GCC Press Review 23 Apr 2019

Front Page Headlines


They are looking for other victims in (the murder suspect’s) online contacts

Efforts to link Nikos Metaxas (suspect) with women reported as missing. Investigators trace the lieutenant’s dark footsteps online. Temporary interruption of operations in Mitsero for security reasons.

  • Disappearances without investigation – They didn’t even check at the crossing points!
  • We will not give a list of the ‘vital’ (interests)


The strangler does not repent

He did not apologise during his depositions for any of his horrendous acts. The Cypriot police have requested specialised help from INTERPOL.

  • A reliquary from Ayios Mamas was found – It was rescued in the last moment before being auctioned off in Germany.
  • More news on the Guterres report next week
  • Cyprus-Lebanon: They are opening new roads for mutual benefit


They ‘understand’ instead of resigning

The search for locating the body of the six-year-old daughter of the 38-year-old woman who was found murdered in a shaft at the Mitsero mine yielded no results yesterday either. Those in government express “shock” and “understanding” without assuming their political responsibilities with resignations either from the Police Chief or the Justice Minister Ionas Nicolaou for the negligence and inaction of the police authorities.

  • The government is taking multiple slaps
  • GCs and TCs together, against nuclear (plant)
  • Bicommunal cultural and sports meeting in memory of Sevim Ebeoglu

Cyprus Mail

Minister accused of criminal negligence

Blistering attacks on minister and police for failing to investigate missing women.


The last goodbye to Elli (Hasikos)

The President of the Republic, the Church, ministers, deputies and scores of people said their goodbyes to her. Emotions were stirred by the farewell of Socrates Hasikos and their daughter, Anna Maria.

  • The president is in China for important meetings: He will also meet Putin
  • Cyprob: We are waiting for Lute’s next moves

Main News

Waiting for Lute’s next moves

Alithia, Cyprus Mail, Haravgi, Politis, Phileleftheros
Negotiations Process, Governance & Power Sharing, Regional/International Relations


The government now waits for UN envoy Jane Holl Lute’s next moves on the Cyprus problem, while President Nicos Anastasiades is trying to garner as much support from the five permanent members of the UN Security Council ahead of discussion by the international body of the report of the UN Secretary-General on his Good Offices in Cyprus, the papers reported.

Meanwhile, the government reportedly said it is not interested in engaging in a public debate with the TC leader over political equality.

Government spokesman Prodromos Prodromou said on Monday that Anastasiades is waiting to see how Lute will continue the effort to relaunch the negotiations, adding that Antonio Guterres’ report should be discussed by the UN Security Council soon.

The GC side, he said, is in constant contact with Lute and is looking forward to seeing how she will choose to continue her initiative for the resumption of negotiations.

Apart from the fact Anastasiades has been ready for the immediate resumption of negotiations on the basis of the six parameters proposed by the UN secretary-general, he has also responded to the ideas put forward by Lute, said Prodromou.

We are therefore waiting to see what the choice will be, how the initiative will continue, because, of course, our side believes that the negotiations must definitely start again, he said.

On whether Lute’s proposal concerns a meeting abroad with the composition of the Conference on Cyprus in Crans Montana, he said Anastasiades has put forward thoughts and ideas to help Lute’s work, but also responded positively to ideas she has developed.

DISY leader Averof Neophytou expressed the view that the UN will most probably submit very soon a proposal for a repeat of an international conference like the one in Crans Montana.

He said the way has been paved for a new conference on Cyprus but it must be well prepared while the Guterres Framework and the issues of security, territory, property and also political equality should be on the negotiations table.

Haravgi reported that AKEL leader Andros Kyprianou made an appeal to Anastasiades to act as a leader and take initiative for the resumption of talks the soonest possible.

What AKEL is doing, he said, is promoting the positions of Cyprus to serve the interests of both GCs and TCs.

The government, he said, fails to realise the slaps it has received and, instead of taking an initiative on the Cyprus problem, chooses PR stunts to denigrate AKEL in the eyes of the Cypriot people by accusing the party of promoting Turkish positions.

AKEL is criticing Anastasiades over the fact he has not taken any initiatives during the last two years, Kyprianou said, adding that the president spoke of a decentralised federation eight months ago but he has not responded so far to repeated calls to provide more details, according to Haravgi.

Phileleftheros reports that next week it will be made clear when the UN Security Council will discuss Guterres’ report, which will probably be in early May due to the Easter holidays. Nicosia’s focus is on the positions of the five permanent members of the Security Council and for that reason efforts are underway to brief the five capitals on the government’s positions on the Cyprus problem.

Anastasiades’ contacts in China later this week with the Chinese and Russian presidents are part of this, the daily said.

Meanwhile, on the call by TC leader Mustafa Akinci last week to Anastasiades to clarify which areas he believes are of vital interest to the TCs, Politis, citing sources, reported that the GC side has no intention of entering into a public spat with the TCs over political equality or of submitting a list with the issues it considers of vital interest to the TC community.

Sources told the daily that there is no logic behind the two sides preparing an exhaustive list with issues on which the TC side could exercise its right to a positive vote since that list would never be complete. The GC side, it said, believes that this issue could be settled in a principled agreement between the two sides.

In a Constitution, it could be recorded as a right to a positive vote on vital matters that adversely affect the TC community, the source said, adding that there should be an agreement on an effective mechanism for resolving disputes on this issue.

Politis reports that the Presidential Palace finds that Akinci is not approaching this matter with goodwill and that his aim, through his insistence on a public debate on such matters, is to create problems to the whole procedure. Anastasiades’ negotiations tactic is clearly affected by Akinci’s backtracking on the convergence on a positive vote at Cabinet level, since after the Geneva talks, the TC leader has been demanding a positive vote on all issues, including in organs covering ‘low political’ issues, which changes the situation and the stance of the GC side.

History and the negotiations experience show that when the parties decide to enter into a meaningful negotiation with a view to reaching a final agreement on all the issues then a list will be tabled with the main issues and aspects that will determine in which cases there will be a right to a TC positive vote.

Turkey is trying to link the question of TC effective participation with the issue of the abolition of  guarantees which might lead to an in-depth negotiation, but at a later stage. The public debate on political equality has shifted focus from what should in fact be a dominant issue for the GC side, namely the withdrawal of the occupying troops and the abolition of guarantees. In the recent Guterres report there is no mention of this issue, nor is Turkey mentioned anywhere, the paper reported.

Sources also told Politis that in Geneva and Mont Pelerin things had been clarified to a great extent as to the TC positive vote but also on what issues should be considered as vital to the TCs regarding low politics and upper House of Parliament levels. A TC positive vote had been agreed at Cabinet level on all issues while the issues for which a positive vote would be required in low political levels had been defined, including in the public service commission, and bodies covering the fair distribution of water, and radio and television frequencies.

An agreement had also been reached on issues at the legislative level (upper House of Parliament) for a 2/5 majority in each side. Some of these issues concern foreign policy, defence, security and budget, Politis reports.

Meanwhile, the papers report that Anastasiades, who is currently in China for the second Belt and Road Forum at the invitation of Chinese President Xi Jinping, will hold a series of contacts with foreign leaders, including Russian President Vladimir Putin and an official meeting with Xi Jinping.

Anastasiades, according to the papers, will brief the Chinese president and Putin about his efforts to restart the talks from the point they were left off in Crans Montana and will also refer to the role that the UN Security Council could play in the solution of the Cyprus problem, as well as in safeguarding UNFICYP’s role. He will ask the Chinese President to support both the efforts to curb Turkey’s intransigence and utilise the Security Council for the solution, as well as the preservation of UNFICYP’s role and mission. Prodromou said on Monday that the forum was a very important international meeting focusing on international economic relations, transportation and connectivity. Around 40 heads of state will attend.


>> The government is in constant contact with Lute and is waiting for her next moves on the Cyprob.
>> Anastasiades is ready to immediately resume talks based on Guterres’ six parameters. He’s also tabled thoughts & ideas to help Lute’s work and responded positively to her ideas.
>> The GC side wants the negotiations to resume.

Neophytou (DISY)
>> Believes the UN will submit a proposal soon for an international conference like the one in Crans Montana to discuss the Guterres Framework, including security, territory, property and political equality.
A new conference on Cyprus must be well prepared.

Kyprianou (AKEL)
Calls on Anastasiades, who has not taken any initiatives during the last two years, to act as a leader & take initiative to resume talks the soonest possible.
>> AKEL is promoting the positions of Cyprus to serve the interests of both GCs and TCs and not those of Turkey as the government has been accusing it.
>> Anastasiades, despite speaking of a decentralised federation eight months ago has yet to respond to repeated calls to provide more details.

Important religious artefact stolen after 1974 to be repatriated

Human Rights


A very important religious artefact that had been stolen from the church of Ayios Mamas in Morphou after 1974 was rescued at the eleventh hour before being auctioned off in Germany. The artefact, a reliquary containing the relics of Ayios Mamas and other saints, will be brought back to Cyprus in May.

The announcement was made by the Bishop of Morphou Neophytos after a church service that took place in Morphou last Sunday.

The Byzantine era wooden reliquary was identified a few weeks ago, and following actions also by art historian Maria Paphitis, the foreign ministry and the antiquities department, the auction house in Germany withdrew the item from its catalogues and gave it free of charge to the Bishopric.

It was among the most important pieces of the auction and there had been great interest in its acquisition by buyers, the daily reported.

Police did not use Crime Technical Committee in missing persons cases

Internal Security


Politis reports that the police have only once sought the assistance of the Technical Committee on Crime in relation to the disappearance of persons.

Of the total 17 women who have been reported as missing since 2009 when the Technical Committee on Crime was established, police have only bothered once to seek information from the TC ‘authorities’ on whether any of these persons crossed to the occupied areas, the paper said.

Citing information, the daily said the first and only time this happened was in 2017 when police asked TC ‘police’ through UNFICYP via the Technical Committee on whether a woman reported as missing had crossed to the occupied areas through any of the crossings.

This concerns a 30-year-old woman from the Philippines who matches the profile of the victims of the 35-year-old GC serial killer, Politis reported. [Reviewer’s note: The 35-year-old was arrested last week after the body of one woman from the Philippines was found dumped in a shaft of an abandoned mine. He reportedly admitted to killing the woman and her six year-old daughter. A second body of a woman was found in the same shaft a few days later, believed to be also a victim of the suspect while the search continues to locate the body of the six-year-old].

The article concerns criticism of the police for failing to investigate reports of foreign missing women after it emerged that two of these women, who are on the police missing persons list, have been identified as victims of the serial killer while the search for a third missing woman, also believed to be a victim, is ongoing.

The chairman of the association of domestic workers, Louis Koutroukides, said that the usual answer police give when foreign women are reported as missing is that they probably crossed to the occupied areas. But in relation to the cases in question, he said, police never bothered to carry out proper investigations despite that evidence pointed to the fact that they didn’t cross, the paper reports.

Expansion of Cyprus-Lebanon relations beneficial for both countries

Regional/International Relations, Energy


Citing a recent geopolitical analysis by Edwin Tran, Phileleftheros reports that the results of recent meetings in Lebanon are interpreted as an evolution which contributes to the strengthening of relations with Cyprus while opening up prospects for cooperation beyond natural gas and oil.

On relations between Cyprus and Lebanon, Tran notes that while several states seek to dispute ownership of the various regional oil and gas fields, the two states are seeking to cooperate for mutual benefit.

For Lebanon, he said, antagonistic relations with each of its neighbours over maritime resources would leave it isolated while the military clout of Israel’s armed forces and Cyprus’ ties with the European Union give both countries significant leverage in accessing the Levantine Gas Field. Lebanon, he said, must embrace liberal international relations with Cyprus, a neighbour that is much less antagonistic and more amiable towards cooperation, in order to ascertain its place in the resource game or else be blocked off.

But for Cyprus too, the international ramifications are just as serious, Tran argues, since the ever present Turkey is a weight that cannot be understated.

Although strong in its European connections, Cyprus finds itself with less allies in its immediate presence, he said, adding that growing relations between Lebanon and Cyprus provides the Republic with one more ally in its ongoing conflict with Turkey.

Following the most recent discussions over oil and gas rights, Cypriot Foreign Minister Nicos Christodoulides declared that a “trilateral summit between the leaders of Cyprus, Greece and Lebanon” would be held later in 2019. When asked about the purpose of such a meeting, Christodoulides emphasised economic relations as the main motivator, denying that the summit was “directed against any other country.”

When reading between the lines, it is clear that Lebanon’s inclusion serves to act as a warning to Turkey. By bringing Lebanon into the fold through diplomacy and economic relations, Cyprus has been successful in creating another key regional ally in its ongoing strife with Turkey.

On a bilateral level, both Lebanon and Cyprus have an important role to play, while the benefits will be multiple for both Nicosia and Beirut, according to Tran’s assessment, Phileleftheros reported.

DISY MP calls for more support to Cultural Heritage Technical Committee

CBMs, Human Rights


DISY MP Giorgos Karoullas called on President Nicos Anastasiades and Archbishop Chrysostomos to support in every way the work of the Technical Committee on Cultural Heritage to restore more churches in the occupied areas.

In a letter to Anastasiades and Chrysostomos, Karoullas argues that religious services held in churches in the occupied areas but also the work of the Technical Committee offers a glimmer of hope for the rescue of Greek Orthodox civilization and religious tradition.

Church services and efforts to restore churches in the occupied areas, Karoullas said, are an opportunity for the reconnection of scattered communities and an opportunity to link the past with the new generations.

At the moment, efforts to restore churches by communities are being made through contacts refugees develop with TCs or by funding the restoration to be carried out through the Technical Committee.

Supporting the Technical Committee in restoring churches in the north is necessary, Karoullas said, warning that ruination of these churches and alienation of GC communities from their ancestral land is a possibility and this could negatively affect efforts for a solution to the Cyprus problem.

Former ambassador appointed as new CMP member

Alithia, Cyprus Mail, Haravgi, Phileleftheros, Politis
CBMs, Human Rights


President Nicos Anastasiades on Monday appointed former ambassador Leonidas Pantelides as the GC member of the Committee on Missing Persons (CMP).

Government spokesman Prodromos Prodromou said that the thinking behind Pantelides’ appointment was that his contacts and acquaintances from his experience in the diplomatic corps would help further step up efforts to carry out this sensitive mission.

Pantelides, according to Prodromou, as a former member of the foreign ministry and the diplomatic service, has a very good knowledge of the subject, while he retains excellent relationships with relatives of missing persons from his previous service.

The aim, he said, is to step up efforts to carry out even more efficiently this sensitive mission and fulfil the moral obligation towards relatives of missing persons.

Bicommunal events highlight unity

CBMs, Human Rights


Two bicommunal events took place recently that brought members of the two communities closer, the daily reported.

The first one was dedicated to the memory of former AEL footballer Sevim Ebeoglu, who died recently, and was organised by the Limassol Municipality, the AEL veterans association, and the Cultural Foundation of Limassol TCs. The aim was to highlight the good relations between the two communities of Limassol and act as an example to be followed by the youth of both sides.

During the event, GC Limassolians symbolically welcomed their fellow TC Limassolians who arrived from the north in the old town, at the banks of the Garyllis river, on the point where the old church of Ayios Antonios stands across from the Cedid mosque. The group walked together the streets of the old town. They also attended a friendly match between female TC football teams at the Ayios Antonios pitch and a reception. A friendly match also took place between veteran football players of AEL and Kyrenia teams.

Limassol Mayor Nicos Nicolaides said the event was a celebration of friendship and love for the two communities’ common country and an opportunity for the youth to learn of the common past of GCs and TCs.

The other event concerned a human chain formed by GCs and TCs in Nicosia, in protest over the construction of a nuclear plant in Akkuyu, in Turkey. The group consisted of members of around 40 parties, trade unions and organisations from both sides of the divide such as AKEL, the Greens, ΥΚΡ, ΒΚΡ, KSP, PEO trade union and the TC teachers’ unions.

Artists from both sides of the divide performed at the event which was attended by party leaders, MEPs and candidate MEPs, Haravgi reported.

Good Friday service in Famagusta

Alithia, Haravgi, Phileleftheros, Politis
CBMs, Human Rights


The Constantia-Famagusta Bishopric, Famagusta Municipality and the ‘Famagusta My Town’ Initiative are organising a service on Good Friday afternoon at the church of Ayios Georgios Exorinos that is located within the walls of the old town of Famagusta.

Organisers have made arrangements for free bus transfers of members of the public who would like to attend.

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