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

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants 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.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs