NEWS

Anastasiades, Cypriot party leaders explore 'Plan B' after rejecting deposit tax

Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades met with party leaders on Wednesday morning in the wake of the Parliament’s decision to reject a deposit tax as part of an EU-IMF bailout.

“The President of the Republic expresses his absolute respect for yesterday’s decision in the House of Representatives,” said a statement from Anastasiades’s office.

It was decided at the leaders’ meeting that the parties would put together technical teams to meet at the Central Bank of Cyprus, where they would discuss “Plan B”.

Among the options being discussed are making use of about 5 billion euros in reserves held by Cyprus’s social security funds and a voluntary swap involving bank deposits and bonds indexed to the island’s natural gas revenues.

The island’s Orthodox Church said it is willing to put its assets, including land, at the disposal of the state.

"The entire wealth of the Church is at the disposal of the country ... so that we can stand on our own two feet and not on those of foreigners," Archbishop Chrysostomos said after meeting Anastasiades early on Wednesday,

The Church of Cyprus is a major shareholder in Cyprus's third-largest domestic lender, Hellenic Bank.

Anastasiades held the talks as Finance Minister Michalis Sarris was in Moscow for talks on alternative sources of financing. An initial round of talks on Wednesday morning proved inconclusive but Sarris said he would remain in Moscow so discussions could continue.

The Cypriot president spoke on the phone for about half an hour with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on Tuesday night after Parliament’s “no” vote.

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