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.
Stabilised political and security situation, the launch of government initiatives toward fiscal consolidation and strong support from external donors are some of the reasons given for improved economic outlook.
Norway will not supply gas to Europe in case of supplies being cut by Russia, says Norwegian Energy Minister Lien
A fall in global oil prices, down more than 20 percent from this year's June high, means that ending costly diesel subsidies will save the government money without hurting consumers.
EU officials said the gas talks would continue in Brussels next week, with Poroshenko telling reporters that the financing still needed to be resolved.
The food-producing regions of Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia in West Africa have been severely affected by the worst outbreak on record of the viral haemorrhagic fever
Fall in crude oil prices will effect Iran's oil industry more than Western sanctions
Widodo currently plans to raise the price of both gasoline and diesel by 3,000 rupiah ($0.25) per litre by November, the advisor said.
Mario Pezzini and Romano Prodi jointly emphasized that Africa should be of priority for European Union’s future development policies.
Analysts say that some form of disruption of Russian flows to the EU is likely this winter
Chrysler is recalling about 470,000 cars and SUVs globally from model years 2011 through 2014 and equipped with a 3.6 liter engine and a 160 amp alternator
Oil prices continue to slide with surging production and weakening economic news. Venezuela has called for an emergency meeting of OPEC
Only one in four Russians said the measures would be harmful to the economy. About one in four of those polled also said sanctions could pose serious problems for them or their families
Zuma said the government wanted 30 exploration wells drilled in the next 10 years.
Bosnia and Herzegovina need to handle energy reforms at state level to implement EU's Third Energy Package
The five countries' horticulture exports will again be exempted from EU customs duty once the new deal comes into force.
Renzi's government has been keen to woo cash-rich buyers from China