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Financiers in Cyprus, an island divided by war four decades ago, want to set up an Islamic finance hub to spur an economy that hasn't grown in three years. The Cyprus Investment Funds Association is calling for the government to sell sukuk to lure investment from the Middle East, President Angelos Gregoriades said in an email interview Tuesday from the capital Nicosia. The Cyprus Stock Exchange wants to encourage the listing of Shariah-compliant bonds and sees potential for the nation of 1.2 million to become a "gateway to the European Union" for Islamic investors, Chief Executive Officer Nondas Metaxas said in a Sept. 18 interview. Since 1974, when Turkey invaded Cyprus in response to a coup to unite the island with Greece, it has been divided into the internationally recognized Republic of Cyprus in the south, and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.Cyprus sold 750 million euros of five-year sovereign bonds at a yield of 4.85 percent in June, the first sale of that magnitude since 2010 .The GDP of a reunified Cyprus could increase by 80 percent to 45 billion euros by 2035, compared with 25 billion euros without reunification, according to a May 29 report by Peace Research Institute Oslo.
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