GCC Press Review 13 Jan 2021

Front Page Headlines


Guterres sceptical on next step

The GC side wants a stronger involvement of the UN in efforts towards the ‘5+1′. President and UNSG held a telephone conversation to mainly discuss the lack of reference, in Antonio Guterres’ draft reports, to the agreed upon solution framework. The informal ‘5+1’ meeting is expected to take place in the last week of February, but the UNSG’s role and its outcome remain uncertain. The international organisation is mulling over all possible scenarios for the next day. The responsibility for finding common ground, which will determine the next step in the Cyprus Problem, lies mainly with the two sides, while later in the day Anastasiades and Tatar will meet with Elizabeth Spehar.

  • Moderna has arrived: If hospitalisations decrease lockdown will be lifted
  • State budget: Safety net for workers’ children
  • Pournara: Eight arrests – They wrought havoc


New framework in the works

UNSG considering to submit new parameters with the launch of the informal five-party meeting. Consultations in view of discussion at Security Council.

  • The pandemic is wrecking everything in its path: Deep imprint in the lives of people – “The most vulnerable group are our elderly and we forget that every time an old person dies, a ‘library’ full of wisdom and experiences of decades is burnt”. The new generation is growing up with the perspective that tomorrow will be worse than today and all this translates into concern. “Isolation and loneliness remain along with the economic dimension which also leaves a deep imprint in the lives of citizens”. “Isolation is deadly.” Our course yesterday: Four more deaths. Three men aged 60, 78 and 91 years old and and an 84-year-old woman. 256 coronavirus cases. 133 were the result of 10,441 rapid tests. 123 were the result of 2,790 PCR tests. 120 were locally acquired and emerged after 2,224 tests. One in six contacts was positive for the virus.
  • Proposals by Ministers and others at today’s Council of Ministers: They’re examining potential relaxations of measures announced Friday
  • They’re going to Parliament for a majority approval now: EDEK too is closer to a ‘yes’ on the state budget
  • Violent stone-throwing by Syrians-Africans: Not even the pandemic cut migrant flows
  • Online invitation for registration in electoral register


They’re reinstating funds for privatisations

The government is trying to reinstate funds for privatisations, as well as for the procurement of services from international agencies for the ‘golden’ passports, through the revised state budget which was submitted before Parliament yesterday for urgent examination. It is expected that it will be evaluated by parties and voted on next week. No changes in matters of foreclosures and loans. They’re insisting on roads. They’re ignoring the environment-antiquities. C. Petrides ‘nails’ M. Sizopoulos regarding GESY.

  • Lute will also meet with guarantor powers – Spehar sees Anastasiades and Tatar today.
  • A two-state solution is not the will of T/Cs
  • Turkey wants to take the place of Britain!
  • Pandemic: Comprehensive planning absent – The insufficiency and inability of the government stretches also to the erratic, spasmodic and contradictory restriction measures. Staff shortages and insufficient development of equipment and infrastructure. Cyprus is lagging behind in healthcare funds to deal with the pandemic.
  • Pournara centre: Inhumane conditions lead to exasperation and violence

Cyprus Mail

‘It’s no longer a refugee issue’

Interior minister vexed after clash at Pournara left 35 people injured.

  • ‘Vital’ that 2021 budget will be accepted, says Petrides


Padlock on ‘factory of rage’

Decision of Cabinet of Ministers. Suspension of operation of asphalt production unit of the company Prometheas Asphalt Ltd in Tseri, which operates without a license. Kadis: Our main concern is the safeguarding of the health of residents.

  • 157 dead due to coronavirus! And 58 are hospitalised in critical condition – Four more died yesterday – 259 new cases in 13,231 tests.
  • Hospitals full, public and private: Beds decreasing, surgeries being cancelled
  • Turkey changing course? Persistent openings by Erdogan to EU for good relations
  • Violent clashes between Syrians and Africans – At ‘Pournara’ centre

Main News

Reports that the UNSG is preparing a new framework

Cyprus Mail, Haravgi, Phileleftheros, Politis
Negotiations Process


Phileleftheros reports that the UN Secretary-General (UNSG) is preparing a new framework for how negotiations on the Cyprus Problem can move forward. Specifically, the daily states that at the upcoming informal five-party summit, Antonio Guterres will likely repeat the procedural formula followed in Crans-Montana, where he met separately with all parties, before presenting a new framework on how talks can proceed.

Politis backs this up with comments made by Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides on a television news programme on Tuesday, where he stated that it is likely the UNSG will meet with all parties and table his own positions on the matters at hand. The paper claims that the Greek Cypriot side is hopeful for such a form of stronger involvement on behalf of the UNSG.

While Politis reports that the informal summit is expected to take place in the last week of February, Phileleftheros reports that it will either happen late February or early March in New York.

In the meantime, Politis reports that the UN is maintaining pressure on the two sides, with Phileleftheros stating that Guterres is expecting all parties to submit proposals on the way forward.

Citing sources, Politis claims that either the two sides will find common ground to resume negotiations, or they will maintain their current distance, making the way forward unclear.

Both dailies saw this distance further reinforced by Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan’s reference to the necessity of a two-state solution when speaking before Ambassadors of EU member states to Turkey. Politis reports Erdogan saying that “we must focus on new and realistic alternatives instead of repeatedly discussing models that have failed”.

According to the Cyprus Mail, in an unofficial draft of Guterres’ report on his Good Offices Mission in Cyprus that has been circulated to the UN Security Council (UNSC), the UNSG states that he intends to invite all sides to a five-plus-one conference aiming to explore whether common ground exists to negotiate a sustainable, lasting solution, but acknowledges the scepticism that has formed in both communities on a return to peace talks.

In light of the draft report, Politis, citing sources, reports that Anastasiades contacted the UNSG and pointed a finger at his lack of reference to the solution model being sought, requesting a clearer reference to be made in the final copy. The paper states that the omission was purposeful, as the UNSG’s last reference to the course negotiations must take – that is, along the lines of UNSC Resolutions and convergences already reached – was made in a letter dated October 26, 2020. This was before Tatar and Turkey strongly expressed their position regarding the need to find alternative solutions in their meetings with Spehar and the UNSG’s special envoy Jane Holl Lute.

Politis reports that the UN is preparing for all scenarios in terms of the informal summit, including a failure, in which case Guterres will provide instructions to the UNSC on how the matter will be handled. In the case of a positive outcome, a joint declaration will be issued by the two leaders, though the paper states that this scenario seems far-fetched.

Even so, Phileleftheros cites Christodoulides warning that “we should not fall once again into the trap of going to New York expecting Turkey to reject everything.”

Meanwhile, the UNSG’s Special Representative in Cyprus Elizabeth Spehar is due to meet with the two leaders this Wednesday morning to discuss UNFICYP’s renewal.

Guterres (UN)
Expresses readiness in draft report to convene informal five-party meeting but refers to growing scepticism among both sides on a return to talks.

Erdogan (Turkey)
Maintains position on need to seek new & realistic alternative solutions to Cyprob.

Over 100,000 visits to Varosha since partial opening

Alithia, Cyprus Mail


The dailies report the figures behind visits to Varosha since it was partially opened to the public in October 2020.

Citing Turkish Cypriot media, Alithia and the Cyprus Mail report that in the 95 days since the partial opening of Varosha, the town has so far received a total of 103,118 visitors, among which are also Greek Cypriots and third-country nationals.

Clashes break out at Pournara refugee camp

Cyprus Mail, Politis, Phileleftheros, Haravgi
Migration & Citizenship

The dailies report on clashes that broke out on Tuesday among some 600 residents of the Pournara migrant camp in Kokkinotrimithia, that left 35 injured and resulted in considerable damage to camp facilities.

The dailies report that 24 people were transferred to Nicosia general hospital for emergency treatment, while Politis said police moved to arrest eight people who are believed to have incited the clashes and caused material damage to the premises.

Politis and the Cyprus Mail report that the clashes were between Syrian and African residents of the camp, with Politis claiming that the violent confrontation erupted after African residents refused to put out a fire they made to cook.

The incident was condemned on Tuesday by Interior Minister Nicos Nouris, who Phileleftheros reports laid the burden of the blame on Turkey for the rising numbers of irregular migrants arriving in Cyprus. Turkey is selectively picking migrants and guiding them into the Republic through the north, despite its agreement with EU, he said.

In response to the incident, Haravgi reports that AKEL called for an improvement to living conditions at the camp, with the party claiming that overcrowding and other shortages create the conditions for such violent confrontations. The centre is currently hosting around 1,500 migrants despite its capacity for only 1,000.

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