GCC Press Review 14 Dec 2021

Front Page Headlines


Dumpster hospitality for migrants in Pournara

Conditions like in a concentration camp and an insult of human dignity. The pictures describe the wretched daily life of migrants in Pournara. The daily shortages of the state infrastructure make life unbearable for the around 2,500 people living stacked in tents and lodgings that are falling apart.

  • Turkey-Varosha: The EU sanctions go from postponement to postponement


The mutation is changing the measures

New restrictions focus on the unvaccinated and pressure on the vaccinated for a third dose. The Omicron constitutes a very high global danger, WHO says.

  • The measures against Turkey go back to the COREPER – No decision at the Foreign Affairs Council.
  • Anastasiades-Tatar meeting without any expectations


The government is spending only 5% of the GDP on healthcare…

OECD: Health expenditure in Cyprus is much lower than the EU average. Cyprus spends 24% less in outpatient care and 39% less in inpatient care.

  • False hope again for sanctions against Turkey
  • December 14 is a homage to AKEL’s history (on that day in 1955 the British colonial power outlawed AKEL & arrested 135 of its leading figures)

Cyprus Mail

New rules for Omicron cases

Mandatory self-isolation for Omicron cases, close contacts, kids’ jabs arrive.

  • MPs shocked at state of cramped, overcrowded centre for refugees


From pillar to post

The Europeans are stalling. The Foreign Affairs Council instead of imposing sanctions on Turkey for its illegal actions in the Cypriot EEZ and Varosha has referred the matter to COREPER to discuss a legal framework for possible targeted measures on Varosha. Borrell: We have no timeframe for sanctions against Turkey…

  • Expired ammunition: All the containers have left Cyprus
  • Turmoil among the Greens after the nee postponement of the Congress due to lack of quorum
  • Turkey-lira: Fourth intervention to stop its freefall

Main News

‘EU FMs stall decisions against Turkey, options paper back to COREPER’

Alithia, Cyprus Mail, Haravgi, Phileleftheros, Politis
EU Matters, Regional/International Relations, Negotiations Process


No decision was taken on Monday at the Foreign Affairs Council (FAC) as regards sanctions against Turkey, but rather the bloc is stalling by referring the process to COREPER to look into possible measures against those involved in illegal activities in Varosha, the dailies report.

According to the dailies, EU High Representative Josep Borrell said after the FAC in Brussels that they discussed, among other things, the impact of the unilateral actions taken last July by Turkey and the TCs in Varosha that run counter to the UN Security Council resolutions.

He said they presented an options paper and they agreed to make an evaluation of those options on the table which will also include the creation of a specific sanctions regime focusing on persons and entities with direct involvement in the opening of part of Varosha after last July. The Committee of the Permanent Representatives at the EU (COREPER), he added, will follow up “on this important issue” based on what the FAC discussed on Monday.

Borrell stressed that it was essential that Turkey seriously reengages in the UN process and refrains from any action that would further deteriorate the situation on the ground. He also said that the member states expressed their solidarity with Cyprus and their support to the UN process and the new Secretary-General Special Representative in Cyprus, Colin Stewart.

Borrell also said that the FAC considers that creating the conditions for an environment conductive to a solution remains crucial, and “that confidence-building measures with regards to Varosha are of key importance and will help to the comprehensive solution of the Cyprus issue”.

He said he could not give a detailed guideline on when this framework would be ready.

The dailies also report that the EU is stalling, making up excuses.

Citing sources the dailies report that the new German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock has asked for more time to study the document and the implications of any decisions that will be made. Italy agreed to Germany’s approach, while the Netherlands expressed general reservations about the possibility of taking any measures.  Spain which chose not to take a stand.

Politis reports that, in reality, however, Germany clearly, based on the minutes of the discussion of the permanent representatives last Tuesday, expresses its strong disagreements about the policy of imposing sanctions based on what Cyprus adopts.

Borrell during the FAC meeting called for the need to decide on the matter on Monday since it was being discussed for a long time, a notion backed by Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides but also Greece, Ireland, France, Malta, Belgium, Estonia, Austria, and Luxembourg.

Phileleftheros reports that this time, the Germans found as an excuse that the options document was released the same week that the new leadership took over at the German foreign ministry and did not have time to study it. According to the daily the decisions on the Turkish provocations in Varosha returned to the “locker rooms” of the 27, for the establishment of a special regime of legal measures for those involved in the fenced area as Borrell said, or rather to give time to study the implications of any decisions, as requested by Germany.

Alithia reports that, for years, the Europeans have been saying they were studying measures on Turkey but when the time comes for decisions, they call for a new study. This is what happened last night, the daily reported.

According to Haravgi, as was expected, neither measures nor sanctions were announced against Turkey. The case is turning into a fiasco since the member states are reluctant to agree on sanctions, it reported.

Borrell (FAC)

>> FAC agreed on looking into possible sanctions on persons & entities with direct involvement in the opening of part of Varosha.
>> Calls on Turkey to seriously reengages in the UN process & refrain from any action that would further deteriorate the situation on the ground.
>> Member states expressed their solidarity with Cyprus & their support to the UN process and the new SGSR.
>> FAC believes that CBMs on Varosha will help to a comprehensive Cyprob solution.

‘No expectations from leaders’ social meeting’

Negotiations Process


The daily reports that there are no expectations from tonight’s meeting of the two leaders at the reception at Ledra Palace to be hosted by the new Secretary-General Special Representative Colin Stewart.

Both leaders agreed to attend tonight’s reception not because they are looking for an occasion to meet but because they could not refuse an invitation from the United Nations, the daily reports. It adds that Stewart, after his meeting with TC leader Ersin Tatar stated it will be a very informal event with no agenda, making sure to clarify things even more by setting the bar of expectations very low. Stewart said on Friday that tonight’s event is an opportunity to bring the two leaders together and get to know them better.

The daily also reports that Tatar, who has been trying to score points with Azerbaijan on every chance he gets on the issue of the north’s recognition, celebrates the Azeris’ victories at the expense of Armenians at Nagorno Karabakh. The daily cites a teleconference he had with members of the press from Azerbaijan during which he said that the victory of Azeris in Nagorno Karabakh was a victory for the whole Turkic world. He also said that the struggle of the TCs was not only for their future and security but at the same time it is a struggle carried out on behalf of the entire Turkic world, the daily reports.

Anastasiades: Furthering relations with Gulf region among top priorities

Alithia, Phileleftheros
Regional/International Relations, Energy


President Nicos Anastasiades attended the inauguration of the new building of Qatar’s embassy in Nicosia and said that the political and economic relations between the two countries have witnessed significant development and continue to grow, the dailies report.

Anastasiades referred to his visit to Qatar in 2014 and the bilateral agreements the two countries signed at the time. “The magnitude of the investment in the new impressive premises of the embassy of the state of Qatar, which we are officially opening today, is a testament of the deepening and widening of our partnership ever since the said visit,” he added.

He added that strengthening Cyprus’ relations with Qatar and the Gulf region in general is a strategic goal of the Cypriot government and a major foreign policy priority.

The president also referred to the participation of Qatar Petroleum in Cyprus’ exclusive economic zone and in offshore Block 10 in a consortium with ExxonMobil that is to resume its drilling programme in a few days. He said this was proof of the synergies which can be forged. He also said that the recent licensing to the consortium in Block 5 constituted yet another very important development and a vote of confidence to Cyprus’ energy strategy.

He said that over the past years, political and economic relations between Cyprus and Qatar have witnessed significant development and continue to grow.

Cyprus, he added, “is a devoted proponent” of deepening EU-Qatar relations, as well as between the EU and the Gulf Cooperation Council.

Referring to the Cyprus issue, Anastasiades thanked Qatar for its principled stance and reiterated his personal commitment to the resumption of negotiations in the context of the Good Offices mission of the UN Secretary-General to achieve a functional and sustainable solution fully in line with UN Security Council resolutions and the European acquis.

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