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Larnaca port delay talks on Monday

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President Nikos Christodoulides will chair a meeting with all stakeholders on Monday in an effort to break the deadlock and push ahead with the stalled €1.2 bln Larnaca port and marina project.

Spokesman Constantinos Letymbiotis confirmed the meeting will take place at the Presidential Palace with the participation of concession operators and developers Kition Ocean Holdings and Aroundtown, as well as the mayor of Larnaca, the president of the chamber of commerce, the Deputy Attorney-General and the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Transport.

The bone of contention seems to be the renewal of a €10 mln guarantee by Kition, with the CEO, Oliver Corlette, quoted by news site Stockwatch as saying that the company has no intention to renew the guarantee, as it needs to amend the concession agreement if the port project is to remain viable.

Meanwhile, Transport Minister Alexis Vafeades said that the government has called on Kition to renew the guarantee, which if not materialised will mean the violation of ‘essential terms’ of the concession agreement.

It could also mean that Kition would have to pay several hundred thousand euros in damages to the state that has been deprived of revenues from the operation of the port and marina.

The town’s mayor Andreas Vyras said that an ad hoc committee has been set up in an effort to help break the deadlock and see the project get underway.

However, Cyprus Chamber of Commerce president Stavros Stavrou was more critical, saying that, “if the company is having second thoughts, it should come out and say it outright. All of Larnaca believed and put its trust in this company, but if it differentiating its position, it should announce that clearly, mor else it should proceed with implementation of the project.”

Another issue seems to be the historical pier, dating back to 1878 when Larnaca was the island’s main port and the town was the diplomatic capital.

The wooden structure has a preservation order as it is an important part of the town’s heritage, with Kition Ocean Holdings said restoration efforts are fully harmonised with the town planning permit, as well as construction license issued by the municipality.

“The restoration is the first important step in the wider development plan of the port and marina, as well as the Larnaca coastline,” said the company.