GCC Press Review 5 Mar 2021

Front Page Headlines


They’re pushing for political equality with a spearhead

AKEL and DISY are jointly moving forward in view of the definitive procedures on the Cyprus problem. Averof Neophytou and Andros Kyprianou set aside their differences and, in a move of great political weight, called for a BBF solution with political equality, flexibility and determination ahead of the ‘5+1’. They agreed that we are at “point zero” and addressed all those who claim that the GC side should not go to the informal summit because it would bring massive consequences to the Cyprus problem. Josep Borrell is on the island for contacts, holding the position that the solution cannot come from outside. The Presidential Palace seeks a statement in favour of the BBF.

  • To… Seychelles at low fare – Presidential answers in parliament.
  • EASTMED: Athens talks of “alternative routes”
  • Health ministry: Summer with immunity – By June, we will have the vaccines for 70 per cent of the population.


EU seeks a functional state

Tactful hints to Ankara – No to a formula that will haunt the union. Borrell will meet Anastasiades, Christodoulides and Tatar.

  • Cyprus problem: Averof-Andros form a common line
  • Arbitrary water supply to Pyla from Pergamos – Residents report that expansion plans are underway.
  • They are calling for proof of the fare to Seychelles – The president gave explanations but the opposition was not convinced.
  • A €50 baksheesh to five categories of national guardsmen


The great ‘culprits’ of the (demise of the) Co-op Bank were not even called in for questioning

Civil liabilities are headed for cover-up… the deadline expires in two months.

  • Cyprus problem: AKEL welcomed the DISY leader to its standing positions
  • Diplomacy: Communication between Anastasiades and Merkel. Borrell arrives in Cyprus today.
  • “Golden” passports: “Offences” against Anastasiades over the Seychelles trips

Cyprus Mail

No violation of children’s rights

Testing in schools finds 42 cases. Clusters found in Larnaca, Nicosia and Famagusta. Commissioner defends student tests.

  • Government criticised over choice of vaccine and delays in rollout


Good Morning tourism!

After the agreement with Israel, Great Britain follows suit. Cyprus opens its gates to the British from May 1. They will arrive without negative tests and without having to quarantine. The only condition is vaccination.

  • DISY-AKEL join forces on the Cyprus problem
  • Josep Borrell: The EU will be at the five-party summit
  • France: No to two states in Cyprus
  • You have turned the Committee into a ‘court’ to drag me and my family in – Replies by Anastasiades to MPs over his trips to Seychelles. I have no relations with banks or organisations in Seychelles.
  • Additional monthly €50 allowance to National guardsmen

Main News

Borrell: The new Cyprob process will not start from scratch  

Alithia, Cyprus Mail, Haravgi, Phileleftheros, Politis
Negotiations Process, EU Matters, CBMs


The arrival on the island of EU High Representative on Foreign Policy Josep Borrell and his contacts on both sides are among the main items in papers on Friday.

Meanwhile, the French ambassador to Cyprus, Salina Grenet-Catalano, said a two-state solution in Cyprus is not a real solution, adding that France was in favour of an EU presence at the talks.

Borrell who is set to hold separate meetings with the two leaders and Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides, already sent messages prior to his arrival through an interview with the Cyprus News Agency, mainly that the solution to the Cyprus issue cannot come from outside but lies first and foremost with Cypriots themselves.

Borrell visits the island for contacts ahead of the informal five-party summit on the Cyprus problem, set for April’s end, but also this month’s European Council (EUCO) taking place near the end of March. According to the dailies, Borrell said the EU fully supports the resumption of a settlement process under UN auspices, as soon as possible. He added that his trip to Cyprus was aimed at offering his and the EU’s support in finding a path to resume the talks and help bring an end to the long-standing Cyprus issue in line with UN parameters.

A comprehensive settlement would be beneficial for Cyprus and the EU, and for wider security and stability in the region, he said.

Borrell also said that the EU stands ready to provide whatever assistance both parties and the UN would find most useful. The European Union remains an observer to the Conference on Cyprus, he said.

To CNA’s question if he can confirm that the bizonal bicommunal federation (BBF) with political equality is the only solution that the EU can accept, Borrell stated: “The EU remains committed to reaching a fair, comprehensive and viable settlement of the Cyprus issue, in accordance with the relevant UN Security Council resolutions and in line with the values and principles on which the EU is founded and the acquis communautaire.” He added that the UN Security Council Resolution 2561 of 29 January 2021 recalls the importance of achieving an enduring, comprehensive and just settlement based on a BBF with political equality.
For the EU, he said, it is of utmost importance that the settlement solution safeguards the integrity and decision-making capacities of the EU. “It is also for this reason that the sooner the EU is involved in the renewed settlement process, the better,” he added.

Borrell also said that this is not a process that is starting from scratch since there is a framework – including UN Security Council resolutions – and there is a history, with convergences to build on, with the support of the UN, the Guarantor Powers and the EU. “We know it is not an easy process but we are encouraged by the readiness of the two Cypriot leaders to engage with the United Nations to find a way forward to resume negotiations on a comprehensive solution of the Cyprus problem.”

On Turkey’s role in the context of solution talks, Borrell said it is expected to actively support the negotiations on a fair, comprehensive and viable settlement of the Cyprus issue within the UN framework, and in line with EU principles and acquis. Referring to the solution’s external aspects, he said Turkey’s commitment and contribution in concrete terms to this comprehensive settlement remains crucial. “We always need to take into account that Cyprus is and will remain a member of our Union after the settlement.”

On the issue of Varosha, Borrell made clear that respecting the status of the fenced off area as set out in relevant Security Council resolutions, was of paramount importance. The EU is deeply concerned about developments on the ground and has condemned the latest unilateral steps, which must be reversed, he added. “It is important to avoid any unilateral actions that could trigger tensions on the island and undermine the return to dialogue or the success of future talks. The EU is in close contact with the United Nations and following the situation on the ground closely.”

Responding to a question about the issue of hydrocarbons he said natural resources located in and around Cyprus should benefit all Cypriots and constitute a strong incentive to reach a mutually acceptable settlement in Cyprus. He said the EU encourages the continued development and implementation of confidence‑building measures between the two Cypriot communities also in this area, and stands ready to help. 

Asked to provide an outlook on the upcoming March EUCO and how Cyprus is connected to the process concerning the Greece-Turkey bilateral talks, Borrell said that both the Greek-Turkish exploratory talks and the Cyprus issue are important tracks “that we follow closely in the run up to the March European Council.” He said the March EUCO will be an opportunity for the EU leaders to examine the overall relationship with Turkey and determine next steps.

The dailies also report on an interview of the French ambassador to Cyprus with CNA.

Ambassador Grenet-Catalano said France has always been looking forward to a fair and lasting settlement of the Cyprus issue and is willing to help but it will be easier for them to do so if there is a real negotiating process going on. “That is why we hope that soon the informal meeting which will take place in Geneva, at the end of April, will lead to the resumption of the negotiating process,” she added.
She said that France encourages the parties to show flexibility, in order to allow the resumption of negotiations. On substance, she said, Paris was very much attached to the principles set by the UN resolutions, of a bizonal, bicommunal federation with political equality.
The French Ambassador called for a lasting solution, arguing that this cannot be partition. The two-state solution is not a real solution, partition is not an option, she said. “We would like to have a reunited Cyprus within the EU, and on the substance, we think that the federation is probably the best way, if not the only way, to do so.” She added that they did not want a solution formula that could haunt the EU for a long period of time.
The ambassador said Paris found the ideas about a decentralised or loose federation as very interesting and that political equality is a guarantee of utmost importance in this issue.

She added, however, that it up to the Cypriot people to say what they want, adding that if work is focused on this basis, “maybe we could reach a fair and lasting solution.” Asked about the EU’s involvement in the Cyprus problem, Grenet-Catalano recalled that at the last EUCO, the EU members decided that they would appoint a representative to the UN Good Offices Mission as long as the negotiating process would start again.
The EU, she said, has a role to play in this issue, because a reunited Cyprus will be an EU member state. “We are very much in favour of the European presence, as it was the case before, during the Crans-Montana negotiating process,” Grenet-Catalano added.
Referring to the pandemic, she said Cyprus has managed quite well the crisis but expressed concern about the continuous closure of the crossing points. “Of course, both sides have to take measures to tackle the pandemic but the side-effects on people-to-people contacts are worrisome. So, I hope that both parties will find workable solutions and ways to coordinate better on this issue as well as the distribution of vaccines. I think it is in the interest of the whole population in Cyprus,” she added.

Politis reports that Nicosia wants to achieve a clear reference by Borrell on the desired solution to the Cyprus problem while at the same time, through the contacts he will have with the TC side, to reiterate the position that the solution should be based on the agreed framework and not that of two states with sovereign equality. On the upcoming EUCO, the daily also reports that Nicosia wants to avoid the possibility of the EU giving Turkey any gifts now without Ankara having made any substantive moves on the Cyprus problem. At the same time, Anastasiades wishes that the issue of Turkey’s acceptance and implementation of international law and European principles and values and the fulfilment of its obligations towards the EU member states, as well as its contribution in resolving the Cyprus issue be considered during the EUCO.

Phileleftheros, citing Borrell’s and the French ambassador’s statements, reports on a European message to Turkey. The daily reports that the two officials clarified what the EU wants ahead of the resumption of talks. What the EU wants is very specific: they are interested in a solution to ensure the EU’s integrity and decision-making capabilities but which should also be based on the UN decisions while Turkey is expected to actively support the effort, Phileleftheros reports.

 Alithia reports that Borrell has confirmed the EU’s participation at the five-party summit.

Borrell (EU)
No one other than Cypriots themselves can reach the Cyprob solution.
EU fully supports speedy resumption of process under UN auspices & will also be involved since solution safeguards the integrity and decision-making capacities of the EU.
>> Cyprob solution will benefit Cyprus, the EU & will bring regional security and stability.
>> EU supports UN solution framework which calls for a BBF with political equality.
>> Talks cannot start from scratch. Can build on framework, history & convergences.
>> EU expects Turkey to actively support talks within UN framework & in line with EU principles & acquis. On external aspects, recalls that Cyprus will remain an EU member after the solution.
>> Reiterates EU call for respect of Varosha status & reversal of latest unilateral actions, which could trigger tensions & undermine return to dialogue or success of future talks.
>> EU encourages CBMs on issue of hydrocarbons, which should benefit all Cypriots & be a strong incentive to reach a Cyprob solution.

Grenet-Catalano (France)
France willing to help Cypriots reach solution but first, actual process needs to start.
>> Encourages parties to show flexibility so 5+1 leads to talks’ resumption.
>> Paris supports a BBF solution with political equality. Does not believe a two-state solution is an option because it wants a reunited Cyprus within the EU.
>> Ideas on decentralised or loose federation very interesting & political equality a guarantee of utmost importance. But up to Cypriots to decide what they want.
>> EU has role to play in Cyprob process since reunited Cyprus will be EU member state.
>> Concerned by continuous closure of crossing points & side-effects on people-to-people contacts. Calls on sides to find workable solutions & ways to better coordinate on this but also on vaccine distribution.

DISY-AKEL agree common goal for BBF solution with political equality

Alithia, Cyprus Mail, Haravgi, Phileleftheros, Politis
Negotiations Process


The leaders of ruling DISY and main opposition AKEL have joined forces to promote a bizonal bicommunal federal (BBF) solution based on political equality, the dailies report.

The papers report on the meeting on Thursday of DISY leader Averof Neophytou and AKEL leader Andros Kyprianou, to discuss the Cyprus problem and the upcoming five-party summit, set to be held in late April in Geneva. They both said they reject a two-state solution and a confederation.

Neophytou said he was satisfied by the meeting, initiated by him, and that he was leaving the meeting with more optimism.

Pointing out he would never become a leftist or communist, or that AKEL would ever agree with him on economic issues, the DISY leader said they were united by a common vision and goal, “of seeing our homeland reunited.”

He argued that the two parties could regain any losses as regards public support “but if we lose our homeland, we will not be able to regain it.” Neophytou said he agreed with Kyprianou about their historic responsibilities, pointing out they would be cursed by this generation and the ones to follow if they let secondary issues prevent them from dealing with the major issue.

He said there was no longer time as regards the Cyprus problem and expressed concerns that if the GC side did not go to the five-party, it would bear the blame for the partition of the island, while Varosha would be lost.

Neophytou also said that it would be utopia to believe that scrapping the BBF would take things back to 1960 and the unitary state but without guarantees and the veto. He argued that the 1960 Constitution had the worst form of political equality because it provided for the election of a TC vice president with the power to veto which paralysed the state.

Kyprianou said after the meeting that there was need for cooperation, warning that developments were worrying. “We are at ground zero, Turkey is escalating its aggression and intransigence and is attempting new facts on the ground which, if successful, will bring us very close to partition.”

He said that regardless of his party’s stance against the government and policies, if the president handles the Cyprus problem in the right way and proceeds with determination, consistency and insistence on the principles, AKEL will assume its historic responsibilities.

He warned there was no more time to lose and that the GC side ought to make the most of the informal five-party summit and force Turkey to return to the agreed solution framework. Kyprianou said that if there is political will from all sides, it would not take much time to reach an agreement.

Responding to a question on the issue of decentralised federation, he said AKEL was not against this idea in principle but would like first to hear from President Nicos Anastasiades which powers from the ones that have already been agreed on, he proposes decentralising and transferring to the constituent entities. So far, the president has not elaborated on this, he said, and AKEL would decide once it has all the information.

Politis reports that the two party leaders did not miss the opportunity to address those who believe that the GC side should not go to the 5+1 summit. The AKEL leader expressed the belief that if the GCs do not go to the informal meeting, they will find themselves closer to the final partition, which will be a disaster. Neophytou was more intense in his position, saying that detractors do not understand that if the GC side does not go to the five-party summit, it will bear the responsibility, before the process begins, for partition while Varosha will be lost.

Haravgi reports that Kyprianou welcomed the DISY leader to AKEL’s offices but also to the party’s standing positions on the Cyprus problem solution.

Politis reports that AKEL and DISY proved yesterday that they have the intention but also the will to put aside any disagreements on the issues of internal governance and to face with unanimity and understanding the Cyprus issue, while also showing the Presidential Palace how to approach the 5+1 summit.

According to Phileleftheros, the two party leaders sealed their meeting with messages for many recipients. They stressed that this was a crucial period and that the only solution on the table is the BBF with political equality as provided for in the UN resolutions. The daily also reports that the two leaders exchanged gifts – zivania, wine, sausages and lountza – on the occasion of Stinky Thursday. It added that the gift exchange was also symbolic for the two party leaders who wanted to stress their good relations despite disagreements on other issues.

Neophytou/Kyprianou (DISY/AKEL)
Against two-state solution or any thing other than a BBF with political equality.
Want to see Cyprus reunited & have a historic duty to support this process.

Neophytou (DISY)
Though AKEL & DISY do not see eye to eye on many issues they share the common vision and goal of seeing their homeland reunited.
>> There is no more time, the Cyprob needs to be solved now.
>> If the GC side does not go to the five-party summit, it will be responsible for developments leading to the island’s final partition & final loss of Varosha.
>> It is a utopia to believe that if the BBF is scrapped things will go back to 1960 & the unitary state but without the guarantees and right to veto. The 1960 Constitution had the worst form of political equality because it provided for the election of a TC VP with the power to veto which paralysed the state.

Kyprianou (AKEL)
 Warns of negative developments by Turkey’s escalating aggression, intransigence & attempts for new fait accompli which, if successful, will bring partition much closer.
>> If Anastasiades handles the Cyprob the right way & proceeds with determination, consistency and insistence on the principles, AKEL will back him.
>> The GC side must make the most of the five-party summit & force Turkey to return to the agreed solution framework.
>> Believes if all sides show political will, it will not take long to solve Cyprob.
>> Not negative per se to decentralised federation idea but before taking a stand wants to hear actual details from Anastasiades on which competences will be devolved.

Anastasiades calls on Erdogan to stop provocations

Alithia, Cyprus Mail, Haravgi, Phileleftheros, Politis
Negotiations Process, EU Matters, Citizenship & Migration


President, Nicos Anastasiades said on Thursday he asked German Chancellor Angela Merkel to convey to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan the message that Turkey must stay away from any provocations and avoid any activities that could influence the status quo of Famagusta.

In a written statement, Anastasiades said he made that request after a teleconference with Merkel on Thursday evening. Merkel is set to have a teleconference with Erdogan on Friday.

Anastasiades also asked Merkel to tell Erdogan that if Turkey wants a positive agenda from the EU, it needs to create the conditions that would not disregard any member state. He also called on Erdogan through Merkel to take measures to stop the refugee flows.

He added that Merkel showed a readiness to play a role in the efforts in order to prevent any provocative actions by Turkey. She was also eager to contribute so that the EU will be present and give any other help it can at the legal or other level, so that the pursued settlement of the Cyprus problem will be the desired one.

Anastasiades said that they had a long and quite creative conversation with Merkel in the framework of efforts made to ask countries which are friendly to Cyprus, to intervene with a view to help create conditions that would allow the UN Secretary-General to proceed with a substantive dialogue on the Cyprus problem and convene a new conference on Cyprus.

The president said that he had the opportunity to reiterate his determination to be creative at the informal five-party meeting, insisting that the solution cannot derogate from the parameters of the UN resolutions and cannot violate the EU acquis.

“As I explained, we are and we will remain an EU country and this is why we are asking for the EU’s contribution so that, with its presence, it will secure that what is agreed is compatible with the EU acquis,” he added.

Anastasiades also said that he and Merkel discussed the European Council meeting that will take place on March 25-26, during which the migration issue will be raised, recalling that refugee flows from Turkey have a significant impact on the demographics of the  Republic of Cyprus and especially of the GC community.

If Turkey wants positive relations with EU, it must stop provocations & refrain from actions affecting Varosha’s status quo, stop ignoring Cyprus & stop refugee flows.
>> Nicosia wants Germany & other friendly states to help create conditions to allow the UNSG to proceed with substantive talks on the Cyprob.
>> Will go to the five-party with determination & creative ideas but this does not mean he will agree to a solution framework that strays from UN parameters & violates EU acquis.
>> Cyprus is and will remain an EU country after the solution hence the need for the EU to contribute to Cyprob process to secure that what is agreed is compatible with EU acquis.

Proposal to Borrell on bicommunal hospital in buffer zone

Alithia, Cyprus Mail, Phileleftheros
EU Matters, CBMs


The dailies host an open letter to EU High Representative Josep Borrell by lawyer Achilleas Demetriades with a proposal concerning the creation of a bicommunal hospital for Covid-19 in the buffer zone.

He said he was in agreement with the position expressed by the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres that Cypriots must take the initiative and prove that they can think about their future through cooperation and joint action. The creation of a bicommunal hospital for Covid-19 in the buffer zone, he said, could boost cooperation between health workers and patients from both communities. The EU, he said, can assume a catalytic role in its construction and thus contribute to promoting confidence-building measures in the most tangible way by tackling the pandemic with the best available means.

Demetriades also said that the EU’s intention to reappoint an envoy to take part in the UN-sponsored talks and the EU’s presence as an observer at the Cyprus Conference were particularly encouraging. He asked if this envoy has already been chosen.

He also said it was imperative to know whether the EU maintains its intention to allocate €3.1bn in support of the settlement process as expressed by the then-president of the European Commission Jean Claude Juncker in Switzerland.

GC Pyla residents warn over possible Pergamos expansion in buffer zone



The daily reports that GC residents of the mixed village of Pyla have expressed concerns over attempts by the local authority of Pergamos to arbitrarily extend its water supply network to a Turkish military outpost and a small TC housing estate outside Pyla.

Referring to attempts to create a new fait accompli in Pyla, the daily reports that it has received complaints but also has photos in its possession proving Pergamos’ actions. It said that the housing estate was created a few years ago by the family of a TC named Mustafa Kattou from Pyla.

According to the daily, some people had intervened in the past, getting the Electricity Authority to supply power to the area. Now, the water supply from Pergamos was justified as necessary by the TCs who argue that due to the fact the housing estate is on a hilly area, it is difficult for water to reach there. The Turkish military outpost, until now, has been using a borehole to extract water, the daily reports. The illegal water pipeline starts from a point east of the municipal stadium and after about one and a half kilometres along the road that connects Pergamos with Pyla, it turns west to the settlement of the Kattou family and the Turkish outpost, the daily reported.

GC Pyla residents, however, warn that the water transfer from Pergamos to that TC housing estate was the first step in the village’s future expansion which was something that the TCs have been planning with various moves in recent years while they also banned GCs from entering the estate.

They complained to the daily that the UN and the British Dhekelia bases, through which the pipeline passes, are monitoring the illegal operations without any interference despite the protests and concerns of the GC residents. The residents call on the government, the UN and the bases to put a stop to this arbitrary move, the daily reported.

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