Greek Deputy Foreign Minister Spyros Kouvelis has described as especially positive the prospects of investment and business ventures between Cyprus and Greece, despite the slight decline due to the lagging economy.

Addressing Monday a business forum in Cyprus entitled "Cyprus: A bridge between the EU and Arab countries", Kouvelis said that Greece, just as Cyprus, can enable one to become active in the Balkans, the Black Sea and Western Europe.

He said since its accession to the EU and the Eurozone, Cyprus has a strategic position and its role, as a developed Mediterranean economy, is strengthened as it becomes a business bridge between the EU, Asia and Africa.

Kouvelis said that it is clear in this course, the solution to the Cyprus issue could play a key role and this is an added reason why Greece actively supports the efforts of the government of Cyprus.

"The aim is for Cyprus to become an island of stability, peace and progress, for all communities", he added.

Referring to the economic and business relations of the two countries, Kouvelis said that they are on a upward course and this is reflected in bilateral commerce, as well as investments and tourism.

He noted that there are excellent prospects for cooperation with Cyprus in the energy field, adding that the search for new international cooperation in the sector is of strategic significance for Greece while cooperation with Cyprus will lay the foundations for the creation of a united framework for additional policies and actions in the energy field.

Kouvelis said that bilateral commercial exchanges surpass one billion euro. The Cypriot market ranks third in importance for Greek products (after Germany and Italy) while Greek exports to Cyprus constitute a quarter of the total Cypriot imports while as far as Cypriot exports to Greece are concerned, in 2009, Greece was first amongst customers, absorbing 18% of Cypriot exports.

Greek direct investments to Cyprus rose to 710.2 million euros in 2009, Kouvelis said, adding that the largest concentration of Greek investments can be witnessed in the financial sector, granting consultation services, commerce and construction.

"It is clear that prospect for investments and business cooperation between Greece and Cyprus are especially positive, despite the slight decrease that was evident in 2009 and we have every reason to believe there is a dynamic to further develop them", he concluded.