Christofias is also expected to appeal to his Russian counterpart to remove Cyprus from a list of 41 countries that were blacklisted in January by a raft of amendments to the tax code that tightened regulations on Russian companies repatriating their dividends tax-free.
President Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin will meet with Christofias separately on Wednesday, although a deadlock in negotiations means that any agreement coming out of the visit will most likely be of a technical nature.
The most significant of these is the memorandum of understanding between the Federal Service for Financial Markets and the Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission.
A joint programme on developing tourism — another big draw for Russians to the Mediterranean isle — will also be signed. Up to 200,000 Russians visit Cyprus yearly, according to the Russian Association of Tourist Agencies.
“Cyprus remains one of the biggest sources of foreign direct investment for Russia, therefore its role as a friendly financial centre and a member of the EU would top the agenda for a Christofias-Medvedev meeting,” said Finance Minister Charilaos Stavrakis.
Last month, the FSFM issued a directive asking investment and other financial companies, including offshore players, to release the names of shareholders with stakes of more than 5%, Kommersant daily reported.
For the first time, such a directive may meet little resistance, the report said, as the financial crisis has made companies, especially those relying on state bailout measures, more compliant.
And while the changes to the tax code do not interfere with a bilateral double-taxation treaty, experts said they did tarnish the image of a business haven that Cyprus has sought to project.
Since the early 1990s, Cyprus has drawn Russian companies and businesspeople seeking to capitalise on the double taxation treaty, which prevents earnings from being taxed in both countries and more relaxed business regulation.
During the four-day official visit, Christofias and Medvedev will sign a joint political declaration to develop further ties and cooperation.
Foreign Minister Markos Kyprianou and the Russian Minister of Health and Social Development will sign a cooperation agreement on health and medical science, and a joint action programme will be signed by the Cyprus Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism providing for cooperation in the tourism industry.
The Chairman of the Cyprus News Agency and the Director General of ITAR-TASS will sign a cooperation agreement in the field of information, whiel officials from both countries will also sign two memoranda of cooperation, one on justice affairs and one between the Cyprus Stock Exchange and the State Investment Bank of Russia OJSC VTB Bank.
Christofias, who will be accompanied by his Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Finance and Commerce, the Presidential Commissioner and other officials, will also have a meeting with the President of the Russia-Cyprus Friendship Association and former ambassador to Cyprus, Georgi Muradov, and will then meet the Chairman of the State Duma of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation, Boris Gryzlov.
Later on, he will lay a wreath at the memorial to the Unknown Soldier and then have a private meeting with President Medvedev, followed by talks between the delegations of the two countries. On conclusion of the talks, the bilateral agreements will be signed and the two Presidents will speak to the media.
President Medvedev will host a formal lunch in honour of his guest and First Lady Elsi Christofia and immediately afterwards, President Christofias is scheduled to meet Prime Minister Putin.
On Wednesday evening, the leadership of the Communist Party will host a dinner in honour of the Cyprus President and his wife.
On Thursday morning, President Christofias will receive a distinguished honoured doctorate from the University of International Relations of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation.
Later on, he is due to meet Sergey Myronov, Chairman of the Council of Federation of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation and then he will give a press conference at the ITAR-TASS offices.
In the afternoon, he will meet Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov and in the evening he will attend a concert and a reception, hosted by Cyprus’ Ambassador in Moscow, Petros Kestoras.
The Cypriot delegation returns on Friday.
November 19, 2008 – www.financialmirror.com|