* No deal reached in first round of talks
* Cypriot minister to stay in Moscow to seek a deal
MOSCOW, March 20 Cyprus sought help from Russia
on Wednesday to see it through its financial crisis but failed
to agree on a loan deal at a first round of talks.
Cypriot Finance Minister Michael Sarris said after meeting
Russia's finance minister, Anton Siluanov, that he would stay on
in Moscow for more meetings and that talks were "looking beyond"
just an agreement on a loan extension.
Cyprus has asked Russia for a five-year extension of a loan
of 2.5 billion euros ($3.22 billion) that matures in 2016, as
well as a reduction in the 4.5 percent rate of interest.
Cyprus has also asked Russia to loan it a further 5 billion
euros, the Russian finance ministry says, but Moscow has not
announced a decision on the request.
"We had a very honest discussion, we've underscored how
difficult the situation is," Sarris told reporters. "We'll now
continue our discussion to find the solution by which we hope we
will be getting some support."
"There were no offers, nothing concrete," he said. But he
added: "We're happy with a good beginning."
He later held talks with Russian First Deputy Prime Minister
Igor Shuvalov, officials said, but they gave no details of the
Moscow is angry that the European Union did not consult it
over a proposed levy on banking deposits held in Cypriot banks
as part of a 10-billion-euro bailout of the Mediterranean
island. Late on Tuesday, the Cypriot parliament overwhelmingly
rejected the proposed levy.