As Deadline Looms, Cyprus Prez Threatens to Quit

Fraught negotiations under way in Brussels with European finance ministers
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 24, 2013 5:10 PM CDT
As Deadline Looms, Cyprus Prez Threatens to Quit
Protesters hold a banner during an anti- bailout rally outside of European Union house in capital Nicosia, Cyprus, Sunday, March 24, 2013.   (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias)

Things are getting testy in Brussels, where Europe's financial powers that be are hunkered down in furious negotiations to determine Cyprus' fate ahead of tomorrow's deadline to finalize a $10 billion bailout. Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades has threatened to quit, reports Reuters, in a fraught meeting with Eurogroup finance ministers that was delayed by four hours by an earlier meeting Anastasiades had with EU and IMF officials. "Do you want to force me to resign?" he was quoted as saying, reports the BBC. "I am giving you one proposal, and you do not accept it. I give you another and it's the same. What else do you want me to do?"

A key sticking point is whether to close the Bank of Cyprus, notes an al-Jazeera correspondent. "The European powers want to see the closure of that bank—(which is) heavily, heavily exposed—to reduce liabilities, and Cyprus wants to hold on to it," he says. Ireland's finance minister is predicting "quite a long night. I think a deal will be done tonight but I think it will be late, because a lot of detail has to be worked out." Elsewhere, the Bank of Cyprus and Laiki bank today limited ATM withdrawals to $130, adds the AP. (Read more Cyprus stories.)

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