Banks in Cyprus have been ordered to remain closed until the 26 March as the government tries to strike a deal with the EU or Russia to prevent a financial meltdown.

Banks across the country have been shut since 18 March to prevent a run on deposits.

Two of the county’s largest banks – Laiki and the Bank of Cyprus – are facing potential failure if a government bailout is not secured.

The country’s parliament has rejected a plan to provide €5.8bn ($7.5bn) by seizing a portion of bank deposits from anyone with a bank account.

Cyprus has to now come up with an alternative plan to allow it access to an EU bailout.

The EU and the International Monetary Fund are prepared to front €10bn in an emergency bailout if Cyprus comes up with €7bn itself.

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The majority of the bailout cash will be used to shore up the country’s stretched banking sector with the remainder for government finances.

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