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Cyprus Continues Efforts To Raise Funds By EU Deadline

Cypriot leaders are meeting again Friday in another attempt to raise $7.5 billion by Monday, which is the deadline set by the European Union as a condition for extending a bailout package to the indebted island.

The European Union, The European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund have agreed to give Cyprus a $13 billion bailout to save it from defaulting on its debt. But they want the government to secure the rest of the funds needed to support Cyprus's failing banks.

After the parliament this week rejected the unpopular idea to raise the money by taxing some deposits in the banks, Cypriot leaders were faced with finding other ways to secure the emergency funding from international lenders.

On Thursday, officials discussed restructuring the country's debt-ridden banks and raising money from domestic sources, such as pension funds and the subsidiaries of foreign banks operating on the island.

Meanwhile, finance officials approached Russian leaders for possible new funding. Many Russian businessmen have accounts in Cypriot banks.

If unable to raise funds, the island may be pushed out of Europe's common currency zone.

The island's banks are closed until Tuesday to prevent panicked investors from withdrawing large sums. But anxious depositors lined up outside automated teller machines to take out limited amounts.

One leader of the country's ruling Democratic Party, Averof Neophytou, said he thinks a solution will be reached.

"We are working very hard. There is only one target, to save our economy and our country. I believe that the political parties will show the necessary responsibility for the survival of the Cypriot economy."

If it eventually secures a bailout, Cyprus is planning on using much of the money to refund its beleaguered banks that have been weighed down with losses on Greek government bonds that were reduced in value to help resolve the Athens debt crisis.

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