NEWS

EU, IMF officials head to Cyprus for bailout talks

Officials from Cyprus’ potential rescue creditors are on their way to the island nation to begin talks on the terms of a bailout, the country’s finance ministry said Monday.

The ministry said in a statement that a large delegation from the so-called ‘troika’ ? the body made up of the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund ? will on Tuesday start three days of discussions with the Cypriot government and banking authorities, as well as political parties and trade unions.

It said the delegation will look into the country’s banks, which are exposed to debt-stricken Greece, as well as the government’s fiscal needs and long-term economic outlook.

The ministry said that Cypriot authorities will work closely with troika officials to assess the banking system’s capital needs.

Ministry Finance Director Andreas Trokkos said the troika delegation will be composed of more than 30 officials.

“The aim of the mission is to gather information in order to diagnose the true situation regarding the financial sector where most of the attention will be focused, but also regarding the Cypriot economy,» Trokkos told state radio.

Cyprus last week became the fifth country to ask its eurozone partners for financial aid to support its banks, which have suffered big losses as a result of their exposure to Greece. The banks also have sizeable private loan portfolios in crisis-hit Greece to the tune of ?22 billion ($27.7 billion). [AP]