IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde, said Thursday she listened to the concerns of the government of Cyprus, during her first visit to the island.
Lagarde, who arrived Thursday evening to attend the Informal Ecofin and Eurogroup, went straight into a meeting with President of the Republic Demetris Christofias who said the meeting “was not intended to take decisions”.
The government of the Republic of Cyprus informed on the 25th of June 2012 the appropriate European Authorities of its decision to submit to euro area Member States a request of financial assistance from the EFSF/ESM.
Lagarde said they had “a very good discussion with the President, the Minister of Finance and the Governor of the Central bank”.
“This gave me a good opportunity to hear their concerns. We had a further discussion about the current economical circumstances, the latest developments that happened in the European scene, including lately in Frankfurt and in Karlsruhe,” the IMF Managing Director said.
Lagarde noted they “had also a good and productive engagement about the ongoing discussions concerning Cyprus”.
In his remarks, President Christofias said “I understand Ms. Lagarde told you (the reporters) that it was a very friendly meeting and we explained our positions and strategy. She listened to us very closely and I believe she exhibited great understanding. The rest will follow”, he added.
To a remark that Lagarde said she listened to the concerns of the government, President Christofias replied “of course, aren’t you concerned?”
Asked when Cyprus will sign the memorandum, Christofias replied “when we are ready”, only to repeat his answer when asked when that would be.
A Troika mission was in Cyprus early July on a fact-finding mission for a close scrutiny of the banking sector, which has been severely hit by Greek sovereign debt haircut and over-exposure to the Greek economy, as well as the refinancing requirements of the Government. It returned to Cyprus in late July for another week, to negotiate with the Government the bailout terms and conditions. Consultations between the Government and the Troika continue with a view to conclude to a memorandum the soonest possible.
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