News / Europe

Cyprus Presidential Candidate Wary of EU Bailout Terms

Turkish and Turkish Cypriot flags wave beside a offshore drilling tower near Famagusta, Cyprus, April 26, 2012.
Turkish and Turkish Cypriot flags wave beside a offshore drilling tower near Famagusta, Cyprus, April 26, 2012.
Reuters
One of the three leading candidates for the presidency of Cyprus in Feb. 17 elections says he would press for renegotiation of a financial bailout, and that outsiders should have no say in how the island manages natural gas finds.
 
George Lillikas, whom opinion polls put third in the race, said that by securitizing the undersea gas reserves, Cyprus could swiftly extricate itself from onerous terms of aid now under discussion with the European Union and the International Monetary Fund.
 
"Cyprus should not be economically dependent on anyone, because states which have an economic dependence have a political dependence, too," Lillikas told Reuters in an interview on Friday.
 
Cyprus applied for financial aid from the International Monetary Fund and the European Union eight months ago, the prospective allocation of which has been delayed by concerns about how the debt will be repaid and misgivings over the island's financial transparency.
 
Lillikas, who is running as an independent with support from the small socialist party, is garnering 17-20 percent in opinion polls. The clear favorite is conservative opposition leader Nicos Anastasiades. If elections drag on to a runoff, Lillikas might play the role of kingmaker.
 
Lillikas has an unyielding attitude on the divided island's long-running conflict, and is scathing about the way authorities have handled the economic crisis.
 
He appeals to a growing mass of people who have seen their living standards plummet, and is attracting support from many of the record 15 percent of Cypriots who are unemployed.
 
Offshore gas
 
Lillikas says Cyprus could swiftly extricate itself from the clutches of lenders if the island made better use of its offshore hydrocarbons wealth. He is also critical of a draft memorandum of understanding (MOU), which, he says, is open to multiple interpretations on how much say lenders will have in telling Cyprus what to do.
 
"I would want to negotiate all these issues before deciding whether to accept [the MOU] or not," he said. "I cannot accept [that] Cyprus doesn't have any other option. Cyprus does have alternatives."
 
The island reported its first offshore find of 7-trillion cubic feet of gas, with an estimated current market value of 60-billion euros, in December 2011. It expects gas to come on line domestically in 2018, and export by 2019.
 
This year, authorities licensed Total, Italy's ENI and South Korea's Kogas to explore for oil and gas, joining U.S. based Noble Energy.
 
Lillikas wants the future revenues to be utilized in advance. "There are two ways to do it, either by securitization, or pre-selling quantities," he said.
 
In seeking a say on how Cyprus handles its reserves, lenders could be wading into one of the world's most intractable conflicts.
 
Turkey, gas-exploration dispute
 
Turkey, Cyprus's large northern neighbor, openly disputes the island's right to explore for oil and gas. The island was split in a Turkish invasion in 1974 which was triggered by a brief Greek-inspired coup.
 
The internationally-recognized government in the south of the island is doing the exploring. Turkey has sent gunboats to the area and Cyprus has responded by freezing Turkey's EU energy chapter in negotiations with the EU, one of several on hold because of the Cyprus issue.
 
Lillikas, who served under an administration which rejected a United Nations reunification blueprint for Cyprus in 2004, says he will go a step further.
 
"Turkey cannot occupy [northern] Cyprus ... and think that it can achieve admission to the EU, or get a special privileged status with the EU," he said.

You May Like

Israelis Quietly Expand Enclave in Palestinian District of Jerusalem

Estimated 500 settlers, armed or protected by paramilitary police, live in Silwan among 50,000 Palestinians More

Video US, Iran Face Similar Challenges in Syrian Fight Against IS

Both Washington, Tehran back fighters battling Islamic State militants in Iraq -- but in Syria they support opposing sides in country’s civil war More

China Boosts Efforts to Help Afghan, Regional Stability

Observers say China’s increased regional involvement are due to concerns that Afghan instability and the presence of anti-China militants in Pakistani border areas could fuel Xinjiang troubles More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Kyriacos Kyriakides from: Cyprus
February 09, 2013 5:40 PM
Your choice of photo displays either ignorance or spite. Either way you manage simply to render the Voice less trustworthy.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Lawi
X
William Ide
October 20, 2014 10:23 AM
China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Nigeria Agrees to Cease-Fire With Boko Haram

Islamist militant group Boko Haram and the Nigerian government have agreed to a cease-fire. The Nigerian government issued an order Friday, telling all military chiefs "to comply with the cease-fire agreement in all theaters of operations. Why now and the significance of the agreement are questions on some people’s minds. VOA's Mariama Diallo reports.
Video

Video Kobani Fighting Sends 400,000 Refugees to Turkey

The offensive by Islamic State militants against the northern Syrian city of Kobani has caused hundreds of thousands of residents to flee to Turkey. They receive help from Turkish authorities and individuals, but say much more is needed. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from the town of Suruc a few kilometers from the border.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Syrian Defector Leaks Shocking Photos of Torture Victims

Shocking photographs purporting to show Syrian torture victims are on display at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington. The museum says the graphic images are among thousands of photographs recently smuggled out of Syria by a military policeman-turned-defector. As VOA reporter Julie Taboh reports, the museum says the photos provide further evidence of atrocities committed by the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad against its own people.
Video

Video Drought-Stricken California Considers Upgrading Water System

A three-year drought in California is causing a water shortage that is being felt on farms and cities throughout the state. As VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports, water experts, consumers and farmers say California needs to make changes to cope with an uncertain future.
Video

Video TechShop Puts High-tech Dreams Within Reach

Square, a business app and card reader, makes it possible to do credit card transactions through cell phones. But what made Square possible? VOA’s Adrianna Zhang and Enming Liu have the answer.

All About America

AppleAndroid