International lenders have come together in Nicosia for yet another round of talks on an urgently needed bailout for Cyprus. The small nation needs billions of euros to stave off looming bankruptcy.
On Wednesday, officials representing international lenders started a fresh round of talks with a view to bringing the struggling eurozone member Cyprus closer to a financial rescue package.
Negotiators from the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), known collectively as the Troika, went to Nicosia to finalize a bailout deal that would give Cyprus over 17 billion euros ($22 billion) to save the country from going broke.
The government in Nicosia had announced that its financial resources would run out in May and added that it would welcome a rescue package by the end of this month as envisaged by the prospective lenders.
Time's running out
The volume of aid under discussion is roughly equivalent to the country's annual economic output, which has left potential lenders wondering whether the small nation might ever be in a position to pay back any loans.
This week's talks are reported to be focusing on reforms to ensure leaner administrative structures in Cyprus, a large-scale privatization scheme, and the country's participation in an initiative to introduce a financial transaction tax.
"The situation is anything but easy," Labor Minister Haris Georgiadis told domestic broadcaster RIK. "But I'm optimistic a solution can be found soon." The country has meanwhile agreed to a probe into possible money laundering, with a disproportionally high share of Russian-owned deposits in Cypriot banks being a thorn in the side of eurozone governments.
hg/mkg (dpa, AP)