The government is striving towards making Cyprus a world class destination for business and investment, President of the Republic of Cyprus Nicos Anastasiades has said, noting that `this is how we shall continue to create jobs, opportunities and prosperity for our people: this is precisely the ambition and commitment of my government`.
The President, who received on Monday the credentials of the Ambassador of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg to the Republic of Cyprus, Paul Steinmetz, said that `we are now focusing on attracting investors in the productive sectors of the economy and our effort has been delivering results`.
Presenting his credentials, Ambassador Steinmetz said that both countries are well aware of the importance of connectivity and both specialize in developing connectivity in financial services, adding that `we need to look into possibilities and especially develop flight connectivity between our countries so more tourists may visit`.
He congratulated the President `on steering your country through the troubled years after 2013. The economy of Cyprus is doing well and the growth forecast was recently revised upwards. The budget is balanced and unemployment is down`.
Referring to the Cyprus issue, he said that `Luxembourg greatly regrets that the question of a divided Cyprus remains unresolved despite the best efforts of all parties over many decades, including more recently in Switzerland. The search for a permanent solution must remain high on the international agenda`.
Luxembourg, he stressed, `is fully in support of the efforts of your country to reach a comprehensive settlement aiming at the reunification of the island, in accordance with the relevant UNSC resolutions`.
Replying, the Cypriot President reiterated Cyprus` deep appreciation for the strong support of the Grand Duchy of Luxemburg to the efforts to end the unacceptable status quo and reunite the country and its people, in line with the relevant UN Council Resolutions, the EU values and principles, the High-Level Agreements between the leaders of the two communities and the Joint Declaration of 11 February 2014.
He underlined once again `our unwavering determination to end the division of the island and our commitment to exert every effort to reach a comprehensive settlement`.
`We deeply regret that Turkey’s unwillingness to negotiate within the framework set by the UN Secretary-General, and in particular Turkey’s intransigent stance on the key Chapters of Security and Guarantees and its insistence on maintaining guarantees, troops and intervention rights in reunited Cyprus, did not allow for a positive outcome to be reached during the Conference on Cyprus in Crans Montana, Switzerland, this past July` he pointed out.
President Anastasiades said that `I would like to convey in the clearest terms that we are strongly committed to negotiating a solution within the parameters that the Secretary-General set, for a viable comprehensive settlement fully in line with European and international law that reunites Cyprus in a truly independent and sovereign state, free of any third country dependencies that will offer the prospect of prosperity and peaceful co-existence for all its citizens`.
Referring to bilateral relations, he said that he is confident that the two countries can continue to constructively work together so as to intensify their close cooperation even further in many fields, including new ones, from economy to innovation and entrepreneurship, and from tourism to culture and education.
Referring to the Cyprus economy, he said that `despite the economic difficulties that we have faced, our country’s comparative advantages not only remain intact, but have been further enhanced and expanded, setting them apart from most investment destinations. Cyprus continues to be a highly competitive centre for international businesses, offering a platform for operations and preferential access to markets like Europe, Middle East, North Africa and Asia`.
He also said that the government is now focusing on attracting investors in the productive sectors of the economy and our effort has been delivering results:
In addition, he said that the Foreign Direct Investment has witnessed a 9.1% rise in 2016, compared to the previous year, which was the second largest increase at EU level.
`This is my Government’s most important priority, following the restoration of the state’s and the financial system’s credibility. The majority of economic sectors in Cyprus present growth opportunities: Energy, Tourism, Shipping, Real Estate, Education, Health, Transport, Research and Innovation`, he concluded.
The new Ambassador, referring to bilateral ties, said that `as two smaller members of the European Union, our relationship is especially close. We share the experience of being surrounded by much larger neighbours, though the Eastern Mediterranean certainly faces more geopolitical challenges than the Grand Duchy`.
`We both advocate deeper EU integration, which is the only way forward in these times of shrinking distances and global challenges. At the EU level, we share many common interests and my country is interested to intensify the consultation with Cyprus on EU matters` he continued.
The Ambassador said that his country supports Cyprus for re-election at International Maritime Organization (IMO) Council, where the 30th session of the State Parties will take place at the end of November, beginning of December.
`We also support your endeavour to eventually host an EU agency` he concluded.