Cyprus and the US reaffirm commitment to strengthen economic ties
Cyprus and the United States reaffirmed their commitment to strengthen their economic ties and to further advance shared interests in promoting peace, security, and prosperity in Cyprus and in the region.
In a written announcement by a State Department representative on the Bilateral Economic Dialogue, it is noted that following a breakfast meeting hosted by the US Chamber of Commerce with American companies interested in Cyprus and the region, officials held discussions on a range of economic topics.
These included economic and public administration reform, attracting investment, educational exchanges, energy security, and commercial diplomacy.
Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Southern Europe and Eastern Mediterranean Affairs Amanda Sloat and Under Secretary to the President Constantinos Petrides headed the US and Cypriot delegations respectively.
US participants included officials from the Department of State, the Department of Energy, the Department of Commerce, and the Department of the Treasury, among others.
Moreover, Petrides has concluded a series of bilateral meetings in Washington with officials from the National Security Council, the Economic Development Agency and other departments, while he also had talks with IMF and Word Bank officials on the financial aspects of a Cyprus solution.
"The aim of this dialogue was to strengthen the ties between the two countries" Petrides told CNA, adding that issues of substance were also discussed, including technical assistance by the US, Cyprus` participation in investment schemes, promotion of US investment in Cyprus and others.
Following the recent improvement of diplomatic relations, the goal now is to strengthen financial ties, the Under Secretary noted.
The breakfast meeting held on Wednesday was also attended by large US companies, including Honeywell, General Electric, Exxon – Mobil, Noble Energy, Fed Ex, among others.
Petrides said that participants were briefed on Cyprus` economic prospects, while some have already expressed their interest to come to the island and explore their options. The question now is whether we will proceed from words to business initiatives, he added.
The Under Secretary said that regardless of the outcome of Cyprus talks, bilateral economic ties with the US need to improve, bearing tangible results.
He also said that they discussed with US officials the reforms undertaken by Cyprus in the country`s public administration and in the area of public finances, and noted that efforts will not end with the termination of Cyprus` financial adjustment programme, due in early 2016.
Concerning his contacts with Poul Tomsen, the Director of the IMF’s European Department, as well as with Cyril Muller, the World Bank Vice President for Europe and Central Asia, Petrides said they discussed the provision of technical assistance to facilitate negotiations for a settlement in Cyprus.
The aim, according to the Under Secretary is to have a viability study on the single economy, the public finances and the banking sector, following a Cyprus solution, in order to reach a sustainable macroeconomic framework.
We must ensure the future course of the economy and that the settlement will include all parameters that will ensure viable finances, development and functionality, he said.
Concerning the creation of a fund to subsidize the cost of a solution or part of it, Petrides said that he touched upon the issue with his interlocutors. There are parallel moves by the Cyprus government and the United Nations, involving other governments in order to create this fund, the Under Secretary concluded.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. UN-led talks, aiming to reunite the island under a federal roof, resumed on May 15, this year.
Source: Cyprus News Agency