A massive gap in mutual understanding between the state and the managing consortium seems to be at the core of the stalled multibillion Larnaca port and marina project, with the company issuing a scathing statement against the ministry of transport on Wednesday.

Kition Ocean Holdings is fully prepared “as soon as it gains clarity” to proceed with the Larnaca port and marina project, the company announced, in the wake of the transport minister threatening legal action over ongoing delays.

In a statement the company lambasted the minister of transport’s communication methods and questioned the sincerity of the state’s intentions to see the project to fruition in appropriate ways.

The company is ready to carry out “the transformational project […] having secured the necessary capital, assembled a competent team, and established the required processes,” Kition’s announcement said.

However, according to the company, there has been an unexpected lack of clarity and mutual agreement on how to proceed.

“Kition is ready to provide the operations and maintenance (O&M) guarantee as previously planned. However, we are currently facing challenges as the ministry has not yet agreed to meet with us to discuss the guarantee amount,” the statement continued.

In a completely different take on the matter, Transport Minister Alexis Vafeades on Tuesday had stated categorically that the government would resort to the Legal Service if the project’s managing consortium failed to make the agreed upon financial guarantee payment by end of day.

Following intervention onto the spat by President Nikos Christodoulides last week, Kition Ocean Holdings had agreed to renew their financial guarantee, according to reports.

Although the amount of the financial guarantee, under the contract, amounted to €10 million, it was agreed to reduce the amount to €4.2 million, a move which received strong criticism from some quarters, where the President’s intervention was viewed as pointless.

Meanwhile on Tuesday, Vafeades told media that if by the end of the day the guarantee was not submitted, “we will contact Kition Ocean Holdings to see what their intentions are and to verify whether they encountered any problems.”

However, according to the statement released by Kition Ocean Holdings on Wednesday, during the meeting chaired by Christodoulides, “Kition concurred with the government’s request but emphasised that subsequent discussions […] should adhere to the set dispute resolution timeline outlined in [the] Concession Agreement.”

According to the company’s claim, the ministry refused to honour what had been agreed at the critical meeting.

“We left the meeting confident that we reached a mutual understanding, yet when we sought confirmation of what had been agreed, the [ministry of transport] did not affirm the discussion’s content and refused to follow the process stated in the agreement and its timeframe,” the company stated.

The company is now attempting to seek “a different understanding” according to its statement, saying that despite surprise and sadness it had not given up hopes of entering “ good faith discussion under a different fixed timeline”.

“We didn’t give up, and we have been communicating over the last week on a different understanding according to which we can place the guarantee,” it said.

The company moreover castigated Vafeades likening his statements to the media to unilateral negotiations.

“We were surprised that the minister is holding the ‘negotiations’ through the media without us. It is extremely unfortunate that each time we learn the ministry’s position [for the first time] by reading about it in the press,” the company said, calling Vafeades’ end-of-day deadline on Tuesday “arbitrary” and taking issue with the minister having warned of legal action.

“It seems to us that there is more regard about appearances than about ensuring the future of the project,” the company charged.

Kition is only asking what the agreement itself provides and in accordance with the law, according to its statement.

“We are still hoping that through dialogue […] matters will be resolved, and […] the project can move forward,” however failing this, the issue will need to be resolved by the Cyprus courts, it concluded.