Cyprus, Russia discussing banking, natural gas deals

Cypriot Finance Minister Michael Sarris said that Cyprus and Russia were discussing cooperation in the banking and energy sectors in addition to a loan, and that any deal to solve the island's debt crisis should also be in Russia's interests.

"There's a lot of teams now working on a number of issues. Banks, natural gas, are there opportunities (on which) we can base some cooperation and some support from Russia," Sarris told reporters in Moscow on Thursday.

"We've asked for help clearly, but something that would make also economic sense for Russia," he added.

Sarris was holding a second day of talks with Russian officials after the Cypriot parliament on Tuesday threw out a proposal to tax bank deposits in return for a 10-billion-euro bailout from the European Union.

(Reporting by Darya Korsunskaya and Lidia Kelly; Writing by Maria Kiselyova; Editing by Douglas Busvine)