Cyprus Can Pay Bills Until Aid Accord Is Reached, Shiarly Says

The Cypriot government can meet its payment obligations while seeking an international-aid agreement that may come next month, said Finance Minister Vassos Shiarly.

“I am confident that we have ways of managing it until January and possibly beyond,” Shiarly said in an interview today in Brussels. “There are lots of discussions.”

Cyprus, which requested a financial rescue in June, is still negotiating the size and terms with the euro area and International Monetary Fund. The negotiators are awaiting the release around mid-January of an assessment of the Cypriot banking system by Pacific Investment Management Co.

Cyprus is seeking three-month loans from state-controlled organizations to meet its payment obligations, spokesman Stefanos Stefanou said on the government website over the weekend. Shiarly said today that the government’s short-term refinancing needs have “all been taken care of” and the focus is on “current payments.”

“There is a brinkmanship which is going on at the moment, but I’m not prepared to talk about it,” he said. “I have plan A, plan B. If plan A fails, there is plan B.”

Asked if an agreement on an aid program for Cyprus should be reached in January, Shiarly said: “I believe so.”

Euro-area finance ministers are due to meet next on Jan. 21. Shiarly was in Brussels today to speak to a European Parliament committee about work during the Cypriot government’s six-month presidency of the European Union that ends on Dec. 31.

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