Russia hasn't yet agreed to extend Cyprus loan: deputy finance minister

ISTANBUL Sat May 11, 2013 6:09am EDT

Russia's Deputy Finance Minister Sergei Storchak (C) arrives at the G20 finance ministers meeting during the Spring Meeting of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank in Washington, April 19, 2013. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas

Russia's Deputy Finance Minister Sergei Storchak (C) arrives at the G20 finance ministers meeting during the Spring Meeting of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank in Washington, April 19, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Yuri Gripas

ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Russia has not yet agreed to extend the terms of its 2.5 billion euro ($3.2 billion) loan to Cyprus, Russia's deputy finance minister said on Saturday.

"There was a request ... to change the duration of the loan, we promised to think about it," Sergei Storchak told reporters, on the sidelines of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development annual meeting, speaking through an interpreter.

"This was a kind of promise - if somebody wants to see it as a done deal, there is nothing I can do about it."

He added that any changes to the terms of the loan would need parliamentary ratification.

"For that to be a done deal, we need to have it on paper."

Cyprus' foreign minister said this week that Russia had agreed to extend the terms of the loan as part of its participation in the bailout of the indebted Mediterranean country.

A document prepared by international lenders also reported that Russia agreed to extend the maturity of the loan to Cyprus by two years and cut the interest rate.

Russia lent Cyprus 2.5 billion euros in 2011 for five years, with an annual interest rate of 4.5 percent. Extending the loan and reducing the interest would ease debt servicing costs for Nicosia and help it regain financial stability.

($1 = 0.7709 euros)

(Reporting by Carolyn Cohn and Lorraine Turner; Editing by Mark Potter)

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