Plan B must be made today: says Anastasiades

Greek Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades has demanded that a decision on a bailout deal for the near-bankrupt eurozone member must be made today (March 21), the CNA news agency reports.

“A decision on a Cyprus rescue must be made on March 21 at the latest,” Anastasiades said as he left the presidential palace in Nicosia on last night.

Anastasiades chaired a crisis meeting of his cabinet on March 20, and state television reported he was to present party leaders today with a Plan B at the presidential palace, aimed at securing an EU-IMF bailout for South Cyprus.

It was said that March 21 “is expected to be a difficult day” and that  government sources say  that Anastasiades would submit the rescue plan to party leaders at a meeting due to start at 0730 GMT.

The proposals were expected “to be put to the vote before the Greek Cypriot parliament in the afternoon,” it reported.

Unnamed government sources quoted by the CNA said the rescue plan included the creation of a “structural investment fund, which will be reinforced by various provident funds, real estate, etc…The fund will also be linked with a bond issue and natural gas prospects,” the agency said.

State television said the plan might include a levy on bank deposits over 100,000 euros which had been discussed during the cabinet meeting after parliamentarians rejected the terms of an EU-IMF bailout as “blackmail”.

The Greek Cypriot authorities have spent the day in frantic talks, after parliament’s “No” vote of a measure that would have slapped a one-time levy of up to 9.9 percent on bank deposits as a condition for an EU-led 10-billion-euro ($13-billion) loan.

The 5.8 billion euros the proposal would have raised was crucial to Nicosia getting the full rescue.

A rapid decision on Plan B is crucial as the European Central Bank has issued a deadline of Monday, March 25th when it will withdraw emergency funds allocated to keep the South Cyprus banks afloat.

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