Cyprus continues rescue package talks with EU, Russia

Cyprus is in negotiations with the European Union for a possible rescue package, while it is also looking into the prospect of loans from an individual nation, Cypriot government spokesman Stefanos Stefanou said on Thursday, while an anonymous government official confirmed Nicosia has appealed to Moscow. “A political approach was made [to Russia], and we are expecting a response,” the Cypriot official told Reuters on condition of anonymity. Russian Deputy Finance Minister Sergei Storchak had told reporters earlier that Russia had not received any request for financial help from Cyprus, which hosts hundreds of Russian firms and banks. He later said any bid would be considered. Spokesman Stefanou stated that “we are in continuous touch and dialogue with the European partners and the EU’s institutions and work simultaneously in the direction of securing a bilateral loan from another country.”

“Cyprus’s government continues to implement its decisions related to strengthening the Cypriot economy, which stands on sound foundations, and when the time comes, final decisions will be taken, always in a dialogue, fine-tuning a cooperation with the EU,” the Mediterranean island’s government spokesman said. Lawmaker Nicholas Papadopoulos told reporters in Nicosia on Thursday after the Parliament’s finance committee hosted the chairman of Cyprus Popular Bank, Michalis Sarris, in a closed meeting, that “the bank continues to face some difficulties related to its recapitalization,” without giving further details.

The island’s government decided in May to underwrite the issue of 1.8 billion euros in preference shares of its second-largest lender, Cyprus Popular. State-owned radio CyBC reported on Thursday that it cannot be ruled out that Russia’s financial aid to Cyprus may be accompanied by the demonstration of interest by Russian entrepreneurs to invest in Cypriot banks. []

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