NICOSIA, - Cyprus's president-elect Nicos Anastasiades on Monday appointed economist Michael Sarris as finance minister, tasked with negotiating a bailout with international lenders for the cash-starved island threatened with insolvency.
MEP Ioannis Kasoulides was named foreign minister, returning to a post he held 10 years ago.Nobel Economics Prize winner Christopher Pissarides will chair a national financial advisory commiittee.
It will also be the second time Sarris serves as finance minister in the past decade. He had served under a previous Cypriot administration which successfully ushered Cyprus into the euro zone in 2008.
Sarris, 67, is a respected economist with good contacts in Europe and the U.S., where he was based for years as a senior economist for the World Bank.
He had refused a ministerial appointment by the outgoing communist government in mid-2011, saying he needed a clear mandate to deal with the island's then looming economic crisis.
Bailout discussions between Cyprus and prospective lenders from the European Union and the International Monetary Fund have been held up for months because of concerns about the sustainability of aid expected to be almost equivalent to the size of the Mediterranean nation's 17.9-billion-euro economy.
Kasoulides told Sigma TV that the government of the president elect faced a massive task, but would not allow Cyprus to default.