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

Hong Kong Democracy Calls Spread to Macau

Macau and Hong Kong are China’s two 'special administrative regions' which gives them a measure of autonomy More

After Nearly 2 Years, Pistorius Remains Elusive

Reporter Anita Powell reflects on her experience covering the Olympic athlete's murder trial More

Kenyan Coastal Town Struggles With Deadly June Attacks

Three months after al-Shabab militants allegedly attacked their town, some Mpeketoni residents are still bitter, question who was really behind the assaults 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.
Obama to Ramp Up Anti-Ebola Efforts in Africai
X
Luis Ramirez
September 15, 2014 11:01 PM
President Barack Obama on Tuesday will unveil his plan to ramp up efforts against the spread of the Ebola virus in Africa. VOA White House Correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Obama to Ramp Up Anti-Ebola Efforts in Africa

President Barack Obama on Tuesday will unveil his plan to ramp up efforts against the spread of the Ebola virus in Africa. VOA White House Correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.
Video

Video Washington DC Mural Artists Help Beautify City

Like many cities, Washington has a graffiti problem. Buildings and homes, especially in low-income neighborhoods, are often targets of illegal artwork. But as we hear from VOA’s Julie Taboh, officials in the nation's capital have come up with an innovative program that uses the talents of local artists to beautify the city.
Video

Video US Muslim Leaders Condemn Islamic State

Leaders of America's Muslim community are condemning the violent extremism of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. Muslim leaders say militants are exploiting their faith in a failed effort to justify violent extremism. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Americans' Reaction Mixed on Obama Strategy for Islamic State Militants

President Barack Obama’s televised speech on how the United States plans to “degrade and destroy” the group known as the Islamic State reached a prime-time audience of millions. And it came as Americans appear more willing to embrace a bolder, tougher approach to foreign policy. VOA producer Katherine Gypson and reporter Jeff Seldin have this report from Washington.
Video

Video Authorities Allege LA Fashion Industry-Cartel Ties

U.S. officials say they have broken up crime rings that funneled tens of millions of dollars from Mexican drug cartels through fashion businesses in Los Angeles. Mike O'Sullivan reports that authorities announced nine arrests, as 1,000 law enforcement agents fanned out through the city on Wednesday.
Video

Video Bedouin Woman Runs Successful Business in Palestinian City

A Bedouin woman is breaking social taboos by running a successful vacation resort in the Palestinian town of Jericho. Bedouins are a sub-group of Arabs known for their semi-nomadic lifestyle. Zlatica Hoke says the resort in the West Bank's Jordan Valley is a model of success for women in the region.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid