ATHENS, March 19 (Xinhua) -- Greece is fully safeguarded against the Cyprus crisis, Greek coalition government partners assured on Tuesday evening, criticizing Eurogroup's decision to impose a levy on deposits at the Cypriot banking system in exchange for bailout aid as a "historic mistake."
Alarmed by developments in Nicosia and the potential impact on Greece's efforts to overcome its debt crisis, Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras held a meeting with the leaders of the parties supporting the government over the Cyprus crisis and the progress in negotiations with international lenders over the release of the next bailout tranche to Athens.
"Greece is fully safeguarded. Cyprus will not go bankrupt," Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras said categorically upon his exit from the Premier's office, after briefing political leaders on developments.
"Euro group made a historic mistake. It must be corrected as soon as possible to safeguard Cyprus and the eurozone and avoid possible repercussions elsewhere," socialist PASOK party leader Evangelos Venizelos told reporters after the meeting, as the Cypriot parliament was voting down the terms of the bailout package for Nicosia.
Democratic Left party leader Fotis Kouvelis also backed the call for a review of the initial plan for Cyprus, reiterating Greece's solidarity with Cyprus, as main opposition anti-bailout Radical Left SYRIZA party members were holding a symbolic peaceful protest over Eurogroup's decision outside the nearby European Commission office in Athens.
"People of Europe stop the destruction," read banners raised by demonstrators who were also waving Greek and Cypriot national flags, as SYRIZA chief Alexis Tsipras was welcoming the Cypriot assembly's "no" to the "haircut" as "the way to real negotiation with lenders."
Both Venizelos and Kouvelis expressed certainty that a solution to the Cyprus crisis "within the euro" will be reached, underlining once again that there is no danger for savings in Greece's banking system from developments on the neighboring Mediterranean island.
In regards to pending issues in talks with European Union and International Monetary Fund (IMF) creditors over the disbursement of the next 2.8 billion euro (3.62 billion U.S. dollars) bailout tranche to Athens, both leaders said that Greece goes ahead with the administrative reform and other much needed policies aiming to restore stability and growth.
A week ago, after marathon deliberations with the Greek government, EU/IMF auditors left Athens without a final deal on the prior actions for the release of the tranche in April due to diverging views on a string of issues, including ways to shrink the public sector to save costs and strengthen efficiency and measures to raise revenues to slash deficits.
Auditors are expected in Athens in early April to continue discussions before submitting their report on the progress of the ongoing austerity and reform program launched three years ago to counter the Greek crisis. A positive report is needed to clear the disbursement of further aid to Greece.