GCC Press Review 21 Apr 2021

Front Page Headlines


Ballot box just for COVID cases problematic

The protection of personal data ‘thorny’, as is the absence of a digital electoral register.

  • President: Last stop in Athens before Geneva
  • From bad to worse: 941 new cases, 1.66% positivity rate
  • Johnson & Johnson: Green light from the EMA


Decisive tete-a-tetes

The fate of the five-party summit will be determined during Antonio Guterres’ one-on-one meetings. The meeting between Anastasiades-Tatar on the second day, April 28.

  • Ankara maintaining tension with Greece
  • They caught smugglers of foreigners from the north red handed
  • Easter table with just a few, scientists propose: Resurrection without relaxations


Hard times… with hospitals over capacity

Picture at hospitals causing concern, but measures aren’t being made stricter.

  • Cyprus problem: SG of UN beginning Holy Tuesday with meeting with President
  • A la carte referrals of patients to the private sector

Cyprus Mail

Cases hit record as Easter mulled

941 Covid cases seen on Tuesday, tweaks considered for festive church services only.


50 faithful inside the church and the rest in the yard

On the night of the Resurrection, the service will begin earlier. On the night of the Resurrection, curfew will begin in the early morning, so that the faithful have time to return home after church. New record cases yesterday (941!) and another one dead.

  • End to rumour that Anastasiades discussed two states with Cavusoglu: What the recorded discussions reveal
  • Flows increasing: New migrant arrivals and arrest of 4 smugglers

Main News

Anastasiades in Athens to coordinate Geneva strategy

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


President Nicos Anastasiades was in Athens on Wednesday for a meeting with the Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, with talks expected to focus on the Cyprus problem and the strategy to be followed at the informal five-party summit to be held in Geneva next week.

The meeting will also see the participation of Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides and his Greek counterpart Nikos Dendias, Phileleftheros reports, while Alithia adds that also present will be government spokesman Kyriakos Koushos, Ambassador of the Republic in Greece Kyriakos Kenevezos and head of the President’s diplomatic office Kyriakos Kouros.  

Following the National Council scheduled for Friday, during which Anastasiades is set to brief political leaders (all of whom barring the leader of ELAM will accompany him to Geneva) on tactics to be followed at the summit, Politis reports that Anastasiades will also hold important meetings on Monday night and Tuesday morning with his close associates and the legal team working on the Cyprus problem. Politis reports that all documents and studies on which the GC side will base its arguments are ready, while strategies for dealing with all scenarios that could play out have been prepared.

The dailies also focused on the meeting that will be held between Anastasiades and TC leader Ersin Tatar on April 28 in the framework of the summit. Politis reports that UN Secretary General (UNSG) Antonio Guterres may also be present at the meeting, but not necessarily. Phileleftheros reports that the one-on-one meetings set to take place on the second day of the summit are considered the most crucial in achieving a positive outcome at the summit.

Cyprus Mail reports that Koushos said Tuesday that the EU’s participation as an observer has not been confirmed due to the Turkish side’s objections. Koushos reiterated the GC side’s desire for the EU representative to be present, noting that the issue was also raised again by Christodoulides during the meeting of the EU Foreign Affairs Council (FAC) that took place through a teleconference on Monday.

Koushos said that “it is clear that the EU will be present in the discussion on the substance of the Cyprus problem. It is something for which there are no objections and no problem. The problem was for this informal five-party in Geneva,” Cyprus Mail reports.

Phileleftheros reports that delegations traveling to Geneva for the summit are expected to be subject to strict treatment by Swiss authorities, since Switzerland has included Cyprus in its red category, signalling high risk in terms of coronavirus, and as such those arriving from the island, including the media, will be restricted to the hotel area. The paper reports that certain exceptions are expected to be made for Anastasiades and members of the negotiating team who will be travelling to the UN office in Geneva to participate in the three-day summit.

Coronavirus restrictions also mean that practical details of the summit remain up the air, Phileleftheros reports, including the number of people that will be permitted to accompany Anastasiades and the leaders of other representations, and whether journalists will be able to travel to the UN office to cover the summit. The paper reports that what is clear is that the political leaders to accompany Anastasiades will be restricted to the hotel, as will a number of members of the negotiating team. Overall, the paper suggests that some 50 people, including politicians, technocrats and journalists are expected to travel from the Republic to Geneva.

Politis reports that the climate in the north has grown increasingly tense, mainly due to the differing approaches to the informal summit and the solution being sought, with Tatar and his ‘government’ remaining fully streamlined with Ankara’s instructions and the opposition mounting pressure in favour of a bi-zonal, bicommunal federation (BBF) with political equality. The paper reports that TC authorities are also subject to pressure as regards the management of the pandemic. Phileleftheros reports that while pressure is also high for Anastasiades due to a range of domestic issues, parties and particularly the opposition are keeping tensions low due to the upcoming summit.

Even so, Alithia reports that AKEL on Tuesday mounted an attack on Anastasiades over an interview with Alpha TV during which AKEL said the President casted doubt over the convergence achieved as regards effective participation and the positive vote, describing this as very problematic. AKEL said Turkey will take advantage of the Republic’s hesitation over political equality to cast doubt over the solution framework as a whole, adding that there’s also the risk of the GC side shouldering the responsibility for a potential new collapse.

In response, Alithia reports that Koushos posed the question of what good it does that AKEL keeps insisting that the GC side publicly negotiates among itself and at such a critical moment.

EU participation in Geneva remains unclear due to Turkey’s objections, but EU will definitely be present at formal talks

>> Anastasiades’ attempt to cast doubt over past convergence involving political equality problematic, could be used by Turkey to cast doubt over solution framework & GC side could bear burden of blame for potential collapse

2-state solution discussion between Anastasiades, Cavusoglu resurfaces

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


The dailies report that the issue of a discussion between President Nicos Anastasaides and Turkish Foreign Minister Melvut Cavusoglu in 2018 during which the former has been rumoured to have discussed the prospect of a two-state solution has re-entered the spotlight, with Anastasiades stating that minutes held by both the Republic and Turkey show that he stood against such a development.

The dailies report that in an interview with Alpha TV on Monday, during which Anastasiades was called to respond to allegations that he referred to a two-state solution during a conversation with Cavusoglu, Anastasiades said the GC side has never accepted to discuss such a solution and this is reflected in the recording of the specific discussion.

Anastasiades said he would have no objection if Cavusoglu moved to publish their conversation, “the full conversation though.” He said the GC side got hold of the Turkish side’s recording and compared the transcript with its own, finding that the two coincide. In that discussion, Anastasiades said he pointed out from the beginning that the two-state solution will not be accepted by the international community or the EU. “This exists in both documents,” he said.

Asked on Tuesday, Koushos said the UN informed the GC side that the Turkey has given the international organisation its minutes of the conversation between Anastasiades and Cavusoglu. Koushos said he is not sure whether the GC received the minutes taken by Turkey or whether it was informed of the content via the UN.

Alithia clarifies that the discussion in question was one held in New York on the sidelines of a UN General Assembly in 2018 after the collapse of the round of negotiations held in Crans-Montana. The paper writes that Cavusoglu had requested the meeting, during which he insisted that Turkey has exhausted its efforts for a federal solution and called for a new direction in negotiations, which Alithia writes was a clear reference to a two-state solution.

GC side has never accepted to discuss such a solution and this is reflected in minutes (both Turkey’s and Republic’s) of discussion held with Cavusoglu in 2018
>> Told Cavusoglu that two-state solution will not be accepted by the international community or the EU
>> No objection if Cavusoglu publishes full conversation text

Police catch migrant smugglers in act at Lympia-Athienou Buffer Zone

Alithia, Phileleftheros
Internal Security


Police arrested four persons attempting to facilitate the illegal entry from the north into the Republic of a number of irregular migrants through the Buffer Zone at the Lympia-Athienou area, the dailies report.

Reports said that after receiving and evaluating information, police set up a coordinated operation placing the Buffer Zone between the Lympia and Athienou villages under close watch.

The operation led to the spotting of a number of people crossing from the north into the Republic on foot, before getting into two cars. Police tailed the cars before pulling them over for checks. Law enforcement officials counted a total of 11 passengers, four of which are suspected to be smugglers and the remainder irregular migrants from Afghanistan and Pakistan, who were transferred to the Kokkinotrimithia reception centre.

Meanwhile, the dailies report that nine more refugees from Syria arrived at the Cavo Greco area on Tuesday and were guided to shore by marine police.

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