The relaunch of the negotiations for a Cyprus settlement remains the government’s first priority, President of the Republic Nicos Anastasiades has pledged.

Addressing the Cyprus Federation of America’s 2013 Testimonial Dinner, that took place in New York Wednesday evening for the benefit of the needy children of Cyprus, President Anastasiades also said that Cyprus is working tirelessly towards the restructuring of the economy.

“The re-launching of the negotiations under the aegis of the United Nations Secretary-General in the framework of his Good Offices Mission, aiming at a fair, viable and mutually acceptable settlement to the Cyprus question based on the relevant Security Council Resolutions and the principles upon which the EU operates, remains our first priority”, said the President.

He noted that the settlement must serve, above all, the legitimate interests and be for the benefit of the people of Cyprus as a whole and not for any third country.

Anastasiades underlined that the negotiations “must be properly and thoroughly prepared in order to ensure that the aforementioned objectives are jointly and unequivocally shared and that the negotiations will bear fruit”.

“We cannot afford another failure,” he stressed.

He expressed “firm conviction that the substantive involvement of the European Union in this procedure is desirable”.

President Anastasiades said that in spite of the economic hardships, “Cyprus as a whole is working tirelessly towards the much-needed restructuring of its economy. Unfortunately, the painful consequences impact the most vulnerable”.

The Government, he added, has implemented a series of measures to overcome the challenges, but targeted and well-organised philanthropy, such as last night’s event, is also crucial.

President Anastasiades praised the three philanthropists who were honoured for their dedication to Hellenism, Orthodoxy and humanity, Michael and Mary Jaharis, as well as George A. David.

He also commended the Cyprus Federation of America, which has been a pioneer in establishing close ties between the people of Cyprus and the United States.  With over 25 active chapters across the US, it has worked tirelessly in support of collective efforts for the reunification of Cyprus and the restoration of the human rights of its people.

UN-led talks are widely expected to resume later this year. Repeated rounds of talks between the Greek Cypriot and the Turkish Cypriot communities have yet to lead to a comprehensive settlement. The most recent round of talks was interrupted by the Turkish Cypriot side in July 2012, which objected to Cyprus’ presidency of the European Council.

Excluded from international capital markets since April 2011, Cyprus applied for financial assistance from the EU bailout mechanism, as its two largest banks, Bank of Cyprus (BoCY) and Cyprus Popular Bank (CPB) requested state support following mass losses as a result of the Greek sovereign debt haircut.

In late March, 2013 the authorities and the Troika (European Commission, European Central Bank and the IMF) agreed on a €10 billion financial assistance package (of which 1 billion from the IMF), which featured a haircut on uninsured deposits (above 100,000 euro) to recapitalize BoCY, whereas CPB was wound down.

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