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After Cyprus Bailout, a Run on ATMs

News of the levy came as a shock to most people following strict assurances from Cyprus' President Nicos Anastasiades that he would not accept a deal which required depositors to share in the losses.

Cypriot and European officials feared that forcing depositors take a hit would undermine investors' confidence in Cyprus and other weaker eurozone economies and even possibly lead to bank runs.

Spain's economic ministry said Saturday that the Cyprus deal would not set a pattern for other countries.

"This is a specific agreement for Cyprus, with its complex situation and an oversized banking sector, which represents 80% of GDP, well above any other country in using the euro," a ministry statement said. "Because of this, Cyprus' situation and this agreement are not transferable to any other country in the eurozone."

Cyprus has become the fourth euro area country to get a rescue package to save its banks that took massive losses because of their exposure to toxic Greek debt.

The levy stirred up a political firestorm on the tiny island of a million people, with some politicians accusing the government of leading the country to "a tragic dead end."

Government spokesman Christos Stylianides said Cypriot officials had resisted intense pressure to accept a deposit levy of a whopping 40%.

Bank bosses are meeting with Central Bank officials to figure out their next steps, while Anastasiades, who returns to Cyprus Saturday evening has called for a meeting of party leaders to assess the unfolding situation.

Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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