Patrick Baz/AFP/Getty Images
(AP) NICOSIA, Cyprus - Cyprus says it has begun talks with officials from the European Union and the International Monetary Fund to gauge how much money it needs from the EU bailout fund for its troubled banks.
The Finance Ministry said in a statement Tuesday the officials will meet with government and central bank authorities, as well banking officials, union leaders and politicians over the next few days. It said the meetings are only exploratory and that no negotiations on possible austerity measures will be held yet.
Cyprus last week became the fifth EU country to ask for financial aid from its partners in the common currency union. The tiny island nation needs at least 2.3 billion euro ($2.9 billion) to support is banking system, which is heavily exposed to Greek debts.