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Cyprus says no reason to plan privatizations as no proof yet that public debt unsustainable

Cyprus' government spokesman says there's no reason to consider privatizing state-owned companies now because it's not yet certain that the public debt burden would be too heavy for the country to bear once it receives rescue money from international creditors.

Cyprus is negotiating a bailout mostly to rescue its banks. But it can only get a bailout if it is deemed to have a realistic chance at repaying the rescue loans. That will be determined by a yet-unfinished report on the banks' needs.

Spokesman Stefanos Stefanou defended Tuesday the left-wing government's opposition to privatizations in a speech to managers and employees of the state-owned Cyprus Telecommunications Authority.

He said even if the debt is predicted to be unsustainable, the government has strong arguments against selling off state-owned enterprises.