Category: World / March 29, 2013 6:59 PM EDT
Cyprus has "contained" the risk of bankruptcy in the wake of a tough rescue package with the European Union and has no intention of leaving Europe's single currency, the island's president said on Friday (March 29).
Conservative leader Nicos Anastasiades spoke a day after banks reopened their doors following an almost two-week shutdown to prevent a run on deposits by panicked Cypriots and wealthy foreign depositors as the east Mediterranean island flirted with bankruptcy.
"Let me emphasise this - we have no intention of leaving the euro," Anastasiades told a conference of civil servants in the capital, Nicosia.
Anastasiades, barely a month in the post and wrestling with Cyprus's worst crisis since a 1974 war split the island in two, criticised Cyprus's partners in the 17-nation currency bloc, accusing them of making "unprecedented demands that forced Cyprus to become an experiment".
For the first time in Europe's handling of its debt crisis, bank depositors have been forced to bear some of the cost of a rescue plan intended to keep the country solvent and in the euro zone.
"The situation, in my opinion, despite the tragedy of it all, is contained," said Anastasiades.
The president said the government would implement the necessary reforms, so as to encourage investment and to restore the economy.
"We are determined as a government to proceed with specific measures so to give the incentive inside of investments both domestic and foreign, to find our feet again," he said, insisting the country had averted bancruptcy. "With this agreement we secured the safety of our country, I believe this, and we have distanced the danger of the collapse of the economy," he added.
Anastasiades clinched the last-ditch bailout in Brussels five days ago, but has faced a backlash from Cypriots angry at the price that came with it - the winding down of the island's second-largest bank, Cyprus Popular Bank, or Laiki, and a raid on deposits over 100,000 euros that could spell the end of Cyprus as a hub for offshore finance.
The country faces steep job losses and a prolonged and deep recession.
(Video Source: REUTERS)