Cyprus must be saved, president tweets

NICOSIA (AFP) - Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades took to his Twitter account on Friday to send out a distress signal: "The country must be saved."

"The House of Representatives will soon be called upon to make difficult decisions. There will be painful aspects, but the country must be saved," he wrote.

The tweet came as an emergency session of parliament due to have started in the afternnon to weigh a raft of eight bills aimed at raising billions of euros to secure a vital bailout was still not under way more than nine hours later.

Government spokesman Christos Stylianides said the authorities were locked in "hard negotiations with the troika" over the bailout, referring to the European Union, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

Nicosia has until Monday to raise 5.8 billion euros (S$9.39 billion) to unlock loans worth 10 billion euros or face being denied ECB emergency funds in a move that would collapse its economy.