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July 31, 2008

Neuigkeiten aus Zypern Juli 2008

Zypern beschäftigt mich nun seit zwei Jahren – bis Mitte der neunziger Jahre hatte ich engere Kontakte nach Griechenland,vor allem zu Leuten auf Kreta und in Athen, Zypern wurde dort meist als innergriechische Angelegenheit behandelt – der Jugoslawienkrieg war in vollem Gang,die letzten Bastionen des SU auf dem Balkan fielen und neue Eliten besetzten die Regionen. In Berlin polierten derweil wehrhafte bosnische Jugendliche aus Flüchtlingslagern am Stadtrand der grossen Stadt den aufdringlichen, dummdeutschen Neonazis die Fresse – als Antifa konnte mensch da fast neidisch werden,aber die Bosniaken im tiefen und wilden Osten hatten leider weniger Glück resp. weniger Selbstorganisierungsgrade auf die Reihe gebracht.

Nachdem ich bis letztes Jahr die Überreste der DDR-Dissidenz zusammen gefegt hatte,richtete ich mein Augenmerk auf die Verhältnisse auf Zypern aus. Die Geschichte der Teilung der Insel in 1975 ist bei wikipedia kurz angerissen,die Rolle der Obristenherrschaft Griechenlands bei der Aufteilung in einen griechischen Südteil und den türkischen Nordteil ist sehr genau im Buch von Makarios Drousiotis nachlesbar.

Die aktuellsten Entwicklung beim Zusammenführen der getrennten griechischen und türkischen Inselsphären sind in den unten aufgeführten Artikeln aus “The Cyprus Weekly” nachlesbar. Die Fusion der auf Zypern lebenden Gruppen griechischer und türkischer Herkunft unter einer zypriotischen Staatsform mit eigenständiger Souveränität ist so alt wie die Teilung selbst,aber es gibt aktuell wieder mehr Hoffnung auf eine Lösung des unklaren Status dieser schönen Insel.

Die gesammelten Artikel habe ich bis auf den Ersten der letzten Ausgabe “The Cyprus Weekly” im Juli 2008 entnommen,sie spiegeln die cypriotische Themenbreite wieder,die mir bei meinem letzten Besuch im Juni in Nicosia und Larnaca in den Gesprächen mit den Leuten vor Ort immer wieder begegnet sind: Vom wehmütigen Lecken alter Bürgerkriegswunden über die nervtötetenden, über Jahrzehnte andauernden Verhandlungsstrecken, die weiterhin sehr verbreitete Verehrung von Erzbischof Makarios, die Rolle der Kolonialmächte und der USA im Hintergrund des Verhandlungsgeschehens und der sich ausweitende Wassermangel finden sich unten aufgeführt. Die internationale Berichterstattung der Cyprus Weekly kann man aber getrost vergessen, wie hier bei der Berichterstattung über eine Friedensmission nach Gaza deutlich wird,Israel hat auch dort seine Gegner.

Disy ‘shadow’ team to aid Cyprus process

Groups to give views and make proposals

By Andreas Hadjipapas

OPPOSITION Disy is to set up its own “shadow” groups and committees to study aspects of the Cyprus problem and make their own contribution during the UN-sponsored peace process to be launched in earnest in a month’s time.

The teams will consist of lawyers, economists, former diplomats, and other professionals who will act as “think tanks” or advisory bodies on key issues under discussion.

They will present views and make proposals (to be conveyed to the party leadership for further use) on constitutional and economic matters, reconstruction, property, while a special group will deal with reconciliation, trying to send the “right messages” to both communities on the workings of a bizonal federation.

Regular briefings

Disy leader Nicos Anastassiades announced that the groups will be set up by the end of August and start work about the same time as President Christofias and Mehmet Ali Talat begin full-fledged negotiations on September 3,

The groups will be briefed regularly on the progress of the talks by Anastassiades himself who has developed a close working relationship with President Christofias.

Anastassiades made the announcement after chairing another meeting of his “presidential council”, a group of about 50 personalities who are not party members but come from a wide spectrum of the society.

They include ten former cabinet ministers, a dozen former ambassadors, two former mayors of Nicosia and the former Governor of the Central Bank. The committees to be set up will come from their ranks as well as party officials.


Right-wing Disy has offered strong backing to President Christofias, who heads communist Akel, enabling him to proceed with direct talks with Talat for a comprehensive Cyprus settlement, despite strong reservations from two coalition partners, centrist Diko and socialist Edek.

As stated by Disy officials, the two parties, which control between them more than 65% of the Greek Cypriot electorate, hold almost identical views on the need to move without further delay towards a negotiated settlement.

Division cemented

Both Disy and Akel are seriously concerned about the adverse conditions that are being created on the ground with the passage of time and while the stalemate persists. The island’s division is being cemented, since the breakaway state continues to build on Greek Cypriot owned properties and at the same time presses ahead with international recognition.

Anastassiades has won acclaim for his firm stand in favour of direct talks, since he believes that core issues of the Cyprus problem such as territory, security, Turkish settlers and property, cannot be resolved by technocrats forming the joint working groups and technical committees.

These are matters that have to be tackled by the leaders at top level talks-the technocrats could then assist as back-up teams to work out details of possible deals.

Then same stand was taken b y Akel’s parliamentary spokesman Nicos Katsourides who said one could not expect technocrats to resolve thorny issues that defied all attempts the leaders of the two communities in previous negotiations.

70% backing

In a newspaper interview, Katsourides also welcomed, for the first time, the responsible stand shown by Disy and its leader, who have offered their support to the President.

Katsourides also conceded that communist Akel has retreated from some rigid party positions, in order to promote government by consensus, for the sake of maintaining unity and working relationship with the Opposition, at this crucial juncture in efforts to solve the long-standing Cyprus stalemate.

A recent poll in Politis newspaper showed that more than 70% of those questioned, including Disy faithful, backed Christofias’ policies,


ADVISORY GROUP: Members of Disy leader Nicos Anstassiades’ advisory body. Sitting at front are former Minister and diplomat Alecos Shambos, former Under-Secretary to President Clerides, Pantelis Kouros, former Central Bank Governor Christodoulos Christodoulou and former Ambassador Angelos Angelides.



Decision time

Leaders meet to discuss direct talks

By Charlie Charalambous

PRESIDENT Christofias and Mehmet Ali Talat will decide today whether conditions are ripe to launch peace negotiations to end 34 years of division.

The international community remains cautious but does expect that a September start date will be given for the official launch of direct negotiations.

“There is a lot of expectation that the leaders will make an announcement on direct negotiations,” said UN spokesman Jose Diaz.

“The UN Secretary General (Ban Ki-moon) has made clear he wishes to see the start of direct negotiations soon,” he added.

In anticipation of a fresh settlement drive getting off the ground,

Ban has officially named Australia’s former Foreign Minister Alexander Downer as his special envoy for Cyprus.

Downer, 56, is due arrive on island this Sunday as part of a fact-finding mission before a renewed peace initiative is launched in earnest.

Once face-to-face talks are underway he will be tasked with navigating both leaders towards a deal.

Both Washington and London, along with the UN, have upped diplomatic contacts with the Greek- and Turkish-Cypriot leaders ahead of their crunch meeting today.

There have been copious words of encouragement from the international community with many in agreement this is the best shot for peace since a failed UN reunification blueprint in April 2004.

‘Pro-settlement leaders’

There is a belief that with two “pro-settlement leaders” heading negotiations, the mix couldn’t be better for brokering a long elusive deal.

Furthermore, Britain and the US have followed the UN’s mantra in underscoring that this new process will be decided by “Cypriots for Cypriots”.

On July 1, Christofias and the Turkish Cypriot leader agreed in principle on the issues of single citizenship and sovereignty in a reunified island, two key stumbling blocks to holding fully-fledged talks.

They agreed to meet on July 25 when they will undertake a “final review” of preparatory negotiations before the launch of peace talks.

Even if a definite date is set today the finer detail on the logistics of the peace push will still need to be navigated.

“A few practical things would still need to be defined such as the frequency of the talks and where plus the working groups,” said Diaz.

There could also be an announcement on confidence building measures to help produce a more positive climate before they get down to the nuts and bolts of a solution.

Christofias has warned the major players that any outside pressure to reach a quick-fix settlement will only backfire.

He says he will not accept deadlines or restrictive time frames being imposed on the Greek Cypriot side.

‘Painful’ and workable

Nevertheless, he has warned his own side not to expect a perfect solution but a ‘painful’ and workable compromise that will prevent partition.

Christofias was elected president in February on a platform of reviving reunification talks which had gone nowhere under his predecessor Tassos Papadopolous.

He has seemingly won over the international community and persuaded the key players that Greek Cypriots are no longer the bad guys in the reunification game.

The apparent chemistry between Christofias and Talat is viewed as a pivotal factor in over coming the difficult hurdles that surely lie ahead.

Initial euphoria about the prospects for a Cyprus settlement has dampened with both sides finding the going sluggish at the committee level over the sensitive issues of property, territory, sovereignty and security.

On March 21, the two leaders reached a landmark agreement to enter fully-fledged peace talks after four years of virtual stalemate following the 2004 rejection by Greek Cypriots of the Annan Plan.

They met again in May and decided to review progress made by technical committees.

Greek Cypriots are adamant that real progress at the committee stage must be achieved if face-to-face talks are to have any chance of success, while the Turkish Cypriots say any difficulties can be resolved at the negotiating table.

The lack of a Cyprus settlement is also harming Turkey’s ambition to join the European Union, as it would be hard for member states to embrace Ankara while its troops occupy EU territory.



31.07.2008 18:37

Rotating presidency agreed

Christofias remains ‘cautiously optimistic’

Rotating presidency among issues agreed so far

By Andreas Hadjipapas

CYPRUS will have a rotating presidency, with the Greek Cypriot leader serving more time than his Turkish Cypriot counterpart.

There will also be a vice-president, as was the arrangement under the 1960 Constitution.

These are some of the issues that have reportedly been agreed in the talks so far between President Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat.

“The three meetings we had so far were held in a friendly atmosphere, but there were also difficult moments, sometimes very difficult,” Christofias admitted in a CyBC TV interview.

But he remained “cautiously optimistic” about the coming negotiations for a comprehensive settlement.

‘Painful but historic’

Launching full-scale negotiations in September was a definite possibility, after the two leaders, at today’s meeting, review the progress achieved in the working groups and technical committees, he said.

Christofias talked about a “painful but historic compromise” and spelled out that there would be a “renewed partnership” between Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots in a bizonal federal republic to be set up, and in conditions of equality.

The members of each community would be able to enjoy their own religion, language, traditions and customs, but at the same time have love for a common motherland, he stressed.

“We must move ahead as Cypriots.”

He noted that this had been his position all along, as general secretary of leftwing Akel for the past 20 years and President of the House for seven years.

Christofias reiterated that some progress had been achieved in some of the working groups dealing with core issues of the Cyprus problem, but no convergence had been achieved on other key matters.

Positive climate

He spoke of the positive climate created since he came to power last February and the international support and understanding he has met. He said the UN and the EU had felt frustrated by the prolonged Cyprus stalemate and welcomed the fresh moves for a solution.

“There is no other way. Either we try through talks to achieve reconciliation and reunification, or we stay partitioned,” he declared.

He believed this was the only way to get the Turkish occupation troops out of Cyprus.

“We have no hope for the future, if Cyprus is split into two states,” he said.

The President welcomed the support he has received from Opposition Disy and other political leaders.

He “respected” the different approach set out by members of Diko and Edek, but the “final decision” whether to launch full-scale talks would be taken by the President, he said.

Single sovereignty

Christofias was particularly pleased with the UN confirmation that the solution would be worked out by the Cypriots themselves, without outside interference or mediation or any attempt to “impose” a plan.

Other arrangements reportedly agreed in the talks so far mean that the Federal Cyprus Republic will consist of two constituent states, with equal status, but their constitutions will derive from the federal Constitution. Cyprus will have a single sovereignty, citizenship and international personality. There will be respect for the human rights of members of both communities.

The Greek Cypriot side will strive for Cyprus’ demilitarisation, for the abolition of the guarantee system, for a “drastic reduction” in the number of Turkish settlers, for the establishment of a functional state, and for the right of Kyrenia people to return to their homes in the Turkish-held north, he said.

He hoped that by the time Cyprus marked the “black anniversaries” in July next year, the road would be open for a final settlement.

31/07/2008 18:41

International force ‘logical’ – UN man

International peace force for Cyprus ‘logical’ says UN man

From Angelos MArcopoulos in Staresnbourg

AN international peace force for Cyprus, eventually also including some Turkish troops but under UN command, could be a “logical” development in line with the recent creation of the Union for the Mediterranean” (UFM), according to new UN Undersecretary General Alain Le Roy.

Le Roy was, until now, the diplomat responsible for the organisation of the Summit of 45 Heads of State and Government, recently in Paris, which created the UFM.

French President, and current EU Head, Nicolas Sarkozy, before, during and after the summit, repeatedly declared that “France is ready to offer its help, including … military guarantees for the implementation of peace agreements”, under UN auspices, particularly in the Mediterranean.

And UN Secretary General Ban Ki moon’s Spokesperson, Press Director Michele Montas, speaking during the summit, said that “UNFICYP could change its mandate,” to “become a full-fledged UN International Peacekeeping force” throughout all Cyprus if an agreement is reached “with a resolution of the Security Council”.

But Le Roy added that such “logical possibilities” could become effective, “if we (the UN) had an agreement”, as he said, pointing, indirectly but clearly, the finger at the Turkish side’s refusal.

The moves go contrary to Turkish Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s recent claims, that any solution on Cyprus should be “based on Turkey’s (military) guarantee”, which he called “indispensable”.

Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Talat echoed Erdogan, claiming that “the military guarantee by Turkey would be non-negotiable.”

France supports UN-based solution

ON the eve of crucial decisions on Cyprus’ talks, the French EU Presidency said it supports a solution “according to UN resolutions” , and considers that “the question of refugees” is “essential” for a settlement, which should put an end to the partition of the island.

A senior Foreign Ministry spokesman said: “France, as President of the EU Council, and a Permanent Member of the UN Security Council, supports all efforts and actions decided by the Cypriot parties, which go in the direction of a settlement”.

“Above all, Cypriots themselves head this new process”, stressed the French EU Presidency.

“We very much hope that it … will be allowed to obtain this result.”

In answer to a question from the Cyprus Weekly, the official said: “The fate of refugees is, certainly, an essential issue in the settlement of Cyprus’ issue.”

ECHR to hold hearing on Cyprus missing

THE European Court of Human Rights announced this week that it will hold, for the first time, a public hearing on the Greek Cypriot missing persons.

The move comes amidst the CMP’s failure to find out the whole truth on fate of the Missing.

The CMP recently announced that a large number of remains would be returned to victims’ families, whose representatives protested that they had not been given get any information about what really happened to their loved ones and who was responsible.

The Euro Judges found that a mere exhumation and the return of remains does not absolve Turkey of its responsibilities for human rights violations.

The ECHR’s Grand Chamber announced it would hold a public hearing into the Varnavas case in November, in Strasbourg.



31.07.2008 18:42

Kourris to the rescue

By Philippos Stylianou

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Even if Kourris dam dries up completely, it will not have said its last word in the fight against the acute water shortage problem plaguing the island and Limassol in particular.

Sophocles Aletraris, a high-ranking executive of the Water Development Department (WDD), said a crisis management plan includes using the depth storage of Kourris, where an estimated 700-800,000 tons of water still lie at the bed of the reservoir.

“If bad comes to worse we can bring this water up using floating pumps and give it to Limassol,” he told The Cyprus Weekly.

With only seven days of water left in Kourris, hopes of a steady offshore supply of water imported from Greece appear slim.

Asked how long it would take for the WDD to start pumping out the Kourris depth storage, Aletraris said the floating pumps were ready. But three to four weeks were needed for the related infrastructure to be put in place.

Meanwhile, the Water Board of Limassol has announced a further daily reduction of about 2,000 cu.m. in the water made available to the city by the WDD.


The Water Boards of Nicosia and Larnaca also announced that they now receive 100 cu.m per hour less than the original 30% cut in their water supply.

“Unless something is done drastically, in eight days we shall be facing a national disaster,” a source who asked to remain anonymous said in earnest.

Pressed to say if there was any possibility the water sea-transport project from Greece may be abandoned because of the technical problems encountered, Sophocles Aletraris answered categorically in the negative.

Yet he was not in a position to say when exactly the water could at last be pumped ashore into the Limassol water supply system.

“The latest estimates we have are for this weekend but this is with very strong reservations,” he said frankly.

Two tankers carrying around 40,000 tons of water each are anchored offshore in the Limassol Yermasoyia area, but are unable to unload their precious cargo, because of problems with the floating flexible hose connecting the ship to the single buoy mooring.

Aletraris noted that the soft plastic membrane lining the inside of the 250m long hose collapsed letting air into the conveyor, hindering the free flow of water from the tanker to the mooring and from there to the 1300m undersea pipe all the way to the shore.


According to criticism, the lining was made necessary because the contractor Ocean Tankers, who were responsible for the technical infrastructure of the project, instead of ordering a brand new flexible floating hose, had opted to buy a second-hand one used by the Electricity Authority of Cyprus to convey mazout.

Asked to comment on this, Aletraris said that Dunlop, who are the exclusive manufacturers of flexible floating hoses, needed six months to meet an order.

“We contacted Dunlop and they told us that once the rubber hose had been used for mazout it was unsuitable for water and needed lining. We then made sure through the issue of suitability certificates that the problem would be solved with the plastic lining of the floating hose.”

The remaining effort now was to fasten the membrane inside the hose so that it would function smoothly. As regards the submersible 1300m-long water pipe connected to the floating hose and the land pipe, Ocean Tankers bought it ready-made from an abandoned project.

Invited to say if any errors or omissions had been made in the conception, planning and implementation of the project, including the contract with Ocean Tankers, Aletraris said that the contractors had overestimated the time factor.


“We had suggested a timetable of four months for the bringing of water from Greece, but the contractor insisted on only two months, maybe for reasons already reported in the press,” he said, and added:

“Not only he was over-optimistic but went public about it, this alone constituting a breach of contract, as it is standard procedure for government contractors not to make public statements.”

Because of its long-storage the first water cargo from Greece has been rendered unfit for human consumption, while the same fate might befall the second cargo if it takes too long to unload.

Finally, Aletraris was asked why the Water Development Department had not proposed water saving measures earlier so as to make the available water last longer.

“As the Water Development Department we had made suggestions about limited water cuts quite ahead of the big crisis, but we went unheard,” he said.

He declined to say why but according to reliable sources the previous government was not prepared to take such unpopular measures during the period of the presidential elections, nor were the parties willing to support them.



31.07.2008 18:47

US Ambassador’s waffling (Viewpoint)

Out-going American ambassador Ronald Schlicher missed a final opportunity to back a clear and principled stand on a Cyprus settlement before his departure.

Repeating a vague US position, he said Washington would back a settlement acceptable by a majority of the people on both sides of the island.

One could hardly expect the US position to be different, and, such a stand hardly needed repeating.

The US ambassador knows full well that a settlement has remained unachievable all these years for the simple reason that Turkey rejects a settlement based on the clear principles of the relevant Security Council resolutions and the judgements of the European Human Rights Court.

If these principles were implemented, the Cyprus problem would simply vanish.

Is it too much to expect a clear US backing for such a stand instead of the current waffling?

31/07/2008 18:56

Two Makarios statues – for now

Two statues of Ethnarch – for now – in Archbishopric grounds

Smaller sculpture installed before 10m giant is moved

THERE are currently two statues of late Archbishop Makarios, founder of the Cyprus Republic, gracing the grounds of the Archbishopric in Nicosia.

In addition to the massive 10m-tall bronze statue erected in 1985, a comparatively diminutive marble sculpture of only 2.30m in height was this week placed in the centre of the courtyard before the main entrance to the building.

Eventually, the smaller statue will displace “Big Mak,” as the tourists came to call the colossus, following a controversial decision by Archbishop Chrysostomos II.

He shared the general view that the 12-ton figure was completely out of scale in the architectural environment, and said an open space near Makarios’s burial place high up in the Kykko mountains would do the work of art more justice and be more fitting to the memory of the Ethnarch.

Others, however, criticised the Primate for his decision arguing that the statue had become a fixture and should not be removed.


Nevertheless, Archbishop Chrysostomos has already asked the Abbot of Kykko to provide a site and groundwork for the transfer of the statue. In recent statements he placed the removal sometime after the August recess but warned the press to show respect and keep away:

“I am telling you now, it is not proper to have journalists and TV cameras here taking shots when the crane will be lifting the statue of Makarios,” he told surprised journalists.

He added: “I demand respect for the memory of the late Archbishop and we must maintain a high standard of behaviour, befitting the memory of this great leader, so I do not wish to see either journalists or photographers here.”

The sculptor of the giant bronze statue, Nicos Kotziamanis, was in Cyprus recently and held a meeting with Archbishop Chrysostomos, in which he is said to have been consulted on technical matters about the removal of his work.

According to press reports, he advised on how to dismantle part of the statute so as to make the removal easier to handle.


As Kotziamanis had disclosed in an earlier interview with The Cyprus Weekly, the statue had been created in sections, which were later soldered together through a special process suited to bronze, so as to constitute one solid piece.

Large quantities of cement and iron have been used inside the lower part of the sculpture for stability purposes, while the whole structure rests on a cement foundation set 6-8 feet into the ground.

The modest marble statue, by Greek sculptor Apostolos Fanakides, will be unveiled at a special ceremony in September.



CENTRAL PLACE: The modest marble statue of Makarios takes central place in the courtyard of the Archbishopric. It will be completed with a black staff on which the figure will rest its hands.


SMALL BY COMPARISON: The small Makarios waits to replace its big brother at the Archbishopric. (Photo by FieldPress-Amvrosios Demou)



31.07.2008 18:53

Copyright by Cyprus Weekly July 2008

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