Brussels: Eurozone finance ministers said Tuesday they still stood ready to help Cyprus after the island's parliament voted down a debt bailout accord which included an unprecedented bank deposit levy.
"I confirm that the Eurogroup stands ready to assist Cyprus in its reform efforts and reiterate the position of the Eurogroup" given Monday when it offered easier bank levy terms so as to reduce the impact on smaller savers, Dutch Finance Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem said in a brief statement.
Dijsselbloem, who heads the group, gave no indication of what further step the 17-nation eurozone might take to help Cyprus.
While Monday's statement offered Cyprus some flexibility in how it might implement the bank levy, the eurozone still required Nicosia to find the 5.8 billion euros it was meant to provide to the overall bailout.
Meanwhile Germany, which has taken a very hard line on the Cyprus rescue, said Tuesday it regretted the vote and warned against taking the easy option.
"We acknowledge and regret the decision," German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said in a television interview.
"For a rescue plan to exist we need a credible way to know how Cyprus will regain access to financial markets. For now the debt is too high ... it must be reduced."
Warning against "irresponsible solutions," Schaeuble said "the situation is serious but this must not lead us to take decisions that make no sense."
Earlier in Nicosia, angry MPs rejected the debt rescue, driven by a sense of outrage over the bank account levy, attacking the deal as "blackmail" by the European Union and International Monetary Fund.
Parliament speaker Yiannakis Omirou said 36 MPs voted against the bill, 19 abstained and none were in favour, prompting an explosion of joy outside the parliament among thousands of protesters.
Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades' office said he "fully respects" the decision and that he had had a "constructive" phone conversation with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, amid reports Cyprus was seeking alternative financing.
Under the bailout reached at the weekend, the EU, IMF and European Central Bank offered Cyprus an aid package of 10 billion euros ($13 billion), but on condition it raised another 5.8 billion euros on its own.
This was to be found through a levy of 9.9 percent on all Cyprus bank deposits above 100,000 euros and 6.75 percent on amounts below that.
The unprecedented move triggered uproar, forcing the Cypriot government to change tack and announce that accounts up to 20,000 euros would not incur the levy, with 6.75 percent charged on deposits of 20,000-100,000 euros and then 9.9 percent for those above 100,000 euros.