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Cyprus locked in tough talks as deadline looms

Published: Sunday, March 24, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT

NICOSIA, Cyprus – Cyprus officials and international representatives were caught up in tortuous negotiations late into the night Saturday as they sought to forge a plan to raise the money the island nation needs to qualify for a bailout package.

Failure would mean Cyprus could declare bankruptcy in just three days and possibly have to exit the eurozone.

It was not clear how far the two sides were getting: The information seeping out was conflicting.

Late in the evening, a finance ministry official said an accord was “very close,” and likely would include a hefty tax of a fifth to a quarter of deposits over 100,000 euros at the country’s troubled largest lender, Bank of Cyprus.

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