Russia Says Door Still Open for Cyprus Rescue Deal

MOSCOW, March 22 (RIA Novosti) – Russia is still willing to provide Cyprus with financial aid to help it overcome its economic woes, but only after the European Union and the island nation work out a joint plan for its recovery, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said on Friday.

“We have not closed any doors; we have not said that we will not discuss anything,” Medvedev told journalists.

“We will be ready to discuss different options for supporting this state … but only after a final scheme is worked out with the participation of EU states and Cyprus,” he added.

Medvedev was speaking just hours after Cypriot Finance Minister Michalis Sarris flew home from Moscow following an unsuccessful attempt to persuade Russia to grant his country financial aid in return for investments in its national banks and gas projects.

Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said earlier on Friday that Russian investors had “demonstrated no interest” in the Cypriot proposals.

Medvedev’s comments came as a spokesperson for the Cypriot government, Christos Stylianides, said talks between lawmakers and international creditors were approaching the “finish line.”

“The next few hours will determine the future of the country,” he said.

The European Central Bank has said that unless Cyprus raises billions of dollars by Monday it could lose emergency funds and face inevitable financial collapse.

The urgency for a multibillion-dollar loan from Russia emerged after the Cypriot parliament rejected on Tuesday a levy on bank accounts that international creditors, including the European Union and the International Monetary Fund, had set as a condition for providing a 10-billion euro ($13-billion) bailout for Cyprus.

International creditors said on Saturday that their rescue package for debt-laden Cyprus was contingent on a one-off deposit levy to yield an additional 5.8 billion euros ($7.5 billion) in revenues for the cash-strapped Cypriot budget.

Overall, Cyprus needs about 17 billion euros in aid to shore up its budget and recapitalize its banks, which were forced to write down billions of euros in “voluntary” Greek debt restructuring.


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