Clearly one of the priorities of the programme to be agreed between the Troika and Cyprus will involve measures to restore the health of the banking sector, Director of IMF External Relations Gerry Rice has said, adding that it is too premature to get into too many details.
Rice was replying to questions during a press briefing at IMF headquarters in Washington.
Replying to a question about the findings of a Troika mission (EU, ECB and IMF) which visited Cyprus last week, Rice said that “given the mission has just been in the field it’s premature to get into too many details”.
“The fact finding mission has, as you say, just returned from Cyprus and we are now processing and analyzing the information and the facts that have been gathered”, he noted.
At the same time of course, he added, “discussions with our European partners and the Cypriot authorities continue from headquarters”.
He also explained that they will not have a report at this stage, because the reports are only issued at the end of the review process and after the Board decisions.
Replying to a question as to what will the next steps be, he said that “the timetable for their engagement has not been decided but we expect the mission to return in the next few weeks to follow on its work”.
He further said that “we are not at a point where we can give numbers around possible financing needs”, adding that “that will come later in the process”.
Referring to the goals of the programme as regards Cyprus, Rice said it is “premature to get into too many details until the discussions with the authorities have been concluded”, adding however that “clearly one of the priorities will be measures to restore the health of the banking sector”.
Rice was also asked as to the IMF’s position in relation to bilateral loans that Cyprus may take from Russia or China.
“What I can say on third party financing is that this is really a matter for the authorities and bilateral matters to discuss and decide it is not really a matter for the IMF”, he replied.
The government of the Republic of Cyprus announced on June 25, 2012 that it formally requested aid from euro area member states for financial assistance from the EFSF/ESM, the EU’s bailout funds.
In response, a delegation consisting of technocrats from the European Commission, the ECB and the IMF concluded on July 6 a four-day fact-finding mission on the island, collecting data to assess the state of the Cyprus economy.
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