Cyprus bailout talks resume

March 6, 2013 - 5:29 AM
Cyprus New Cabinet

Cyprus Finance Minister Michalis Sarris, smiles during an oath-taking ceremony of the new cabinet at the presidential palace in capital Nicosia, Cyprus, Friday, March 1, 2013. Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades told parliament that he wants to conclude a bailout agreement as soon as possible, but that doesn't mean accepting any write down. (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias)

NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) — Senior officials from Cyprus' prospective international lenders are starting a new round of talks with Cypriot authorities with the aim of finalizing a financial rescue package for the country by the end of the month.

Representatives from the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund began talks Wednesday with top Cypriot officials, including Finance Minister Michalis Sarris.

Cyprus urgently needs as much as €17 billion ($22.16 billion) to stave off bankruptcy after its banks lost billions on bad Greek debt. The amount is roughly equivalent to Cyprus' annual economic output, raising doubts whether the country can pay it off.

Cyprus' government has ruled out forcing either Cypriot bank bondholders or depositors to share the cost of a bailout.