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Cyprus president says 'very close' to signing bailout deal, few differences left bridged soon

Cyprus' president says the crisis-hit country is "very close" to signing an agreement with potential creditors for a bailout to support its troubled banks and to pay its bills.

President Dimitris Christofias said in a written statement Thursday that the "very limited" number of differences that remain could be bridged "very soon."

The statement comes a day after Cypriot officials wrapped up a third round of negotiations with officials from the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

Christofias didn't specify which issues remain unresolved, but Cypriot officials, speaking anonymously because of the sensitivity of the negotiations, said they include how proceeds from offshore natural gas finds are managed and the privatization of profitable, state-owned companies.

Cyprus asked for international aid in June.