Cyprus Year in Review: Another year, another dead-end for the Cyprus issue as tensions with Turkey reach their apex

Cyprus Year in Review: Another year, another dead-end for the Cyprus issue as tensions with Turkey reach their apex

Turkey’s illegal activity within the Cypriot EEZ; the efforts for the dialogue between the two communities to be relaunched; the continuation of the energy planning and the Cypriot Government’s diplomatic marathon were the highlights of 2019 on the island of Cyprus.

January 14: The creation of an Egypt-based international organization, the East Mediterranean Gas Forum, is decided, with the participation of Cyprus, Greece, Italy, Israel, Jordan, Israel and Palestine, for optimum co-exploitation of hydrocarbons in the Eastern Mediterranean.

January 23: The Commission officially asks for Cyprus, Malta and Bulgaria to pay “more attention” regarding the program granting a “golden visa” or a “golden passport” to investors.

January 29: The EU Summit of the Southern European Union Countries is held in Nicosia.

February 12: Israeli President Reuven Rivlin holds consultations with President Anastasiades in Nicosia.

February 23: UNFICYP carries out a demarche towards the occupying forces for new violations of the military status quo in Strovolia.

February 26: President Anastasiades and Mustafa Akinci proceed to a series of decisions on Confidence Building Measures.

28 February: A total reservoir estimated at between 5 and 8 trillion feet was discovered by a research drill conducted by the ExxonMobil – Qatar Petroleum Consortium on the “Glaucus” target of Block 10.

March 20: The 6th Tripartite Summit between Cyprus, Israel and Greece was held with the participation of the US in Jerusalem

April 11: Cyprus and Lebanon agree to commence negotiations to conclude a Framework Agreement on the development of hydrocarbon stocks that extend to both sides of the median line between the two EEZs.

April 14: The second Tripartite Summit between Cyprus, Greece and Jordan takes place in Amman, Jordan.

April 21: A 35-year-old lieutenant and serial killer who allegedly murdered 5 women and 2 children was detained for six days.

May 15: A demarche to the Foreign Office on the occasion of Duncan’s statement on the “disputable” sovereignty of the Cypriot EEZ  was submitted by the High Commissioner of Cyprus to London Euripides L. Evriviades.

May 22: An agreement on a Cyprus-Egypt electricity interconnection was signed in Cairo.

May 26: The European elections were held in Cyprus. Lefteris Christoforou and Loukas Fourlas (DISY); George Georgiou, and Niyazi Kizilyürek (AKEL); Kostas Mavridis (DIKO) and Dimitris Papadakis (EDEK) were elected. The participation rate was 42.8%.

June 1: The General Health System (GHS) commences its operation.

June 6: The land concession contract for the construction of the HVDC conversion station of the EuroAsia Interconnector is signed, which will interconnect the electricity networks of Cyprus, Israel, Crete and Attica to Greece, with a capacity of 2000MW.

June 14: Important reports related to Cyprus, Turkey, energy issues and the Cyprus issue are included in the Valletta Joint Declaration issued by the leaders of the southern EU Member States following the MED7 Summit.

June 20: The European Council warns Turkey with targeted measures in its text of conclusions adopted by the EU28.

June 21: Former President Demetris Christofias dies at the age of 72.

July 1: An S200 missile explodes and crashes into the occupied territories.

July 11: The Mobile Telephony CBM to link the free and occupied territories is implemented. The first call was made between President Anastasiades and Mustafa Akinci.

July 16: The Board of Governors under President Anastasiades decides that Mustafa Akinci’s proposal for hydrocarbons cannot be accepted.

July 26: President Anastasiades nominates Stella Kyriakidou as Cyprus’s new EU Commissioner.

July 29: New Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis visits Cyprus.

July 30: The Minister of Energy announces the entry of the French Total consortium with the Italian ENI into Block 7 of the Cypriot EEZ with each getting 50%, alongside the entry of the French energy colossus into blocks 2, 3, 9 and 8.

August 9: President Anastasiades holds an informal meeting with Mustafa Akinci.

September 2: Cyprus fully repays the Russian loan of 1.58 billion euros according to the Minister of Finance.

September 9: The Foreign Ministry condemns Turkey’s stated intention to open a “general consulate” of the country in Famagusta.

September 16: President Anastasiades receives a report on a possible appeal to the UN regarding Turkey’s unlawful activity in Famagusta.

September 18: Exploratory and Proportional Production Allocation Contracts are signed in Nicosia regarding the licensing of Block 7 of the Cypriot EEZ to the consortium of Total and ENI companies and the assignment of ENI’s rights in Blocks 2,3,8 and 9 to Total.

October 1: Cyprus submits its appeal to the Security Council regarding the settlement of Famagusta.

October 3: The Republic of Cyprus proceeds with the issuance of NAVTEX following the earlier NAVTEX issuance by Turkey, which blocked areas in the Cypriot EEZ/Continental Shelf for the conduction of drilling operations by the Yavuz floating drill.

October 8: The Cairo Joint Declaration in the context of the Greece-Cyprus-Egypt Tripartite Summit decries the illegal Turkish activity within the Cypriot EEZ.

October 9: Security Council urges for no action to be taken in Varosha that is not in line with Resolutions 550 and 789.

November 7: Contracts for commercial exploitation of the “Aphrodite” gas field are signed.

November 17: Police units in Larnaca take down a spy van.

November 20: The European People’s Party convened in Zagreb adopted an extraordinary resolution on the negotiations on the Cyprus issue and Turkey’s illegal activity in Cyprus and the Eastern Mediterranean.

November 25: A meeting between the UN Secretary-General, President Anastasiades and Mustafa Akinci takes place in Berlin.

November 29: The Ministry of Foreign Affairs condemns the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding between Turkey and Libya.

December 1: The President of the Republic of Cyprus, Nicos Anastasiades, proceeds to a Government reshuffle.

December 4: The National Council is convened, with Nicos Anastasiades briefing the members on the Berlin meeting.

December 17: Two stars are given Cypriot names. A star was named Alasia (the ancient name of the island of Cyprus) and the exoplanet that follows it was given the name of Onasilos.

December 19: The police proceed to three arrests regarding the spy van.

December 21: US President Donald Trump signs a law lifting arms embargo and the Eastern Mediterranean.

December 28: The President of the Libyan Parliament visits Cyprus. /ibna