Cyprus, Russia discussing banking, natural gas deals

Reuters

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.

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"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)