World Bulletin/News Desk
Cyprus may have to consider an exit from the euro zone if international lenders impose excessively painful austerity measures as a condition for a bailout, the head of its ruling party said on Friday.
Meanwhile, Cyprus ruled out any question of it abandoning the euro zone, hours after the principal backer of its government said the option should be considered if bailout conditions were too tough.
"For the government and the President of the Republic there is absolutely no issue of exiting either the euro zone or the European Union," government spokesman Stefanos Stefanou said in a statement.
Andros Kyprianou, whose AKEL party is the primary backer of the left-wing government led by President Demetris Christofias, told Cypriot online news site 24h.com.cy such a strategy could be considered if austerity becomes unbearable.
"If the troika insists on very painful measures to remain in the euro zone, should we dig our heels in and say we won't leave the euro zone because this is important, and (that) we will remain, however painful the measures may be?" Kyprianou said in a video interview posted on the website.
His party is now trailing in opinion polls behind the right-wing Democratic Rally party.
In a second video clip, asked if his comments clearly implied Cyprus should consider leaving the euro zone, Kyprianou replied: "I am certainly leaving this open. I am not pre-judging what we will do, but what I am saying is these issues must be discussed very seriously if we want to serve the interests of the Cypriot people."
Cyprus became the fifth country in the 17 nation euro zone to seek some form of international aid in June, when its banks needed state help to cover massive losses on their exposures in debt-crippled Greece.
It adopted the euro in 2008, four years after joining the European Union. The island now holds the rotating six-month EU presidency.
Leaked documents show the troika - lenders from the IMF, the European Central Bank and the European Commission - have demanded pay cuts in the public sector, privatisations and pension reforms, though negotiations with Cyprus are inconclusive as Nicosia prepares counter-proposals.
But the troika's suggestions will not go down well with a highly-unionised public sector, particularly ahead of a general election scheduled for February 2013.
Christofias, who once led AKEL, has said he does not intend to seek re-election and the party is backing an independent candidate in the race.
Kyprianou, whose party had tried to shake off perceptions in the past that it was euro sceptic, acknowledged that AKEL had "reservations" about the island joining the bloc.
They were overcome, he said, on the premise that membership would be a catalyst for solving the island's long-running ethnic division, and that it would safeguard interests of "workers."
A solution to Cyprus's division has not transpired yet, he said, and said there were also "negative developments" as far as workers' rights were concerned.
Country of origin labels are currently voluntary in the European Union and many of the bloc's governments want to keep it that way
While reverse flows would help cushion the effects of a Russian export cut during mild-demand summer months, analysts say they would not be sufficient in winter.
The tanker, Aegean Dignity, is due to take its load to Italy, the NOC quoted an oil official as saying in a statement on its website
TAP aims at enhancing the security of natural gas supply as well as diversification of gas supplies for the European markets.
Charlie Shrem, 24, was arrested in January and stepped down as vice president of the Bitcoin Foundation, a well-known trade group, soon after.
The religious endowments minister has ordered mosques not to run air conditioners before May 15 and after that date to use air conditioning only during prayer time
Most foreign workers in the construction and oil industries come from India, Bangladesh and Pakistan, while many domestic workers are from Indonesia and the Philippines
Lukoil has been decreasing its stake in Caspian Investment Resources Ltd, to share the costs at the projects, which require extensive financing.
Israel, which occupied the West Bank in a 1967 war, controls the airwaves of the territory, and Palestinian firms' lack of 3G is a constraint on its technology sector while Israel's soars
The hryvnia has lost about 38 percent of its value against the dollar since the beginning of the year due to the conflict with Russia.
The Austrian justice ministry said "numerous" persons were being investigated over money-laundering and other crimes, including former Prime Minister Mykola Azarov and his son Oleksii.
Ali Majedi, Iran's deputy oil minister for international affairs and trade, said Moscow and Tehran would struggle to agree such a deal.
Trade, Industry and Investment Minister Mounir Fakhry Abdel Nour cast the restrictions on air conditioners as a part of the government plan to cut energy use
As tensions increase between Russia and Ukraine, crude oil prices rise to a two-week high of $108.35 per barrel on Monday.
If all goes well, the latest developments could see first pipelines being laid between Israel and Turkey as soon as 2015