A Cyprus solution needs to be economically sustainable, President says

President of Cyprus Nicos Anastasiades stressed on Friday the need to reach an economically sustainable solution in Cyprus, highlighting the importance of securing the involvement of the Council of Europe Development Bank (CEB) in development and rehabilitation efforts after a settlement.

He also said he hoped for a productive discourse without preconditions in the upcoming Geneva Conference.

Addressing the opening of the 52nd CEB Joint Meeting, in Nicosia, the President referred to the solution’s viability so as to avoid events such as those in the recent past, which could, potentially, put the implementation of the solution at risk.

He added that the funding of infrastructure and development projects may play a fundamental role in a reunified Cyprus.

We consider such an involvement of the CEB as highly important given its extensive experience, the profound knowledge of the island and the excellent cooperation with Cypriot Authorities the President said, according to an announcement issued by the Presidency.

Furthermore, he expressed his appreciation to Governor Rolf Wenzel for CEB’s official expression of interest in the support of all efforts related to post-reunification infrastructure development and rehabilitation, in line with the CEB’s mandate.

The President reiterated Cyprus’ official request for technical assistance from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank, particularly in relation to the banking sector of the Turkish-occupied area.

The reason, he said, is to estimate as accurately as possible the cost of property-related issues, such as resettlement and compensation, and to find possible sources of funding of the relevant aspects of the perceived solution.

We do hope that the Turkish Cypriots will finally allow access of the IMF in their banking system for the conduct of the necessary ‘stress test’ and will provide the necessary data for the property � related issues as well President Anastasiades underlined.

This has not been done over the past one year, since the IMF and the World Bank got involved in assessing the financial situation in the occupied areas, he remarked.

The President also referred to the Conference on Cyprus, due to reconvene on June 28, in Geneva. He said he hoped for a productive discourse without preconditions and through constructive proposals to be able to come closer together towards reaching a comprehensive settlement that will be governed by the principles and values of the United Nations, with full respect towards the acquis.

Moreover, he referred to a settlement that will truly reunify the Republic of Cyprus but, most importantly, a settlement that will protect all citizens, both Greek-Cypriot and Turkish-Cypriot by creating a modern and functioning state and establishing the prospects of peaceful coexistence amongst all the residents of the island without the presence by any third country of foreign troops or rights of military intervention.

Furthermore, President Anastasiades said that the prospects of the Cypriot economy in the medium term are expected to continue improving.

As a result, he added, the enhanced macroeconomic environment is expected to lead to further attraction of foreign investments, the key drivers of each economy.

The economy of Cyprus continues its positive course in 2016, with an even higher rate of growth, set at around 2.8%, thus proving the economy’s robust recovery and its definite exit from recession the President noted.

He also observed that Credit Rating Agencies’ upgrades of the Cypriot economy underline its successful restructuring and the rapid correction of macroeconomic imbalances, as well as the economy’s impressive efficiency and endurance.

Concluding his speech, the President wished the Joint Meeting of the 52nd Council of CEB to be productive and beneficial for all participants.

CEB was established in 1956 and has been active in the island since 1962 when Cyprus joined the Bank. Cyprus is among the ten largest borrowers of CEB, and has had 34 loan requests approved amounting close to Euros 2,5 bln for social and development purposes.

The areas covered include construction and rehabilitation of public infrastructure, in all sectors of the economy, as well as education, health, protection of the environment, transport and aid to refugees.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37% of its territory. Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci have been engaged in UN-led talks since May 2015 with a view to reunite the island under a federal roof.

Earlier this month it was announced that the Conference on Cyprus will reconvene in Geneva on June 28 at the political level, under the auspices of the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

Source: Cyprus News Agency