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A solution to the Cyprus problem will contribute to the growth of relations between Greece and Turkey, between EU and Turkey and between NATO and EU, President Nicos Anastasiades has said.

In a long speech during a lunch with the Cyprus Union of Shipowners in Athens, the President made references to the current state of play in the Cyprus peace talks, the financial situation as well as about the prospects after the discovery of hydrocarbon reserves in the island`s exclusive economic zone.

He pointed out that Cyprus, through hard work, patience, perseverance and sacrifices has managed to implement brave reforms and has left behind one of the most difficult periods in its modern history. The President referred to the restructure and stabilisation of the financial system, the continuous positive ratings by international agencies and the increase in the number of investment funds operating in the country.

He said that we have managed to boost our competitiveness and return to the bond markets even faster than some predicted.

The President made special reference to the contribution of the Cyprus shipping industry, saying that this proves once again that the shipping industry is an invaluable asset for Cyprus and one of its main pillars of development, with a contribution of about 7% to its GDP.

President Anastasiades referred to a series of measures and actions the government is taking to in order to attract new investments in the sector by providing, inter alia, opportunities to foreign shipping companies.
He also added that the government will be soon promoting some legislations to this end and with parallel aim to strengthen the Cyprus flag abroad.

President Anastasiades pointed out that all measures are based on five pillars, which include among others, the development and implementation of a national strategy to promote Cypriot shipping and to further strengthen the cooperation with all stakeholders in the private sector.

He also said that the discovery of natural gas in Cyprus` EEZ has created fresh expectations and prospects and has led to cooperation with neighbouring countries.

The President also referred to the ongoing peace talks for a Cyprus solution saying that the new intensified phase aims to further decrease the differences between the two sides. He said that following this phase, an overall assessment will take place of where we stand and depending on the progress, the next steps will be decided.

According to the President, considerable progress has been made in the chapters of Governance, Economy and the European Union and to a lesser extend in property issues, however significant differences remain as regards the territory issue, the security and the guarantees.

He pointed out that if Turkey shows good will and change its stance as regards the security and guarantees and if the differences are decreased, a solution is possible before the end of 2016.
He reiterated once again that the solution will benefit all Cypriots and will create more partnerships from which no country is excluded, not even Turkey.

The President underlined that the solution will further contribute to the growth of relations between Greece and Turkey, Turkey and the EU as well as NATO and the EU.

He said that the objective is not to have winners and losers because we will once again fail and the solution will collapse like it happened in the past.
He added that the shipping industry will also benefit from the solution.

The President added that Greece and Cyprus maintain excellent relations and do not see each other as competitors in the shipping industry, adding that Greece is one of the main pillars of the development of the Cyprus shipping industry.

The President of the Union of Cypriot Shipowners Andreas Hatzigiannis praised the efforts made by the President and his government to develop the shipping industry and the measures taken that led Cyprus to the bond markets.

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