Following are excerpts from the transcript of a CNBC interview in Davos by Steve Sedgwick with Nicos Anastasiades, President of Cyprus.
SS: This is massive news, if it happens, so let's ask Nicos Anastasiades, who is the President of Cyprus, just how close we are sir, to this accord. I mean, it's not something that seems to have been on the agenda for a long time. What's changed?
NA: The most important is that for the time being we are doing progress, and this is the most important. How it happens. The time this is running is changing the elements of the solution, so everyone is realising that the soonest we can reach a settlement, it's going to be much more fair for everyone. At the same time, the new leaders, I mean, I myself, as President of the Republic, but as well, as leader of the Greek Cypriot community, and Mustafa Akıncı, the Turkish Cypriot leader, we are pro-solution politicians, and we were together since ages, and we were working through that. Now when we are leading our communities, we thought that it is high time to engage in an intensive dialogue in order to see how we can reach this-,
SS: And this is something, sir, that needs Greece and Turkey to be fully signed up on, as well, or is it purely a Cypriot issue?
NA: It's a Cypriot issue, but not just simply a Cypriot issue, because you have to bear in mind that in Cyprus there are still 40,000 Turkish troops. So Turkey could play a great role towards this end. There is, for the time being, an expression of good will rhetoric which is in favour of finding a solution, but what we need on the crucial issues is the practical means, and the real acts on the ground to see how we can face the problems with the presence of troops, security guarantees and all these kinds of things.
GC: Just briefly on the economy, I mean, it does look as though the country is going to complete its bailout process, and it will get the latest tranche by March. How does it feel in the country right now? Are you through the worst? Are things starting to get better? Can you just give us a sense of how your countrymen feel about life economically?
NA: As you have already mentioned, we've come through the worst, but of course we have to be quite careful. We could not abandon the policies of discipline and of reforms, therefore we are warning the people that yes, we have done a lot, we are getting out of the programme, but we have to stick on policies.
SS: And how so, sir? Because the economy was seen as a glorified offshore centre for Russian money and other offshore money at one stage, and it was an outsized banking economy. Now that's been stripped back quite significantly, what are the growth areas? Is it going to be oil, which has been talked about for a long time?
NA: It's one of the possibilities, but until the moment we can explore and exploit it, all the dynamics we are having in our exclusive economic zone, I have to underline that we continue to have the trust of those companies based in Cyprus, I mean, having their head offices in Cyprus, is the shipping sector, is the tourist sector, which is increasing, therefore there are so many other sectors we have, and of course we have industry, but at the same time we are getting the advantage of the geographical position, of our tax regime, of our legal system, of our expertise, of our climate, of our geographical position. There are so many reasons to invest in Cyprus.
SS: Sir, we're very glad that things are on the up, and it's very nice of you to find the time to come and talk to us here on CNBC.
NA: Thank you very much.
SS: That's President Nicos Anastasiades, who is the President of Cyprus, and very interesting looking at those latest political developments and what that could do for the country as a whole.