President says Cyprus has no intention of leaving eurozone

Friday 29 March 2013 16.22
Banks reopened yesterday after an almost two-week shutdown
Banks reopened yesterday after an almost two-week shutdown

Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades has said Cyprus has no intention of leaving the eurozone.

He assured Cypriots the situation was "contained" in the wake of a tough bailout deal with the European Union.

Mr Anastasiades was speaking a day after banks reopened their doors following an almost two-week shutdown to prevent a run on deposits by panicked Cypriots and wealthy foreign depositors.

"We have no intention of leaving the euro," Mr Anastasiades told a conference of civil servants in the capital Nicosia.

"In no way will we experiment with the future of our country."

Mr Anastasiades, barely a month in the post, criticised Cyprus's partners in the 17-nation currency union, accusing them of making "unprecedented demands that forced Cyprus to become an experiment".

For the first time in Europe's handling of its debt crisis, bank depositors have been forced to bear some of the cost of a rescue plan intended to keep the country solvent and in the eurozone.

"We have averted the risk of bankruptcy," Mr Anastasiades said. "The situation, despite the tragedy of it all, is contained."