TRNC News Today 3rd March 2015
Foreign Minister Özdil Nami holds contacts in Qatar
Foreign Minister Özdil Nami, met with the Minister of Commerce and Industry and the Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs of Qatar in Qatar’s capital city of Doha yesterday.
Within the framework of his contacts, Minister Nami also met with Dr. Gerd Nonneman, Dean of Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service at the Doha campus. Nami also visited the Cultural Village of “Katara” upon invitation by Dr. Khalid Bin Ibrahim Al Sulaiti, Director General of the public Corporation for the Village, which is affiliated with the Qatar Evkaf and where Qatar’s international cultural events are held.
Speaking during the visit, Al Sulaiti expressed that he is honoured to host Nami, and conveyed information regarding the events which are organized at the Village. In turn, Nami stated that he has heard many positive things about Katara Cultural Village and would be pleased to engage in cooperation with the Village. In response, Sultaiti expressed their readiness to cooperate and that they would be pleased to do so.
Furthermore, Nami participated in a panel on “the Cyprus Problem and Negotiation Process” which was organized at the Brookings Doha Center, a branch of the renowned Brookings Institute of Washington D.C. During his presentation, Nami underlined that among the current issues in the Eastern Mediterranean, the Cyprus issue is the easiest to resolve, and added that the resolution of this issue will contribute to the normalization and improvement of relations between Turkey, Cyprus, Eastern Mediterranean countries and the EU.
Foreign Minister Nami warned that if the issue pertaining to the extraction of hydrocarbon resources in the region is not managed well, the current situation in Cyprus may drift into an even worse state. Nami stated, on the other hand, that it is clear that if the issue is managed well, it could have a positive contribution to the settlement process in Cyprus. Nami indicated that the Greek Cypriot leader should discuss this issue at the negotiation table by returning to the table without preconditions. Nami emphasized that the most effective way to dispel the intransigent stance of the Greek Cypriot side and ensure that it adopts a positive attitude during the settlement process is for the senseless and unjust isolation imposed on the Turkish Cypriots to be lifted immediately.
Greek Cypriots’ reaction to US Ambassador to Cyprus
US ambassador to South Cyprus John Koenig’s tweet that asked for a comment on Greek Leader Nikos Anastasiades’ Moscow visit coinciding with the murder of the opponent politician Borris Nemtsof caused reaction of the Greek Cypriots.
Anastasiades’ statement regarding the issue is that it is too anti-diplomatic. Nikos Anastasiades said: “The diplomats’ causing tension between two countries does not serve neither this country nor another.”
Stating that his tweet was misunderstood, US Ambassador to South Cyprus Koenig said: “I asked Cypriots for a comment on two irrelevant topics. I did not mention that they are relevant.”
US Embassy made an official statement regarding the rumour that US ambassador’s relieving of the duty and it has been stated that his term of office will be expired in summer 2015.
The UK is worried about ports
The UK is worried regarding the agreement that was signed between South Cyprus and Russia allowing Russian navy ships to use Greek Cypriot ports. Furthermore an official from the UK Ministry of Foreign Affairs reminded that “According to London, it is Cyprus’ own issue. Our concern, however, is related with Russia’s Ukraine strategy.”
Turkish Cypriot and Greek Cypriot Chambers of Commerce meet in London
Presidents of Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Commerce and Greek Cypriot Chamber of Commerce met at a seminar organized in UK’s capital, London.
President of the Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Commerce Fikri Toros and the President of Greek Cypriot Chamber of Commerce Phidias Pilides attended the seminar hosted by UK Deputy Minister for Europe David Lidington.
In the statement made by the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office following the seminar, Lidington’s views were expressed. Lidington stated that he appreciates the studies of both sides’ Chambers of Commerce put forth to establish confidence and cooperation between the communities in the island, adding “UK is continuing to be the strongest defender of the solution of Cyprus problem. The studies of the Chambers of Commerce show that business relations have an important role in establishing confidence and cooperation between the communities, and an agreement to be reached in Cyprus will provide economic benefits for all Cypriots”.
Greek Cypriot Youth are obliged to migration
Under the title of “Cyprus dismisses her children”, Greek Cypriot Newspaper Fileleftheros stated that the unemployment rate in Cyprus increased to 33 per cent in January 2015 regarding the young people between 15 and 24 years old, compared to general unemployment which is 16.4 per cent.
Stating that the rate is not normal and young people are obliged to migration by this way, the newspaper recorded that the migration issue experienced a change in Cyprus. For instance, in the years of 1950-60-70’s migrants were likely to be unqualified people, but, now they are likely to be more educated.
Evretu Mosque has been restored
Within the framework of the works of the bi-communal Cultural Heritage Technical Committee, the Mosque situated in Dereboyu (Evretu) village in Baf has been restored with the funding of the EU and technical support of the UN Development Program and an event was held yesterday for the accomplishment.
Speaking first at the event, Turkish Cypriot co-chair of the Cultural Heritage Technical Committee Ali Tuncay stated that the Dereboyu (Evretu) Mosque is one of the projects that was completed in the Baf Region.
Supported by the Turkish Cypriot and Greek Cypriot leaderships, the institutions and the experts from both sides, Tuncay hopes that such studies will be spread out to the other areas that would be beneficial to the Turkish Cypriots and the Greek Cypriots.
Vladimir Putin’s invisible empire
By quietly building up a web of influence across Europe, the Russian President has changed the rules – and NATO is running to catch up
It’s easy to laugh at Vladimir Putin, to dismiss him as a Cold Warrior trapped in the Eighties. His nostalgia for the old Soviet Union, his fondness for ballistic missile testing and denouncing NATO in speeches all seem to underline the image of an old KGB agent who can’t bring himself to admit that the war is over. At first, his behaviour just seemed odd. When he annexed Crimea, it seemed more sinister. But now, we ought to consider a third possibility: that we’re the ones stuck in the past. That Putin is fighting a war of the future – and winning.
In the old days, Russians built and maintained an empire by sending tanks over borders. This was the Cold War that my wife’s parents knew: they ended up fleeing Prague after dodging Russian bullets a few too many times. When that war ended, NATO was expanded to make sure it couldn’t happen again. The United Nations has rules based on the inviolability of borders. So, for example, if Russia invaded Cyprus to give its navy access to the Mediterranean then everyone – Uncle Sam included – would come riding to the rescue.
But Putin, now, would do nothing so gauche as to invade. He cuts deals instead: this week, he agreed a €2.5 billion loan for Cyprus. In return, Russian navy vessels will be able to dock in its ports. This will lead to the extraordinary situation of Cyprus becoming a military hub for both Britain and Russia. We still have bases there; when budgets allow, RAF Tornados fly off to bomb Isil positions in Iraq. Their base abuts the Port of Limassol – so soon, British and Russian servicemen may be separated only by the colony of pink flamingos that divides Cypriot and British territory in Akrotiri.
It’s quite a coup for the Kremlin. Cyprus was British until 1960; now it has been absorbed into Putin’s new empire. It’s not an empire that NATO, with its Cold War mindset, would recognize; it’s not one that can be described by colouring in nations on a map. This is an empire of influence – far cheaper to acquire, harder to spot and easier to maintain. It doesn’t cost much for Russia to provide 80 per cent of foreign investment into Cyprus, but with investment comes gratitude. Cyprus, an EU member, opposes sanctions on Russia – making the hard task of a common EU foreign policy that little bit harder.
US: Not the time for ‘business as usual’ with Russia
This is not the time for “business as usual with Russia”, Marie Harf, the Deputy Spokesperson for the US Department of State said, when asked to comment on the recent visit of the Greek Cypriot leader Nicos Anastasiades to Russia.
In her statement, Harf noted that the US have stressed to their European allies and partners the importance of unity and of pressing Russia to stop fuelling the conflict in eastern Ukraine.
“That’s certainly something we feel very strongly about” she added.
Asked why the US do not accuse Turkey over the 1974 intervention in Cyprus, when they accuse Russia about Crimea, Harf added that the two should not be linked. “We obviously have been very clear about different kinds of events, and I’m not going to try and link them,” she noted.
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