Cyprus holds crisis talks after rejecting EU bailout

City A.M. Reporter

CYPRIOT leaders held crisis talks today to try and avoid financial meltdown after last night dramatically rejecting the crucial EU bailout.

The rejection of an unprecedented levy on bank deposits, a condition of a €10bn (£8.6bn) EU bailout, cast the 17-nation currency bloc into uncharted waters after Greece, Portugal, Ireland, Spain and Italy all accepted biting austerity measures over the last three years to secure European aid.

President Nicos Anastasiades gathered party leaders and the governor of the central bank at his office. He was also due to hold a cabinet meeting and talks with officials from the EU, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund.

Cyprus finance minister Michael Sarris was in Moscow this morning, amid mounting speculation that Russia could step in with a rescue plan to safeguard high levels of Russian deposits in Cypriot banks.

The stock exchange and the banks remained closed for another day today.