TRNC News Today 5th March 2015
Russia restructured Greek Cypriot Administration’s Debt
Russia restructured Greek Cypriot Administration’s debt. Federation Council of Russia approved to decrease the rate of interest of the credit from 4.5% to 2.5% and also approved to postpone payment of capital to 2018-2021 period.
According to the agreement signed between Russia and the Greek Cypriot Administration on 23 December 2011, Greek Cypriot Administration would pay their 2.5 billion credit at once on 1 June 2016.
Russian President Vladimir Putin stated at the meeting held on 25 February with Greek Cypriot leader Nikos Anastasiades in Moscow that the Greek Cypriot Administration’s demand for debt restructuring would be approved.
Cyprus port deal gives Russian navy alternative to Tartus
The Russian navy’s new access to ports in Cyprus has both symbolic and practical importance for Moscow.
An agreement allowing the Russian navy access to ports in Cyprus sends a message to the EU and gives Moscow an alternative to its facility at Tartus, Syria.
At a time when the European Union has imposed harsh economic sanctions on Russia and is trying to isolate the Russian government, the Kremlin is clearly relishing every opportunity to draw attention to cracks in Europe’s unity. Russian President Vladimir Putin’s recent visit to Hungary — complete with a natural gas supply deal — is one example of this; the Cyprus talks are another.
What makes Moscow’s pursuit of this political symbolism most obvious is how Russia’s official media are handling the story. The headline at Sputnik — a relatively new government-sponsored media organization targeted at foreign audiences — conveys this quite directly: “Russia Signs Military Deal with EU Member State.” In other words, Sputnik is telling Europeans “you may think you can isolate us, but you can’t even keep your own members from hosting Russian military forces.”
Of course, Russian officials likely want to reach audiences beyond the EU or the West in general. Another audience is domestic — to whom the deal says, “We are not quite as isolated as Western leaders claim.” Beyond this, given the island nation’s strategic location, regularized Russian naval access to Cypriot ports sends a message across the eastern Mediterranean region of the Middle East: “We are here to stay.”
The deal, which cuts interest rates on a 2.5 billion euro Russian bailout loan to Cyprus and extends payments from 2016 to as late as 2021, also makes two other important statements in the Eastern Mediterranean. The first is that the Kremlin takes care of its friends; Cyprus is a particularly special friend as an offshore banking haven and the second-ranking source of foreign investment in Russia, though as even Putin acknowledges, “a large part of this is repatriated capital.”
The second message is that Russia is able to help friends like Cyprus even at a time of great economic distress. Russian officials may see this as the most consequential idea to communicate at a time when most news from Moscow is assessing the impacts of low energy prices and a much-reduced rouble.
Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades has perhaps unintentionally reinforced the case that the deal is more symbolic than substantive by insisting that it was a “renewed agreement” rather than a new one. Still, the agreement is not exclusively about symbolism — access to ports in Cyprus does have value for Russia’s navy, even if only for what Anastasiades described as port “calls with humanitarian aims, which are supplies of provisions and refuelling of vessels, as well as for rescue of lives of Russian nationals and their evacuation from neighbouring countries.” After all, Russia’s naval replenishment facility at Syria’s port of Tartus is only about 150 miles (241 kilometers) from Limassol, a major port on the southern coast of Cyprus. With Syria’s civil war continuing with no end in sight, having an alternative to Tartus makes good sense (particularly since no one knows what the outcome of the war will be). Moreover, despite much excitement early in the conflict about the “strategic” role of the Tartus facility, in reality it offers little more than what Cyprus is willing to provide.
The port access is especially important in view of Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu’s declaration, “It has been decided to set up a navy department task force in the Mediterranean zone where naval forces will stay on a permanent basis.” The Moscow Times suggested that this “permanent” presence would allow Russia to “secure shipping access to the Suez Canal and extend its influence in the Middle East.” The paper added that the force would operate from either Sevastopol or Novorossiysk in the Black Sea, because Tartus could not support it.
A press officer from Russia’s Black Sea Fleet describes Russia’s current Mediterranean presence as a task force of 10 ships led by the destroyer Severomorsk, which has been detached from the Northern Fleet. It also includes vessels from the Black Sea Fleet and the Pacific Fleet. As Al-Monitor has previously reported, some of them participated in live-fire exercises with Cypriot and Israeli ships last fall.
Anastasiades said that Putin approached the agreement “delicately” and without putting Cyprus in a “complicated position” with its EU partners. He likewise made clear that Russia will not have a military base; some press reports had suggested this possibility. (Indeed, some Greek patriots hope for a permanent Russian naval base on this island. Before the trip, Anastasiades even suggested that Cyprus might provide Moscow with access to an air base for humanitarian missions, though subsequent reports do not suggest this was in the final agreement.
Author Paul J. Saunders
Posted March 3, 2015
President of European Central Bank Draghi in South Cyprus
President of European Central Bank Mario Draghi arrived in South Cyprus previous night to attend the European Central Bank Board Meeting to be held in South Cyprus today. Draghi was received by Greek Cypriot leader Nikos Anastasiades yesterday.
Draghi who arrived in South Cyprus with intense security measures was welcomed by a platform composed of 20 South Cyprus organizations and other various organizations from Greece, Italy and other countries gathered to protest saving policies.
Kotak: “notice is published as a ‘Joint statement’ without getting approval of all parties”
The foreign relations secretary of Democrat Party-National Forces (DP-UG) Serhat Kotak, criticized the Joint Statement that was published after a meeting on 25th of February between Turkish and Greek Political parties, without getting all parties’ approval.
In his written statement Kotak said, the work that was done on the written statement which was shared with press was done in an environment where DP-UG representatives were not present. Kotak said: “in the final declaration of the meeting there were things which were shown as agreed by all parties but certainly there were things that were unapproved by DP-UG. The right thing was to announce that the political parties have presented different opinions but at the end there wasn’t an agreement on a joint statement, instead the statement shared with our press which showed it as a joint agreement of all parties is a big shame”.
Mentioning that one of the opposing parties was DP-UG to the proposal of some parties about mandatory Greek classes in TRNC schools, Kotak said: “I believe that instead of teaching a language forcibly in the TRNC schools, respect, acceptance and tolerance to each people in Cyprus should be aimed. Turkish and Greek Cypriots never had a joint education system in History.
Instead of forcibly trying to join this, the right thing to do for both communities is that without hiding the truth they should grow up their children with tolerance and respect “
The historical tombs belonging to the mosque are at Larnaca Castle
Due to the restoration of the Muslim mosque at Larnaca, 15 old tombs which were at the mosque and have a very great historical value, have been situated at the inner garden of Larnaca Castle for five months.
Under the headline “Larnaca Castle is Imams storage” Greek Fileleftheros newspaper stated that, by moving the tomb stones to the inner garden of Larnaca Castle which is right next to the mosque, made this place become a storage and is creating an unpleasant sight for the visitors.
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