NEWS

Anastasiades insists Cyprus will not leave euro

Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades insisted on Friday that Cyprus had «contained» the risk of default raised by an unprecedented banking crisis and expressed his conviction that the troubled Mediterranean country would not leave the eurozone.

“We have no intention of leaving the euro,” Anastasiades told a conference of civil servants in Nicosia. “In no way will we experiment with the future of our country,» he said while accusing other members of the eurozone of making «unprecedented demands that forced Cyprus to become an experiment.”

The president said that Cyprus had «averted the risk of bankruptcy.» «The situation, despite the tragedy of it all, is contained,» he said.

Anastasiades sought to reassure Cypriots and wealthy foreign savers that capital controls imposed this week would gradually be lifted though he did not determine when.

He slammed Cypriot and European banking authorities for pumping money into the cash-strapped Cyprus Popular Bank (Laiki) that now faces closure in accordance with a 10-billion-euro billion bailout plan agreed with foreign creditors. «How serious were those authorities that permitted the financing of a bankrupt bank to the highest possible amount?» he remarked.

Anastasiades’ comments came a day after Cyprus reopened banks with strict capital controls and in the wake of a downgrade by the Fitch ratings agency of Bank of Cyprus and Laiki mortgage covered bonds to B from B+.