Cyprus must be saved, president tweets

Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades took to his Twitter account on Friday to send out a distress signal: "The country must be saved."

"The House of Representatives will soon be called upon to make difficult decisions. There will be painful aspects, but the country must be saved," he wrote.

The tweet came as an emergency session of parliament due to have started by 0800 GMT to weigh a raft of eight bills aimed at raising billions of euros to secure a vital bailout was still not under way more than nine hours later.

Government spokesman Christos Stylianides said the authorities were locked in "hard negotiations with the troika" over the bailout, referring to the European Union, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

Nicosia has until Monday to raise 5.8 billion euros ($7.47 billion) to unlock loans worth 10 billion euros or face being denied ECB emergency funds in a move that would collapse its economy.

The acting leader of the ruling Disy party leader Averof Neophytou, said he believed a deal was still possible on Friday night.

"We believe that in the next few hours we could be able, with a lot of difficulties, to reach a framework that will be in the policies of the European Union, European Central Bank and IMF," Neophytou told reporters.

"We are trying hard. I believe that we may have a result this day."