Anastasiades: Confidence has been restored
President Nicos Anastasiades said on Tuesday that confidence has been restored both in the public sector and in the banking sector.
Making his first official statements after resuming office, following a three week absence to undergo a heart operation in New York’s Mount Sinai Hospital to repair his mitral valve, the President said: “The government succeeded not only to reverse the numbers, but also to restore confidence, at least in the public financial sector of the state.”
He said this came “through a series of positive reviews by the Troika (of international lenders), through a series of upgrades by the credit rating agencies, by having sought successfully and securing loans from the markets which are among the strictest judges.”
He also said that there was an increased “willingness by certain individuals to invest in the financial system, the trustworthiness of which we have equally succeeded to restore through the latest trials of the stress tests”.
Admitting that the 22 months of his administration had been bumpy, Anastasiades said that he was ready to discuss the possibility of a ‘national unity government’ in order to proceed faster with making progress and trying to resolve the Cyprus problem.
He said that there would be changes at the Presidency, with the plan expected to be announced soon after the holidays.
Over the weekend and soon after he had returned home, Anastasiades had said that he will lay out his plans for major reforms.
Among the priorities are changes at the Presidential Palace, where “some new people might arrive and other might leave,” said Government Spokesman Nicos Christodoulides.
On the issue of the establishment of a “national unity government”, Christodoulides said this was in response to the national challenges and the Cyprus problem.
Talks with the Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglou were halted last month when Turkey sent its seismic vessel Barbaros into the Cyprus exclusive economic zone (EEZ) to explore for oil and gas deposits and boost’ Ankara’s bid for a share in future resources and revenues, claiming these in the name of the Turkish Cypriot community.
As regards any mediation efforts for the talks to resume, the President said: “We must always be frank. Both our reservations and our rights are understood. Equally understood is also the fact that beyond the diplomatic attempts or efforts they make, some of the countries avoid public confrontation because of the big interests they have vested with Turkey, which is either geostrategically useful for some in the war against the Islamic State or because Turkey is a big market that is of interest to many of these countries”.
He added that “we have recent examples, but I do not want to make a more specific reference”.
Asked whether there was a reply from Ankara on the positions he himself had conveyed to Turkey, through the Greek government, and if he is satisfied with the replies, Anastasiades said: “I will answer in a straightforward manner. The replies so far are not at all satisfactory. To the contrary, they create many problems.”
Meanwhile, Spokesman Christodoulides said that the President’s visits to Russia and Israel are expected to take place some time in February.
Cyprus has already embarked on a series of visits to Egypt and Greece to discuss future cooperation in oil and gas exploration in the eastern Mediterranean, and wants to include Israel and possibly Lebanon in future discussions.
The mission to Moscow aims to explore prospects for economic cooperation in the face of increasing western pressure for more sanctions against Russia over eh crisis in Crimea and eastern Ukraine, with the fall in global oil prices hampering the Kremlin’s plans.