NICOSIA Cyprus's president-elect Nicos Anastasiades on Monday appointed economist Michael Sarris as finance minister, tasked with negotiating a bailout with international lenders for the cash-starved island threatened with insolvency.
It will be the second time Sarris serves as finance minister in the past decade. He had served under a previous Cypriot administration which successfully ushered Cyprus into the euro zone in 2008.
Sarris, 67, is a respected economist with good contacts in Europe and the U.S., where he was based for years as a senior economist for the World Bank.
He had refused a ministerial appointment by the outgoing communist government in mid-2011, saying he needed a clear mandate to deal with the island's then looming economic crisis.
Bailout discussions between Cyprus and prospective lenders from the European Union and the International Monetary Fund have been held up for months because of concerns about the sustainability of aid expected to be almost equivalent to the size of the Mediterranean nation's 17.9-billion-euro ($23.65- billion) economy.
($1 = 0.7567 euros)
(Reporting By Michele Kambas; editing by Michael Roddy)