Archive for Cyprus
The Greek Ambassador in Ankara, Kyriakos Loukakis, has been summoned to the Turkish Foreign Ministry following the Greek suspension of peace talks over Cyprus. The move came after the Greek Cypriot administration suspended negotiations over the divided island after Turkey sent a warship to monitor oil and gas exploration off the coast of Cyprus. Greek Cypriot leader Nicos Anastasiades abandoned the talks with the Turkish Cypriot leadership Tuesday following reports that the Turkish corvette had been sent to monitor Greek Cypriot exploration. Anastasiades said the decision had been made after consulting with party leaders and the negotiator in the talks, Andreas Mavroyiannis. Turkey expects Greek Cypriots to quickly reverse a decision to halt reunification talks with Turkish Cypriots and resume their dialogue or risk harming peace prospects. Greece’s Prime Minister Antonis Samaras supported the decision to suspend the talks. Dervis Eroglu, the president of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, was expected to meet with Anastasiades to move on to a new phase of negotiations on October 9.
The Cyprus Police are taking additional measures for the protection of the US embassy in Nicosia. The measures are in place following the U.S. military campaign in Iraq, reports the Cyprus News Agency. The report also stated that increased security measures are being taken at the Israeli embassy as well due to the situation in the Gaza strip. Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides told Sky News that US ally Britain would have to consult with him ahead of any airstrike in Iraq through the RAF base in Akrotiri. The Minister appeared certain that Nicosia would “not object to the use of the British Bases for any military operation against a terrorist organisation like this one which is the worst kind that we have ever met.”
Iran has recalled its ambassador to Cyprus for consultations after an Iranian national was recently extradited from the island to the United States on suspicion of violating U.N. arms sanctions, Cyprus’s foreign minister said. “Only today … I received word from Nicosia that Iran has decided to recall its ambassador there for consultations. Why? Because an Iranian citizen was apprehended for trying to buy, to contravene the arms embargo against Iran,” Ioannis Kasoulides told a conference in Washington. A diplomatic source in Nicosia said the Iranian was ordered to be extradited to the United States by a court “after exhaustion of all domestic legal remedies in Cyprus” about two weeks ago.
EU diplomat says Cyprus secures international bailout, avoids bankruptcy. Cyprus secured a $13 billion package of rescue loans in tense, last-ditch negotiations early Monday, saving the country from a banking system collapse and bankruptcy that could have destabilized the entire euro area. In return for the bailout, Cyprus must drastically shrink its outsized banking sector, cut its budget, implement structural reforms and privatize state assets, he said. The country’s second-largest bank, Laiki, will be shut down immediately, with all its bond holders and depositors with more than 100,000 euros, or $130,000, facing significant losses. The measures are likely to deepen the recession in Cyprus and lead to more job losses.
The government of Cyprus has upgraded the status of the Palestinian diplomatic representation in Nicosia from that of a diplomatic mission to that of an Embassy of the State of Palestine. Minister of Foreign Affairs Erato Kozakou Markoullis said that “this important decision is in line with the recognition of the Palestinian State in 1988 by the Council of Ministers of the Republic of Cyprus and follows the relevant practice of seven other EU member states that have recognized the Palestinian State also in 1988, namely, Romania, Bulgaria, Slovakia, Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Malta.” Minister of Foreign Affairs of Palestine, who pays an official visit to Cyprus, said that other countries should now follow Cyprus’ “historic decision”.
A spokesman for the U.S. Embassy in Cyprus has flatly denied local media reports that a fugitive spy suspect is in U.S. custody at the embassy compound. Christopher Metsos, an alleged paymaster for a Russian spy ring in the U.S., vanished on the Mediterranean island Wednesday after skipping bail, prompting a widespread manhunt by embarrassed Cypriot authorities. U.S. Embassy spokesman James Ellickson-Brown said Friday that U.S. authorities have no knowledge of the 54-year-old’s whereabouts and the search effort for Metsos is entirely in the hands of Cypriot authorities. He is one of 11 suspects arrested in the spy ring.