GCC Press Review 27 Feb 2021

Front Page Headlines


They’ll close us before… they open us

New cases skyrocketed to 272 yesterday. New relaxations under threat, since a few hours before their implementation a new concerning surge in cases is being presented. A comforting factor is that the high number of tests yesterday retained the positivity rate at 0.62. 70% of new cases over the past two weeks (1,045 of a total of 1,448) were detected in the Limassol district, which continues to present a high positivity rate (0.91). All hopes lie with vaccines. Next week we will receive 20,000 more doses, while the total number of vaccines that will be available in March is estimated at 160,000 doses.

  • Cyprus Problem-five-party: Lute coming to firm up the process
  • Audit Service on Ayia Napa marina: Indicates involvement of the President’s environment
  • Larnaca: Hotels to restart in April
  • Cyprus-Eurovision: They freaked out with El diablo and are threatening gods and demons


They’re warning of a collapse

Public hospitals on a catastrophic course – Extremely important letter from managerial groups. President of the Republic intervening and convening a meeting.

  • Informal (meeting) without ultimatum but with preconditions
  • Explosion of reactions over the relaxation of measures
  • 14 complaints of sexual abuse
  • Government land (halitiko) and 8 passports to the Ayia Napa marina, with Misirlis (president’s son-in-law) as director
  • Centre in Cyprus for rare genetic diseases


Golden business of the Anastasiades family at the Ayia Napa marina

Audit Service: Irregular leasing of state land and gifting of ‘golden’ passports.

  • Cyprus Problem: The informal summit a ‘moment of opportunity’. Jane Holl Lute coming to Nicosia on March 7-9
  • Pandemic: Demonstrations by owners of recreation businesses, dance schools, gyms, private tutoring schools
  • Reactions over the Eurovision song ‘El Diablo’. Threatening phone call to CyBC

Cyprus Mail

Easing rules an ’empty gesture’

Restaurants protest over being excluded, other businesses call relaxations ‘a joke’.

  • (Photo caption): Restaurant owners unfurl their banners outside the presidential palace on Friday to protest against Covid measures
  • Uproar, fury over Cyprus’ ‘satanic’ Eurovision entry, Cybc threatened
  • Education ministry teams up with UK’s Bolton uni


Towards a tourism agreement with the UK

On the model of the agreement with Israel. The aim is for it to be signed before the summer months. Large interest from Israelis for holidays in Cyprus during Passover. Deliberations are beginning and they will be intense.

  • EU to be present at the five-party
  • Supreme Court: Independence of Justice at risk
  • Coronavirus: Cases doubled, with Limassol growing further out of control
  • Fires started: They want to burn down CyBC over ‘El Diablo’

Main News

EU to participate in informal summit as observer

Alithia, Haravgi, Phileleftheros, Politis
Negotiations Process


The papers report on statements issued by the President of the European Council Charles Michel, who said that the EU will participate in the informal five-party summit as an observer.

The dailies report that Michel reiterated to the Cyprus News Agency the EU’s intention to remain an active participant of the Cyprob process. Michel said the EU will participate in the five-party summit process as an observer and remains highly committed to the Cyprus Problem as it believes that it could play a positive and fruitful role in achieving progress.

Michel also said a discussion on EU-Turkish relations will be held during the European Council summit in March. The papers report that Michel pointed to Turkey’s NATO membership, noting that “it is no secret that over the past few months we had some difficulties with Turkey.” Michel said that the EU’s goal is to re-discuss the matter in March and to take decisions collectively.

Alithia reports on statements issued by Foreign Minister Nicos Christodoulides, who, asked to comment on the TC side’s refusal over EU participation at the informal summit, said that the EU will be present and that the person extending the invitations for participation is the UN Secretary-General (UNSG).

Commenting on the issue of sovereign equality, Christodoulides said that neither will the basis for negotiations be changed, nor is it up for discussion, Alithia reports. He reiterated that the government is aiming for a positive development, which would be the resumption of talks from where they left off at Crans-Montana.

Phileleftheros reports that a grim picture is already being painted of the summit as Turkey is already referring to a negative result. The paper writes that Turkey is on a daily basis getting the message across that it will participate in the Geneva meeting with the aim of blocking all efforts for a federal solution in order to achieve a change of course for negotiations. Phileleftheros sums up Turkey’s action plan as follows: to lead discussions to an impasse in order to justify its position that as long as talks focus on a bizonal bicommunal federal (BBF) solution the impasse will not be broken and there will be no solution.

Phileleftheros reports that the TC negotiator Ergun Olgun said that common ground can be found at the informal summit if sovereign equality and equal international status for both sides is accepted. Olgun added that the TC leader Ersin Tatar has conveyed his vision, which Turkey fully supports, to all involved parties including the UN. Olgun referred to a solution based on sovereign equality and equal international status as a fair, realistic and viable solution that takes into account the island’s current realities.

The dailies report Olgun saying that the TC side is continuing preparations for the informal summit. Last week, lawyers and academics who had been involved in negotiating processes began preparation work, Olgun said, which will continue during three more meetings scheduled for March 1, 3 and 9.

The dailies also report on Tatar’s reaction to the UN’s official announcement on the informal summit. Phileleftheros writes that Tatar’s delay in issuing a statement until after that issued by the Turkish Foreign Minister Melvut Cavusoglu indicates that Tatar isn’t able to say anything until he hears Turkey’s position. Tatar said the date announced by the UN had gotten approval from the TC side, adding that reconciliation in Cyprus requires a new basis for negotiations. He reiterated that negotiations processes that have so far taken place on a basis that has failed for over half a century are now in the past and that a fair and lasting compromise on a realistic basis is feasible.

Tatar added that at the informal summit, the TC side will share the details behind their new vision involving sovereign equality and cooperation between the two sides with honesty and a constructive spirit. Tatar said he will continue working tirelessly to make Cyprus and the region an area of stability and well-being.

The dailies report that the visit to be paid by the UNSG’s special envoy Jane Holl Lute has been confirmed for March 7-9. Alithia reports that Christodoulides said that in addition to Lute’s arrival on March 7, that will follow the visit by the EU’s Foreign Policy chief Josep Borrell next week, Anastasiades is also scheduled to hold a teleconference with the German Chancellor Angela Merkel to discuss matters relating to the Cyprus Problem.

Politis reports that Lute’s visit will aim to finalise as many procedural details regarding the informal summit as possible. Lute will meet with both leaders on March 8, while the following day will likely feature meetings with each side’s chief negotiators. The paper reports that in her meetings with the two leaders, Lute will possibly convey Guterres’ positions and what he expects to see from the two sides, as well as how he plans to move forward procedurally during the Geneva informal meeting.  

Lute will also be meeting with members of UNFICYP so she can be briefed on developments based on contacts held in the recent period by the UNSG’s special representative Elizabeth Spehar. Politis and Alithia report that for the time being a meeting between Anastasiades and Tatar does not appear to have been scheduled, with Alithia reporting that a diplomatic source said that the reason lies with the TC side’s unwillingness.

Meanwhile, Politis reports that Anastasiades on Friday briefed his European Council counterparts on the informal summit and the GC side’s intention to work towards a positive result. Alithia reports that Anastasiades highlighted the important role that could be played by the EU, given that Cyprus will continue to be an EU member state in the event of a settlement.

Alithia reports that Anastasiades also welcomed the EU’s new Agenda for the Mediterranean, and pointed to the role played by Cyprus and Greece as pillars of regional stability through the establishment of tripartite cooperation mechanisms.  On the matter of EU-Turkish relations, Athens said that it would like to see a tougher approach from the EU towards Turkey.

Michel (EU)
EU will participate in 5+1 as observer.
>> EU highly committed to Cyprob and can play important role in achieving positive result.

Change of basis for negotiations not up for discussion.
>> GC side aiming to get negotiations started from where they left off at Crans-Montana.

Common ground possible if sovereign equality & equal international status accepted.
>> Solution based on sovereign equality & equal international status is a fair, realistic and viable solution that takes into account the island’s current realities.

New basis for negotiations required if reconciliation is to be achieved in Cyprus.
>> New vision for a settlement based on sovereign equality feasible.

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