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Cyprus finance minister reports 'significant progress' in bailout talks

Cyprus is trying to secure a 10 billion euro loan from the European Union.

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Nicosia, CYPRUS: Two men walk past a Bank of Cyprus branch on Nicosia's Makarios main thoroughfare. (ALEX MITA/AFP/Getty Images)

Cyprus' Finance Minister Michael Sarris said Saturday that "significant progress" has been made in discussions to secure a 10 billion euro loan from the European Union. 

The deadline for the bailout deal — which requires that Cyprus raise 5.8 billion euros — is Monday. 

The island is rapidly nearing bankruptcy, and its banks are in desperate need of outside assistance. If the deal does not go through, Cyprus risks an exit from the European Union. 

"These are things that have not really been done before, these are new experiences for everybody," Sarris said in a statement following the first half of meetings with the IMF, World Bank, and EU.

"We have a number of experts that are working from the private sector, from the Central Bank at the Ministry of Finance, trying to iron out these details so that when we do reach an agreement there will be no room for different understandings or misrepresentations," he added. 

The talks will continue throughout the meeting, and the hope is to reach a deal before the banks open Monday morning, according to Al Jazeera

"There is huge irritation with the way the Cypriots have handled things, and that has led to the imposition of deadlines which mean big decisions need to be taken very quickly," BBC Correspondent Chris Morris reported.

"The cost of cleaning up the Cypriot banking system must be borne by investors in the Cypriot banking system - like it or lump it." 

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/europe/130323/cyprus-finance-minister-reports-significant-progress-bailout-talks