NICOSIA (Reuters) - A group of the world’s top multilateral-lenders including the World Bank, IMF, European Investment Bank and EBRD met on Thursday to signal they would join forces in Cyprus if it overcomes the hurdles to reunification.
The lenders as well as the European Commission made the commitment at a meeting also attended by the chief negotiators from Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities.
It was the first talks between the various institutions on the issue and saw them “exchange views on preliminary plans for assisting both the private and public sectors in Cyprus,” the EBRD which chaired the meeting said.
While the possibility of pooling resources was not part of the discussion, a template already exists in the Balkans where the institutions also coordinated efforts in areas like road and other infrastructure building.
Whether or not it will materialise in Cyprus however remains uncertain.
Hopes for reunification of the island which has been divided along ethnic lines since 1974, have stuttered again this year, frustrating diplomats who consider this round of negotiations as having the best chance of success in decades.
“I recognise that the talks between the two communities are not easy and there is a great deal still to discuss,” EBRD President Suma Chakrabarti said.
“But today’s meeting is a sign that should an agreement be reached... international organisations stand ready to provide, technical, financial and political support.”
Reporting by Marc Jones, editing by Pritha Sarkar