IMF chief says it is ready to help Cyprus

The head of the International Monetary Fund says Cyprus has asked the fund to participate in the financial aid package it plans to ask the European Union to organize to help the Mediterranean island's ailing economy.

Christine Lagarde said the IMF would send an evaluation team to Cyprus as soon as possible for discussions on an economic rescue program.

The IMF is part of the so-called 'troika," along with the European Union and the European Central Bank, that has provided bailout packages to four troubled nations in the eurozone.

Lagarde said Wednesday the IMF is ready to join its European partners to help Cyprus return to stable economic growth and restore its Greek-exposed banking sector.