavrov visit
  • Only two – asymptomatic – cases of COVID-19 from 2,150 lab tests

Alithia

Ending AKEL’s noise

Government decision to protect the investments programme. Koushios: The government decided it will not continue to contribute to the undermining of the programme by AKEL, which essentially destroys it, inside and outside Cyprus, thus harming also the economy of our country. EDEK on citizenships: The clash aims for political benefits.

  • Meeting today at Interior Ministry: Arrival of migrants in waves – 33 migrants repatriated to Lebanon, they were on one of the three ships that approached Cyprus
  • Turkish provocations: European warnings
  • Cyprus – Russia: Lavrov arrives in Cyprus today

Main News

Lavrov comes for economy, promises assistance in relations with Turkey

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

OVERVIEW

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told Phileleftheros in an interview that Moscow can contribute in the creation of good neighbourly relations between Cyprus and Turkey, given that both sides request it.

He said that Russia believes there is political will in both Nicosia and Ankara to work for avoiding further escalation in the region. He pointed out however that all differences should be solved through the United Nations and expressed his concerns over the situation in the Eastern Mediterranean. He also said that any actions that could increase tension are unacceptable.

In this context, Lavrov said that Russia is ready to contribute to the creation of good neighbourly relations between Cyprus and Turkey, under the strict prerequisite that both sides request it.

Lavrov was due to arrive on the island on Monday ahead of an official visit on Tuesday marking 60 years of Russian-Cypriot relations. During the visit the two sides will finalise two cooperation agreements regarding avoidance of double taxation and on the structure of discussion between the two Foreign Ministries.

Lavrov said that the strengthening of the cooperation between Russia and Turkey and Moscow’s coordination with Ankara on regional issue does not affect the country’s dialogue with Cyprus.

Regarding Varosha, Lavrov said that this issue should be solved through in accordance with Security Council resolutions and that unilateral moves will further hamper efforts to restart negotiations. He added that the worsening of the situation regarding Varosha and Cyprus’s EEZ shows that negotiations should restart as soon as possible, and added that the two sides should not be pressured by external actors.

He also said that the restrictions imposed due to the coronavirus are another negative factor hampering the negotiations process. Lavrov underlined his hopes that the return to bicommunal contacts can happen in accordance with the epidemiological situation and the result of the internal elections in the T/C community.

Politis meanwhile reports that the economic relations between Cyprus and Russia are in fact on top of Lavrov’s agenda. According to the report, Lavrov will seek the finalisation of specific bilateral agreements, at a time when the US have sent the message that they are concerned regarding Moscow’s influence in the region, particularly Syria.

The newspaper reports that Nicosia is expected to ask Russia to intervene regarding Turkey’s actions in the region. Politis also cites government sources which have said that Cyprus has no intention to harm its relations with Russia, and that this is not even an option. The report also puts forward the question over whether the government will bring up a recent Turkish NAVTEX regarding a Russian military exercise in the area which is due to take place on Tuesday.

In another development, the Cyprus News Agency reports that European Council President Charles Michel talked with Turkish President Tayip Erdogan on Sunday, citing an EU source. The same source said that Michel reiterated the EU’s solidarity with Greece and Cyprus and underlined the need for de-escalation, calling on Turkey to abstain from moves that increase tensions.

According to the same reports, Michel also informed Erdogan of his proposal for a multi-party conference regarding the situation in the Eastern Mediterranean.

The media also report on a statement by French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian who said that Erdogan knows the EU has many possible measures on the table. Le Drian called on Erdogan to begin negotiations regarding his Eastern Mediterranean policies.

Turkey continues to react to Friday’s agreement between the 27 Foreign Ministers regarding the possibility of sanctions due to its behaviour in the Eastern Mediterranean.


Cyprus sends ship with 33 migrants back to Lebanon

Alithia, Haravgi, Phileleftheros
Migration & Citizenship, Human Rights

OVERVIEW

The dailies report on three boats with migrants that arrived to Cyprus on Saturday. One was returned back to Lebanon from where it had left, while the passengers of the second boat were taken to a migrant reception centre.

Alithia reports that Interior Minister Nicos Nouris will coordinate a ministerial meeting regarding the issue on Monday. Nouris said that the government has coordinated with the government of Lebanon and taken specific decisions. He added that the ministers will examine the situation given that the Pournara detention centre is now more than full.

Nouris also said that the country has no other option and that the return of migrants will be the tactic followed especially regarding migrants arriving from Lebanon. In its report, Haravgi poses the question whether this policy of push-backs violates international human rights law.

The private boat from Lebanon arrived off the coast of Limassol, bearing 33 persons, 14 of which were children. Thirty of the passengers were Lebanese citizens and three were Syrian. According to a report by Phileleftheros, it was decided to return the boat to Lebanon with a private ship which was also loaded with food and other necessary provisions.

Also, a boat with 51 migrants (11 were children) arrived on Saturday morning at the coast of Paralimni, in an area that is part of the buffer zone, close to Kapparis beach. The passengers were received by UNFICYP and then handed over to the Cypriot authorities.

Phileleftheros reports that the Famagusta District Court ordered that four men that had been arrested for assisting persons from third countries to enter the RoC be detained for eight days. The men, three from Syria and one from Lebanon, were believed to have been driving the boat.

The migrants were tested for health and then transferred to the migrant reception centre in Kokkinotrimithia. A woman and three infants that had been on the same boat had been transferred earlier to the Famagusta General Hospital.

The third boat is reported to have arrived off the coast of Famagusta bearing another 30 people.

According to Alithia, another 20 migrants crossed into the government controlled areas from the occupied areas in the area close to the village of Mammari.