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EU, IMF Officials Delay Cyprus Trip by a Week, Stefanou Says

Officials from the European Union and the International Monetary Fund delayed a trip to Cyprus by a week to July 22, government spokesman Stefanos Stefanou said.

Cyprus last month became the fifth of the euro area’s 17 states to seek a financial lifeline, while also pursuing a 5 billion-euro ($6.1 billion) loan from Russia. The Cypriot government needs emergency aid to refinance debt rather than to fill new budget holes, Finance Minister Vassos Shiarly said on July 6.

The decision to push back the visit of the European Commission, the European Central Bank and IMF officials evaluating the request from Cyprus was made “because they’re not yet ready with their evaluation” from a preliminary, fact-finding trip, Stefanou told reporters in the capital Nicosia today. The delay “isn’t related to the Russian loan,” he said.

Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov confirmed on July 6 that Cyprus had requested a loan of 5 billion euros and that the government was considering it.

“We’ve had no official response” from Russia, Stefanou said today.

Stefanou said the Cypriot government hasn’t been informed if candidates planning to run in the February presidential election will be required to sign a statement of support for the bailout agreement when it’s concluded, as Greek party leaders were made to do.

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