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EU's Van Rompuy urges implementing Cyprus deal as soon as possible

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(BRUSSELS) - Herman Van Rompuy, who chairs the European Union Council, on Monday urged the financial rescue deal clinched after tough overnight talks between Cyprus and its international creditors be enacted "as soon as possible."

Welcoming the agreement "to ensure a sustainable future for Cyprus in the euro area", Van Rompuy said "it is now for all parties to ensure its implementation as soon as possible."

The EU and the International Monetary Fund agreed to speed a 10-billion euro bailout to save the island from bankruptcy but only in return for a radical reform of its banking sector that will hit investors and depositors in its biggest banks, many of them Russian.

Before the deal was reached between Cyprus and finance ministers from the 17 nations that share the euro in the early hours, Van Rompuy chaired hours of talks Sunday between Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades and EU and IMF leaders to hammer out a compromise.

But as the people of Cyprus worried over what the deal would mean for the country's future and for its economy, Van Rompuy pledged EU help.

"We must all work hard to alleviate the social impact of the crisis in Cyprus, including via mobilising EU funds like the Youth Employment Initiative," he said in the short statement.

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