Eurogroup head: political agreement on 10 bln euro Cyprus bailout

BRUSSELS, March 16 Fri Mar 15, 2013 11:10pm EDT

BRUSSELS, March 16 (Reuters) - Euro zone finance ministers reached a political agreement on the cornerstones of an emergency lending programme for Cyprus which would help bring down the public debt to GDP ratio of the island to 100 percent in 2020, the chairman of the ministers said.

Jeroen Dijsselbloem told a news conference after 10 hours of talks between the ministers and the International Monetary Fund that the single currency area would welcome an IMF contribution to the bailout which will total 10 billion euros.

"The Eurogroup was able to reach a political agreement with the Cypriot authorities on the cornerstones of this agreement," Dijsselbloem said.

Separately, euro zone ministers agreed to extend the maturity of emergency loans to Ireland and Portugal to smooth out their return to market financing this year and next.