(Adds finance minister comment)
ATHENS, Sept 2 (Reuters) - Cyprus has fully repaid a loan it secured from Russia in 2011, its finance minister said on Monday, a debt assumed by the island’s former communist-led administration to keep it afloat at the peak of a financing crisis.
“A short while ago the Russian loan was fully paid off,” Finance Minister Harris Georgiades said on his official Twitter account, referring to a 1.58 billion euro ($1.76 billion)balance. “Cyprus can now comfortably finance its needs from the international markets.”
Cyprus had negotiated a 2.5 billion euro loan from Moscow in 2011 as the island started feeling the effects of a financial downturn and heavy exposure of its banks to debt-saddled Greece.
In early 2013 it received an international bailout funded by its European Union partners and the International Monetary Fund, worth 10 billion euros.
The island returned to financial markets well before a three-year financial adjustment programme expired, and issued 30- and five-year bonds earlier this year.
“It was financed by bonds which were issued to the markets earlier this year and by a very sizeable budget surplus for 2019 which currently stands around 700 million,” Georgiades told Reuters.
$1 = 0.8973 euros Writing by Michele Kambas Editing by Peter Graff and Catherine Evans