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Cypriot president has very difficult task in Brussels: gov't spokesman


08:27, March 25, 2013

NICOSIA, March 24 (Xinhua) -- Cypriot government spokesman Christos Stylianides said on Sunday that the country's president has a very difficult task in Brussels to save Cyprus' economy and avert a disorderly default which could follow if authorities fail to reach an agreement on a bailout.

Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades arrived in Brussels after midday on Sunday and immediately plunged into consultations with top European Union officials ahead of an Eurogroup meeting later in the day which will decide on a bailout for the eastern Mediterranean island.

The crucial talks in Brussels involve Anastasiades, the president of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy, European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso, European Central Bank governor Mario Draghi and International Monetary Chief Christine Lagarde, government sources in Nicosia said.

Their meeting will be followed by a Eurogroup finance ministers' meeting.

Sources accompanying Anastasiades in Brussels said the main stumbling block which prevented a final agreement in marathon talks in Nicosia on Saturday night was the insistence of the IMF on a plan to merge the two main Cypriot banks.

Cypriot authorities finally accepted imposing a levy on bank deposits and made other arrangements to raise 5.8 billion euros in exchange for a 10-billion-euro bailout.

The same sources said the IMF demanded that the largest lender, Bank of Cyprus, takes over the good assets of Cyprus Popular Bank and also a debt of about 9 billion euros to the Central Bank, which the Popular Bank received in the form of emergency liquidity assistance.

The European Central Banks has issued an ultimatum to Cyprus that emergency liquidity to its banks will be stopped on Monday if a bailout deal is still not in place.

The government spokesman said the public opinion in Cyprus will be continually kept informed on the way thing goes in Brussels to avoid misinformation.

Leaders of political parties have gathered at the Presidential Palace in Nicosia to be at hand in case President Anastasiades has to consult them on decisions to be taken.

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