Russia to help godless Cyprus
Posted in the Minneapolis Forum
#1 Jan 29, 2013
Russia likely to contribute to Cyprus bailout
By MENELAOS HADJICOSTIS, Associated Press
NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP)— Russia is likely to contribute money to a rescue package that Cyprus is trying to finalize with eurozone partners, the cash-strapped country's finance minister said Tuesday.
Vassos Shiarly said leaders from the other 16 EU countries that use the euro are in "high level" talks with Moscow about a contribution to the bailout and that a deal was "probable."
"I think it's only a question of time," he told The Associated Press in an interview.
The Kremlin confirmed that the two countries' presidents, Vladimir Putin and Dimitris Christofias, spoke by phone about the issue on Tuesday, but gave no details.
Cyprus has enough money to survive through April but hopes to sign a final rescue bailout deal in March, after general elections, Shiarly said.
The key concern is size. The bailout, most of which would go to help stabilize Cypriot banks, would likely be worth as much as the tiny country's entire yearly economic output of €17.5 billion ($23.51 billion). Many experts say that is too much for the country to be able to pay back. And if Cyprus can't handle its rescue loans, that defeats the purpose of a rescue program.
Shiarly insisted Cyprus would be able to cope with the bailout — which some estimate would push public debt to 140 percent of annual gross domestic product. The government could manage, if deemed necessary, by selling state-owned companies and its controlling stake in Laiki bank, the country's second largest lender, he said.
The so-called troika of the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund are meanwhile looking for ways to reduce Cyprus' debt load. There has been speculation that the troika might try to impose losses on the Cypriot banks' investors, such as bondholders and depositors, many of which are Russian.
That is one reason why Russia, a long-time ally of Cyprus, has been involved in the bailout talks.
Cyprus already received a low interest loan of €2.5 billion ($3.36 billion) from Russia two years ago to keep it afloat and has asked to extend its repayment from 2016 to 2021. The left-wing government tried last year to clinch an additional €5 billion loan from Moscow but those talks never yielded a deal.
Shiarly said Cyprus' eurozone partners are aware that the country's connection with Russia is a "very strong one."
"We have lots of Russian businesses operating from Cyprus, lots of Russian investment has gone through Cyprus in the past, the relationship is a very close one, not to mention the same religious Orthodox (Christian faith) that we maintain," he said.
The country has also faced allegations — mostly from Germany which is resisting granting a bailout — that it's a Russian money laundering hub, something that Cypriot officials strenuously deny.
"One only has to look at the international reports from organizations whose role is to report on matters such as money laundering and you will find that we rank very favorably compared to many other European member states," said Shiarly.
#2 Jan 29, 2013
Shiarly said Cypriot authorities are briefing eurozone partner countries on the country's anti-money laundering efforts to dispel any misconceptions and to curb resistance to a bailout.
He pointed out that the many of the losses Cypriot banks took in Greece were due to a writedown on Greek sovereign debt that the eurozone had insisted on. When the other eurozone countries see that Cyprus problems' are largely due to the Greek writedown, "I think the attitude will change and we will receive the financial assistance we're seeking," said Shiarly.
"We're not asking for a gift, we're asking for a loan on the reasonable terms which have been offered to other member states," he said.
Eurozone states have already rescued the governments of Greece, Ireland, and Portugal as well as the Spanish banking sector.
Shiarly noted that Cyprus has already enacted a string of austerity measures, including deep public sector salary cuts and tax hikes as foreseen under a draft bailout agreement.
But Shiarly, whose job will be up next month when elections are held, dismissed any talk of a Greek-style 'haircut' for Cyprus under which private investors will be forced to take losses on their investments in Cypriot sovereign debt.
"It has been rejected by us, it has been rejected by the Commission, it has been rejected by the IMF and therefore I think it's not an issue."
The finance minister said recapitalizing Cypriot banks directly from the EU's rescue fund is one option that the country can pursue. But that is unlikely to happen before April next year at the earliest, when a single banking supervisory that will oversee the process is up and running.
Shiarly backed European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi's assessment that Cyprus needs eurozone support so as not to upset the currency bloc's slow and fragile recovery.
"I have read these statements how even small Cyprus can be a systemic risk to the euro and not only myself, but I believe many other European ministers of finance share this view."
Lynn Berry in Moscow contributed to this report.
#3 Jan 29, 2013
I'm obsessed with Ruskies. I live in the Cold War era.
#4 Jan 31, 2013
seeing how you post from a country with a communist president, Dimitris Christofias, I think it is safe to call you godless swine.
Dimitris Christofias Education: Russian Academy of Sciences
At the age of 14, he joined the progressive secondary-school students organisation, PEOM, and at the age of 18, he joined EDON (AKEL's United Democratic Youth Organisation), PEO Trade Unions, and AKEL. In 1969, at the 5th Congress of EDON, he was elected member of the Central Council.
Christofias studied at the Institute of Social Sciences at the Academy of Social Sciences in Moscow in the former USSR, from which he received a doctorate in history; he speaks Russian and ENGLISH. In Moscow he met his wife, Elsie Chiratou, and later returned to Cyprus and political life. Dimitris Christofias married Elsie (Chiratou) Christofias in 1972 and they have three children—two daughters, Marianna and Christina, and a son, Christos.
Cyprus's first, and the European Union's first and so far only, communist head of state.
Saint Paul, MN
#5 Feb 1, 2013
Cyprus is a Presidential republic. The head of state and of the government is elected by a process of Universal suffrage for a five-year term. Executive power is exercised by the government with legislative power vested in the House of Representatives whilst the Judiciary is independent of both the executive and the legislature. The 1960 Constitution provided for a presidential system of government with independent executive, legislative and judicial branches as well as a complex system of checks and balances including a weighted power-sharing ratio designed to protect the interests of the Turkish Cypriots. The executive was led by a Greek Cypriot president and a Turkish Cypriot vice president elected by their respective communities for five-year terms and each possessing a right of veto over certain types of legislation and executive decisions. Legislative power rested on the House of Representatives who were also elected on the basis of separate voters' rolls.
#6 Feb 1, 2013
Dimitris Christofias only OFFICIAL communist head of state in EU. greeks communist ethnicity. slew is a armenian greek commie mix
#7 Feb 1, 2013
I love the taste of Russian brown ring. When my Russian boyfriend has Gastroenteritis I'm in Heaven. Black Russians are on the house.
Saint Paul, MN
#8 Feb 2, 2013
78% of the population of Cyprus is Christian.
Apparently "Godless" means not a wingnut zealot from Iowa. Pretty small box you're building there.
#9 Feb 2, 2013
This confirms slew is racist towards people that aren't christian (ex. catholics), man how intolerant.
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