Exclusive Exclusive: Cypriot President Believes Unified Cyprus Possible This Year

The president of Cyprus, Nicos Anastasiades, in a Handelsblatt interview said he believes an end to the division of the Mediterranean island is possible before the end of the year. “If both sides can show understanding for the other community’s concerns and if Turkey contributes to a fair solution, we could be successful this year,” he said. A reunited Cyprus, located off the coasts of Syria and Turkey, would benefit the European Union in its efforts to counter international terrorism. Cyprus could be a “base for the fight against terrorism” and help secure Europe’s energy supply with its vast natural gas resources, he said. Mr. Anastasiades also called on the European Union to support Greece, one of the major transit countries for the scores of refugees fleeing the civil war in Syria. Recent decisions by some Eastern European states to close their borders to refugees have only increased the burden to be shouldered by Greece, he added. The refugee crisis poses a threat to Europe’s Schengen area of open borders and the sustainability of European social security systems, the Cypriot president said. Mr. Anastasiades said his own country has emerged stronger from a major financial crisis that forced the island to be bailed out by the European Union in 2013. The European Union’s three-year adjustment program for Cyprus will end this month. The financial crisis and E.U. aid program have forced the country to implement overdue reforms and increase fiscal discipline, Mr. Anastasiades said.   Read the full story in Thursday’s Handelsblatt Global Edition at 12:00 Central European Time. Photo Source: AP