NICOSIA - The Commerce Minister said on Friday that there cannot be any doubt over the sustainability of Cyprus' public debt because of the prospects of natural gas exploitation.
Neoclis Sylikiotis was responding to comments made by Jeroen Dijsselbloem, the Dutch Minister of Finance and Eurogroup President, that future revenue from natural gas deposits in Cyprus could be taken into account in a possible financial aid to the island.
"At last our lenders must realize that this economy has prospects and there cannot be any doubt as to whether the debt will be sustainable from the minute these prospects exist as a result of the utilization of our natural wealth," said Sylikiotis.
Nicosia has reached agreement on a Memorandum of Understanding with the Troika - the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the IMF - providing that natural gas revenue will be allocated to infrastructure, to the state budget and the Cypriot debt.
Moreover, a hydrocarbons state fund will be set up, but Sylikiotis dismissed the possibility this will be jointly managed with the Troika.
Excluded from the international capital markets, Cyprus requested financial assistance from the European Stability Mechanism after its two large banks sought state aid after registering massive losses following the Greek sovereign debt haircut.