Thessaloniki - President Demetris Christofias said that the conditions Troika have set for giving financial aid to Cyprus are very difficult to accept. Speaking at an event in Thessaloniki on Saturday, the President was responding to questions about what was required in order to receive the financial support that was applied for in the summer. Christofias said that the Troika delegation wanted some political conditions met and that these would also be discussed. However, he clarified, that the island's long-standing Cyprus Issue was not on the agenda when a Eurozone committee were scheduled to meet tomorrow (Monday).
Christofias reitirated his belief that both Greece and Cyprus would find a way out of the financial crisis that both countries find themselves in right now. Christofias also maintained that he believed that the burden of responsibility for overcoming the financial crisis "can not and should not be borne on the shoulders of ordinary people". Adding: "We will fight to ensure that the cost to ordinary people can be as low as possible."
Christofias also stressed that there remained reasons for optimism, citing the discovery of natural gas in the Cypriot EEZ and the second round licensing, which is expected to be completed shortly, will create significant opportunities to achieve the country's goals.
A report from the Cyprus News Agency (CNA) echoed Christofias' comments, stating the the negotiations involving Finance Minister Vassos Shiarly and the Governor of the Central Bank, Panicos Demetriades and Troika officials had been difficult and intense at both political and technocratic level. During Saturday's meeting the issues discussed included the banking system and recapitalisation of banks. The Director of the Department of Social Security, Theofanis Tryphon, was also called into Saturday's meeting when discussions moved onto the issue of pensions. A reduction in the number of government employees was also discussed as well as an extension in the retirement age and limiting early retirements. No further discussions between the two sides were scheduled for today as the positions of both sides were evaluated ahead of a resumption on Monday before the Finance Minister was due to depart for Brussels where he was expected to attend Monday's Eurozone meeting.