Cyprus is likely to receive its long-awaited eurozone bailout by the end of March, according to the European Central Bank executive Jörg Asmussen, pictured.
Cyprus is hoping to secure a €17.5bn (£14.8bn) bailout from other European member states, but some German politicians have been hesitant in approving the payment.
"There must be no doubt about this: if Cyprus gets no external help, it will slide into default," said Mr Asmussen in an interview with Handelsblatt newspaper.
He added, however, that the payment could not be a "one-way street", and the Nicosia government would be required to fulfil tough conditions by scaling down its financial sector and introducing more banking transparency.
Cyprus was discussed by eurozone finance ministers meeting in Brussels yesterday.