Ovi -
we cover every issue
worldwide creative inspiration  
Ovi Bookshop - Free Ebook
Tony Zuvela - Cartoons, Illustrations
Ovi Language
Michael R. Czinkota: As I See It...
Stop violence against women
Tony Zuvela - Cartoons, Illustrations
Stop human trafficking
BBC News :   - 
iBite :   - 
Cypriot report Cypriot report
by Euro Reporter
2011-08-21 09:15:17
Print - Comment - Send to a Friend - More from this Author
DeliciousRedditFacebookDigg! StumbleUpon
Tensions mounting in Cyprus over Oil, gas exploration plans

Tensions are mounting between the Cyprus and Turkey over the island nation's plans to begin oil and gas exploration in the eastern Mediterranean Sea. Drilling is scheduled to start in just six weeks. At the heart of the dispute is how any revenues from the oil and natural gas exploration will be shared between Greek Cypriots, who control the internationally recognized government, and Turkish Cypriots in the north.   Turkey, which backs the Turkish Cypriots, says it objects to the drilling and says it will take action if the exploration goes ahead before a solution to the 37-year-old division of Cyprus is found.

Ankara claims that only a peace settlement between the two communities would ensure the Turkish Cypriot community’s share of any natural resources discovered. The Cyprus government signed a production-sharing contract with U.S.-based Noble Energy to launch exploration activities in an 324,000-hectare economic zone southeast of the island which borders Israeli waters and where massive gas fields were found under the seabed. Solon Kassinis, director of the Cyprus Energy Services, says all steps have been taken in accordance to international law.

"We are proceeding according to our sort of agreement with Nobel and the rig is going to start working about the first of October," said Kassinis. "They are going to start drilling to see what is happening underneath and see what exists down there." Solon Kassinis also rejected claims that the Greek side would monopolize any revenue from what is discovered under the seabed. "We are evaluating the situation of what will happen in case we find oil and I assure you that this is to be taken into serious consideration - and we are not only going to consider the present generations of legal citizens of Cyprus - all Greeks, Turks and many other nationalities who live here legally, but of course this is to consider the future generations as well," said Kassinis.


Cyprus police probe blast 'cover up' documents

Serious developments are unfolding in the investigation into the deadly Mari naval base blast with police confirming that the first criminal cases have been filed against three National Guard soldiers for “offences committed after the explosion”. In one of the cases two officers are charged with allegedly obstructing police investigations, conspiracy to commit and offence and neglect of duty. The men allegedly forged a report which was prepared a few days prior to the explosion detailing the storage, inspection and dangers posed by the munitions at Mari. In the other case, a national guardsman is charged with giving the police false information.

Meanwhile, the Foreign Minister Erato Kozakou-Marcoullis has written to the Public Service Commission requesting the four officials from the Foreign Ministry be suspended from their duties in light of a disciplinary investigation against them. The government spokesman announced last night announced that the cabinet had had appointed a prosecutor to probe the Foreign Ministry officials possible involvement in “serious disciplinary offences” The officials include permanent secretary Nicholas Emiliou, first secretary of the permanent secretary’s office Giorgos Yiangou, head of the department of multilateral affairs and international organisations Michalis Stavrinos and attaché Giulia Sykopetrites.

The four are reportedly under investigation for their alleged involvement in engineering or altering an internal memo which documented a bi-ministerial meeting between the Defence and Foreign Minister in February which focused on the weapons dump at the Mari base.


Cabinet shuffle in Cyprus seeks backing for austerity

The president of Cyprus, Demetris Christofias, shuffled his cabinet on Friday, but he failed to attract members of the opposition whose support is needed to impose crucial austerity measures. The political and economic crisis is raising fears that Cyprus will become the next country to seek a bailout from the European Union and is undermining peace talks mediated by the United Nations aimed at reunifying the island, which has been divided since a Turkish invasion in 1974 that was prompted by a coup engineered by Greece. The country’s problems have been driven in part by its exposure to the shattered Greek economy; Cyprus’s banks hold about $7.1 billion in Greek debt. But the troubles worsened in recent weeks after an explosion at a munitions dump knocked out a major power plant, forcing the authorities to import power and dampening hopes for economic growth. Three major credit rating agencies have downgraded the country’s debt ratings in recent months.

Mr. Christofias’s ability to address the cascading problems was dealt a serious blow this week when the junior partner in the government, the centrist DIKO party, quit over disagreements over how to handle the economic woes and the peace talks, leaving his party with just 19 seats in the country’s 56-seat Parliament. Because the country adheres to a presidential system, Mr. Christofias’s position is not threatened, though opinion polls show his popularity plummeting and protesters frequently gather outside his Nicosia residence. But he will need to persuade the Parliament to support draft austerity measures, chiefly cuts to public spending and tax increases, announced July 1. “Constitutionally, the government is viable but practically it can’t rule, it will need to bargain with five opposition parties on each piece of legislation it brings to Parliament,” said Victor Roudometof, an associate professor of sociology at the University of Cyprus. “He can’t do it on his own — it’s mission impossible.”

In the shuffle, many of the ministers in the 11-member cabinet kept their posts. The most important change was the naming of a new finance minister, Kikis Kazamias, a former member of the European Court of Auditors, following hours of negotiations. Mr. Kazamias is broadly regarded as a good choice for the job in good part because he is with the ruling Communist-rooted party, which is expected to help in talks with trade unions over planned public sector cuts. His European Union experience is also considered a plus. But hopes that the president could use cabinet appointments to secure more support from opposition parties for economic change fell flat despite several overtures to candidates in other parties. Mr. Roudometof suggested that many opposition members may have refused overtures to create distance from the government as campaigning for the next presidential election is set to begin soon.

Print - Comment - Send to a Friend - More from this Author

Get it off your chest
 (comments policy)

© Copyright CHAMELEON PROJECT Tmi 2005-2008  -  Sitemap  -  Add to favourites  -  Link to Ovi
Privacy Policy  -  Contact  -  RSS Feeds  -  Search  -  Submissions  -  Subscribe  -  About Ovi