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Cyprus and Russia Discuss Banking, Gas Deals

Cyprus and Russia resumed talks Thursday to strike a deal that could include cooperation on banking and natural gas reserves, the Cypriot finance minister told Reuters agency. Finance Minister Michael Sarris said that natural gas reserves from offshore fields surrounding Cyprus that have yet to be developed could be offered as part of the agreement. Any deal with Moscow should be in Russia's best interests too, he said. Sarris extended a stay in Moscow, where Russian officials said he asked for a further 5 billion euros on top of a five-year extension and lower interest on an existing 2.5-billion euro loan from Moscow. Meanwhile back in Cyprus, talks among the political leadership in Nicosia are set to resume on Thursday after late-night meetings to discuss a "Plan B" broke up on Wednesday without result. Cyprus considered nationalizing pension funds and ordered banks to stay shut till next week to avert financial chaos after it rejected the terms of a European U

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