Russia may help Cyprus only after its deal with EU

Published on NewsOK Modified: March 22, 2013 at 7:14 am •  Published: March 22, 2013

MOSCOW (AP) — Moscow will help Cyprus out financially only if the country's new money-raising measures get the backing of the European Union, Russia's prime minister said Friday.

Dmitry Medvedev said Russia "hasn't closed the door, hasn't said 'no'" to Cyprus, but will discuss specific assistance to Cyprus only after it reaches a deal with the EU.

"We will only be ready to discuss various ways of support for that state after the EU nations and Cyprus work out a final settlement," Medvedev told a news conference after talks with the European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso. "We aren't indifferent about it, but the main thing is that this decision is efficient and helps Cyprus find a way out of the very difficult situation it has found itself in."

Cypriot authorities are putting the final touches to a plan they hope will convince international lenders, including its European partners, to provide bailout money to avoid a bankruptcy within days.

Cyprus has until Monday to secure a deal after the European Central Bank warned it would stop providing the country's banks with liquidity on that day if no package is agreed.

Medvedev acknowledged that Russia has "understandable economic interests" in Cyprus. Cypriot banks are awash with deposits from Russian companies and individuals and are thought to total around 20 billion euros ($25.8 billion), or about a third of the total.

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