|Former Cyprus President Christofias (3rd L) welcomes newly-elected Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiade (4th L) at the presidential palace in Nicosia, capital of Cyprus, Feb. 28, 2013. Newly-elected Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades was sworn in on Thursday for a five-year term and immediately issued a warning to prospective international lenders that forcing depositors in Cypriot banks to take losses was out of the question. (Xinhua)
NICOSIA, Feb. 28 (Xinhua) -- Newly-elected Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades was sworn in on Thursday for a five-year term and immediately issued a warning to prospective international lenders that forcing depositors in Cypriot banks to take losses was out of the question.
Anastasiades was given a strong presidential mandate in a runoff vote on Sunday on a vow to quickly continue stalled discussions with the European Union and the International Monetary Fund on a bailout deal.
After giving a solemn declaration to keep the constitution and the territorial integrity and independence of the country, Anastasiades told a special session of parliament that his top priority was to handle an unprecedented economic crisis which forced the outgoing government to seek a bailout.
He said this would be made possible by consistently implementing provisions of a bailout memorandum, which has still to be finalized.
Cyprus may need up to 17 billion euros (22 billion U.S. dollars) in aid from eurozone partners and the IMF to recapitalize its banks following huge losses because of their exposure to the Greek debt. It is also running out of money to fund government operations over the next three years.
Anastasiades said an effort will be made to improve some of the terms included in the bailout deal affecting vulnerable sections of the population.
"We are seeking the solidarity of our European partners, and within that framework we will negotiate for the conclusion of a loan agreement the soonest possible," Anastasiades said.
"We do not consider any talk on writing-down bank deposits of the sovereign debt as an expression of solidarity and this will not be accepted. This issue is not offered even for discussion," he added.
Politicians, mainly in Germany and Finland, have been insisting on a haircut of deposits in Cypriot banks. However, several European Central Bank officials have come out against depositors taking a loss on the grounds that this had not been imposed on any country that received bailouts, which could trigger a run on the banks.
A Eurogroup meeting in Brussels on Monday is expected to discuss the Cyprus bailout but no final decision is expected until it known how much money is needed to recapitalize Cypriot banks.
A final decision on Cyprus will most probably be put off until the end of March.
In his swearing-in statement, Anastasiades also hinted at a change in foreign policy orientation, saying he will pursue an application for Cyprus to join the Partnership for Peace organization and built relations with NATO.
He said his foreign policy would be built on his proposition to deepen relations with the European Union, further develop relations with neighboring countries, most notably Israel and traditionally friendly Arab countries, apart from upgrading relations with the United States, Russia and China.
Anastasiades will officially take up his post on Friday.