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DARK ROOM: Focus on Europe as sad past catches up with Cyprus

DIVIDE INTERVENTION: Politicians joined President Nicos Anastasiades in a special prayer in church yesterday to call on the almighty to help solve the Cyprus problem. Should that happen, it would eclipse the parting of the Red Sea.

Focus on Europe

We hacks have the particular skill to take old news, repackage it and present it as new. Especially in small and not so significant countries like Cyprus, where rarely some real local news is occurred.

The habit, or the trick I should say, is intensified significantly when stories about the Cyprus problem are involved.

Seriously, what new could come out of a settlement model and proposals that have been exhaustingly discussed over and over again, in various format and in different forums?

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That is why I found it a bit odd to hear politicians and read media reports suggesting that the Greek Cypriots would focus now on linking Cyprob with Turkey’s European aspirations!

Please, we poor Greek Cypriots have been listening to this line of wishful thinking since the RoC became a full member of the Union in 2004.

And leaders from both communities have not as yet understood that EU officials are tired of our constant maneuvering and expect from us to solve our problem, instead of the other way round.

Sad past

It is a fact and we better realise it before it is too late. People in Brussels do not want to listen again to Cypriots talk about one more failure to solve their political problem.

Some of them blatantly avoid even to be on the same room with Cypriots counterparts (I have seen it with my own eyes) to save themselves from the trouble.

There is no point, therefore, for our political leadership to embark on another fruitless campaign to explain to European leaders why there has been another Cyprob failure at Crans-Montana.

The only benefit I can see from this unnecessary exercise is to make the naïve electorate believe that their leaders do have a plan ahead.

An understanding

I praised in another column the French oil and gas majors Total and Eni for their decision not to take into account Turkey’s bravado and start as scheduled exploratory drilling in Cyprus EEZ.

Nevertheless multinationals such as Total and Eni do not go into the unknown. They do not start a very expensive process, such as deep water drilling without any assurances whatsoever.

A couple of months ago, a high ranking source within Total told one of my sources that the company would only postpone or stop the drilling process if 1) the RoC requested, 2) if France requested, or 3) if Turkey hits the West Capella platform.

The source had added that Total didn’t have any indication that one of the above could take place. The Republic of Cyprus couldn’t possibly asked such a thing, banking on international influence to prevent a possible hot incident.

France not only didn’t request a postponement, but sent the Defence Minister to Cyprus to show their support to the drilling process.

And I am almost certain, Total and Eni had Turkey’s assurance that only bravado not serious action from her part will take place in Cyprus’ EEZ. After all, all players want to know if there is gas down there.

Change of guard

A new British High Commissioner to Cyprus was recently appointed. Stephen Lillie will succeed Mathew Kidd at the High Commission in Nicosia.

Lillie is a very experienced diplomat with extensive knowledge of Asian affairs as he spent most of his postings abroad to various Asian countries.

He will have quite a lead to follow, as Mathew Kidd has been posted twice in Cyprus and admittedly has maintained very good rapport both with the RoC government and the administration in the north.

Kidd has also positively contributed to Cyprob consultations during his tenure on the island. His successor Stephen Lillie has a long career in the Foreign Office.

The last four years he headed the FCO’s Asia-Pacific section and he served as British Ambassador, Counsellor and Consul-General in countries such as Philippines, India, China, whereas earlier in his career has dealt with Mid Eastern and European affairs.

Lillie is currently on a full time language training, learning Greek.

Traditionally the head of Nicosia’s High Commission speaks Greek and the deputy head Turkish.



Melanie Steliou

The local television presenter and actress has defended, against fierce criticism from conservative people, her decision to upload on Instagram a picture of herself breastfeeding her baby at Larnaca Airport. I don’t think it was spontaneous but it did generate some positive feedback.




The French oil and gas major was undeterred in the face of Turkey’s bravados and proceeded with the scheduled drilling in plot 11 of Cyprus’ EEZ. I am sure Total had understood, before even bringing the platform over, that Turkey wants to know if there’s gas there too.

Angela Merkel

I praise the German Chancellor not for any policy drive in her country but for the patience she demonstrates every time the RoC President calls her (he did it again this week) to brief her on Cyprob developments. It does require quite some strength.



What a waste of money and human resources the voyage along Morphou’s coastline by the Turkish research vessel is. I wonder if Turkey really thinks it could register a valid claim on the western part of Cyprus’ EEZ, by having Barbaros doing circles off Morphou and Paphos?

Serdar Denktas

The deputy head of the north coalition has withdrawn his support to the February 11 joint statement on Cyprob, arguing that a settlement based on the UN parameters is no longer feasible. As if he ever worked for the federation…

Demetris Syllouris

The Speaker of the RoC Parliament asked publicly for a raise of MP’s salaries. Right now, parliamentarians receive a salary of €3,969 plus €580 for travel expenses. I wouldn’t mind considering the proposal if MPs were willing to quit their other often lucrative professions.

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One comment

  1. Is the salary quoted for MPs gross or net of taxes and other contributions. Normally the gross salary is quoted. I was under the impression that they already have the highest grade for state officials and civil servants.