The government of Cyprus is making every effort to restart the economy, reform and modernize the state, President of the Republic Nicos Anatasiades stressed Friday.

Speaking at the opening of the 38th Cyprus International State Fair, the President said that the government’s priority is to attract foreign investments and to this end he announced a series of visits to countries of strategic importance such as Kuwait, Qatar, China, Russia, the UK, Israel and countries of the Arab Golf.

“Attracting foreign investments constitutes a high priority of the government, given the challenges in our banking sector. Foreign investments are the catalyst for our economic development, the business environment, employment and as a result, the prosperity of the country”, he pointed out.

President Anastasiades also referred to the Cyprus problem, saying that the government works to achieve a solution that would end Turkey’s occupation, reunify the island and create conditions of prosperity, peace and stability for all Cypriots.

“We are determined to turn the economic crisis into an opportunity. Political developments in and outside Cyprus, economic developments as well as developments in the energy sector, have upgraded the international interest in Cyprus and the region. They thus created conditions we should exploit”, he underlined.

Furthermore, he said that Cyprus is seen by the international community as a factor of stability and security in the region, which could play an important role in restoring peace in the region of the Eastern Meditteranean.

He referred to developments in the energy sector with the discovery of hydrocarbon reserves in Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone.

“Developments in the energy field could help better address the economic problems we are faced with. The existence of commercially exploitable hydrocarbon reserves in our EEZ as well as our energy plans to become a transit hub for energy products, would transform Cyprus into a regional energy hub”, he underscored.

Referring to the March Eurogroup’s decision on Cyprus, he said that at the time, Cyprus’ economy “was on the verge of bankruptcy and its banking system was in a state of collapse”.

But he noted that “after seven months of hard work, of measures and strict compliance with our obligations to our creditors, the risk of a complete bankruptcy is gone, our economy is on the path of recovery and the banking system on the path of stabilization”.

Nevertheless, he warned that there is still a long way ahead to achieve the necessary results.

“But I am sure that with determination and hard work we will succeed in achieving our goals”, he stressed.

President Anastasiades expressed the firm belief that “Cyprus is and will remain an excellent investment destination, due to its favorable taxation system, its high level of services and its well educated workforce.

Moreover, he placed emphasis on Cyprus’ geostrategic importance as a factor of stability and security in the Eastern Mediterranean, saying that this is acknowledged by a series of key players in the international arena.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. Previous UN led efforts to reunite the country have failed. A fresh round of talks is expected to resume in the autumn.

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 mammoth losses as a result of the Greek sovereign debt haircut.

In late March, the authorities and the Troika (EC, ECB, IMF) agreed on a €10 billion financial assistance package which featured an unprecedented haircut on uninsured deposits to recapitalize BoCY, whereas CPB was wound down.

Preliminary results of a Noble Energy appraisal well for natural gas in Block 12 of Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone estimate the hydrocarbon reserve between 3.6tcf and 6tcf with a gross mean resource of 5tcf.

Noble Energy operates Block 12 with a 70 percent working interest. Delek Drilling Limited Partnership and Avner Oil Exploration Limited Partnership each own 15 percent. On June 26, Cyprus government, Delek and Avner signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with regard to the construction of a Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) terminal in the Cyprus.

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