by Petros Petrides, Zhang Baoping
NICOSIA, April 23 (Xinhua) -- Developing the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is in the world's best interest because it promotes cooperation between states and contributes to peace, stability and economic growth, Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades said.
In an interview with Xinhua on Monday before heading for Beijing to attend the second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation (BRF), Anastasiades commended China for "organizing this excellent event which will give us the chance to reaffirm our commitment to enhancing our relations...in the best interests" of the peoples of Cyprus and China.
Anastasiades said he considers the BRI a "great opportunity for countries like Cyprus" to see how it can further enhance "our excellent relations with China" and to promote cooperation between the two.
"I am expecting further initiatives in order to build our cooperation with all countries which are participating, which will give the chance for further investments either by China or vice versa to develop a cooperation in trade and in investments," said the Cypriot leader.
The BRI, proposed by China in 2013, refers to the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, and seeks to revive ancient land and sea trade routes to connect China and participating states via win-win trade exchanges, joint investments and infrastructure projects.
Anastasiades said Cyprus has benefited greatly from the BRI, adding that Chinese investments helped its almost collapsed construction sector come out of the 2012-2013 economic crisis.
On maritime cooperation, Anastasiades said Cyprus, the third largest country in the European Union in shipping registration and the 10th worldwide, stands to benefit from it.
"We'll try our best to be part of this development, which will no doubt benefit our own maritime sector," he added.