By MENELAOS HADJICOSTISAssociated Press
NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) - Officials say Cyprus is aiming to get a eurozone bailout of about €11.5 billion ($14.9 billion) to recapitalize its troubled banks and meet short-term fiscal needs.
Finance Minister Vassos Shiarly says the country needs around €4 billion to cover expenses until 2016. But he refuses to say how much Greece-exposed banks would need, only that government estimates differ greatly from those of the so-called troika - the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund.
Two officials told the AP Thursday - on condition of anonymity because negotiations are ongoing - that the finance ministry puts banks' needs at €5 billion, while the troika puts them at €9 billion. The ministry is also looking to incorporate a €2.5 billion Russian loan into a bailout agreement.