NICOSIA, March 21 (Xinhua) -- Cypriot political leaders were called to an emergency session on Thursday morning to consider a rescue plan to avert a financial meltdown.
The meeting started as banks were ordered to stay closed until next week and the Stock Exchange announced that it has also suspended all transactions.
Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades is reported to have prepared a plan aimed at raising 5.8 billion euros (7.48 billion U.S. dollars), the amount demanded by international lenders as a condition for a bailout worth 10 billion euros.
Eurozone finance ministers had originally decided to raise the 5.8-billion-euro sum by imposing a scaled taxation on bank deposits, but the plan was overwhelmingly rejected by the Cypriot parliament.
Anastasiades said after an emergency meeting of his council of ministers on Wednesday night that a decision on a Cyprus rescue must be made by the end of Thursday at the latest, and called everyone to rise to the circumstances.
Sources said "plan B", the proposal discussed by political leaders includes the establishment of a structural investment fund in which provident funds and government assets will be transferred. The fund will also be linked with a bond issue and natural gas prospects.
The plan may also re-introduce a milder levy on bank deposits if the fund is unable to raise the total of 5.8 billion euros.
If the plan is approved by political leaders, parliament will be called at 1400 GMT to consider legislation needed to implementing it.
Talks are also being held in Moscow between Cypriot Finance Minister Michael Sarris and his Russian counterpart.
Sarris said after fresh talks on Thursday that there are no stumbling blocks in the discussions by just work to be done.
He denied reports that he has asked for a new 5-billion-euro loan, saying he only asked for Russian participation in the rescue of Cyprus Popular Bank, the second largest lender, which is facing the biggest problems.