Provident funds in Cyprus’ ailing Popular Bank and Bank of Cyprus will be safeguarded, President of the Republic Nicos Anastasiades has said, also noting that “very temporary” restrictions on capital flows will be introduce when banks reopen this week.

Addressing the people of Cyprus on Monday evening, President Anastasiades also announced that the Cabinet will be launching a criminal investigation into what led the banking system of the country to a near collapse and pledged to stand by all those worse affected by the Eurogroup deal.

He referred to the difficulty of his mission in Brussels, which ended up in a bail out agreement for Cyprus in the early hours of Monday morning.

“Our aim was to save our country”, he stressed, adding that it was a difficult and at times dramatic mission during which Cyprus was at the brink of a total collapse.

The Cyprus President assured that through negotiating hard, persistently and a sense of responsibility the result ensures the country’s prospects.

“The agreement we concluded is painful but under the circumstances the best we could have achieved”, he said.

President Anastasiades pointed out that the danger of a country default has been overcome once and for all, together with all the consequences to Cyprus’ society and economy.

Referring to the banking system, he said it would stabilize. The bankruptcy of Cyprus Popular Bank was avoided, whilst a full recapitalization of the Bank of Cyprus was ensured.

He pointed out that that by merging CPB’s healthy part with BoC a strong bank is being formed “able to service the needs of its depositors and of the national economy”.
“I don’t even want to consider what our day would be like tomorrow without an agreement”, he said.

The Cyprus President continued to say that “tomorrow a new era begins for Cyprus”. In the coming days, he noted, difficult decisions will begin to be implemented, adding that “in the situation we found ourselves in there were no easy solutions”.

“I was obligated to take difficult, painful but also bold decisions in order to ensure a manageable tomorrow”, he stressed.

President Anastasiades explained that the Cyprus Central Bank will impose as of Tuesday certain limitations on financial transactions, assuring that it will be a temporary measure which will gradually ease up.

He further pledged that the government “will do its utmost to return to full normalization soon”.

He called on everyone “to work together with a level head, patience and determination in order to restart our economy as soon as possible”.

President Anastasiades also referred  to all the people who will be affected by the Eurogroup agreement, calling on everyone, state and society to stand by them.

He pledged that the government would do its utmost so that it will stand by those affected by painful consequences with specific measures.

“As a first measure all provident funds in the affected banks are ensured immediately”, he stressed.

The Cyprus President also took a pro- European approach giving an answer to opinions voiced in recent days for a Cyprus exit from the euro zone.

Despite the bitterness and disappointment felt by all of us by the stance of certain of our partners against Cyprus, he noted, “I don’t consider that detaching ourselves from the European family would be an answer to the crisis”.

President Anastasiades also pledged that the Cabinet will in the next few days appoint criminal investigators to look into responsibilities over the banking system near collapse.

Finally, he expressed his conviction that the Cyprus people, who are known for their tenacity, patriotism, work ethic and responsibility, will overcome the negative conditions.

“Let us turn the crisis into an opportunity, for a new beginning, with a view of building the future on more solid and healthy foundations”, he said.

The Eurogroup has reached an agreement with the Cypriot authorities “on the key elements necessary for a future macroeconomic adjustment programme”, according to a press release issued by Eurogroup.

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