Juncker: No bailout for Cyprus before March

The Cypriot flag is seen June 5, 2012 in Nicosia, Cyprus. Patrick Baz/AFP/Getty Images

BRUSSELS The outgoing president of the eurozone finance ministers' meetings says Cyprus cannot receive a financial bailout before March.

Jean-Claude Juncker said Monday before a gathering of the ministers from the 17 EU countries that use the euro that Cyprus will be discussed but no decision on a rescue package will be taken because negotiations are ongoing.

The Mediterranean island nation is seeking financial assistance of about 17 billion euro ($22.6 billion) - almost equivalent to its annual gross domestic product - to recapitalize its ailing banks and keep the government afloat.

The ministers are also set to elect a new president of the Eurogroup. Juncker, who has held the post for eight years, is stepping down.

Dutch Finance Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem announced his candidacy Thursday and appears to have wide backing.

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